[Tex/LaTex] What are the practical differences between installing LaTeX from MacTeX or MacPorts/Homebrew


When I started using a unix based system it was very natural to install MacTeX, since the installation of it is more "windows-like", though the installation package is huge. Later I was introduced to MacPorts, and recently Homebrew, which also provide easy ways of installing LaTeX on my system. However, I find myself unable to distinguish the practical differences between these alternatives and argument for using one or the other.

  1. Does MacTeX, MacPorts and Homebrew provide different versions of LaTeX?
  2. Downloading and maintaining tex-libraries with MacTeX is quite easy and automatized through the TexLive utility. Are there similar solutions if one choose to install LaTeX with MacPorts or Homebrew?
  3. Are there advantages/disadvantages with using one or the other solution?

Best Answer

It is possible to install MacTeX with homebrew using Homebrew Cask via

$ brew tap caskroom/cask
$ brew cask install mactex

Since that basically downloads the MacTeX.pkg from ctan it should not be different from the usual manual installation.

If you would like to install without the GUI, you can

$ brew cask install mactex-no-gui

[edit] Homebrew 2.2.6

Skip the brew tap caskroom/cask or the following error occures:

Error: caskroom/cask was moved. Tap homebrew/cask-cask instead.

If you do what it's says, you will get:

Error: caskroom/cask-cask was moved. Tap homebrew/cask-cask-cask instead.

You can continue to do what it tells you, until you realize that you should look for help online. I think it is a fun, yet unhelpful error message, maybe there is a good reason for it. Just go ahead and do

$ brew cask install mactex

Edit 2021

brew has once again changed its syntax for this. You should now be using

$ brew install --cask mactex
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