LaTeX forum ⇒ Decision GuidanceChoosing between MikTeX 2.7 and Tex Live 2008.

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Choosing between MikTeX 2.7 and Tex Live 2008.

Postby porky_pig_jr » Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:44 pm

Dear all,

I've been using rather old version of MikTex (I think dated by 2003), and since I'm getting a new PC (still plan to run Windows XP, though), I should move to something more up to date. I guess my choices are essentially between MikTeX 2.7 and TeX Live 2008. I need some advice from those familiar with both packages.

My MikTeX situation: as a rule I generate postscript file and then, only if necessary, convert it to PDF with distiller. Because I use pstricks, practically in each latex document I create, and because at some point MikTeX Yap had some limitations reading the PS files, I simply don't use Yap. Instead my flow is: TeX to DVI, DVI to PS, view PS with ghostscript.

I like MikTeX package manager a lot.

My major concern with MikTeX: it has moved to pdfTeX. I've been hearing that it's slow. My olde version of MikTeX compiles real fast, may be this is a pdfTeX's artifact. Also, since I also generate PS files, I don't really care of any of the advanced features of pdfTeX. I'll be using it to generate DVI files anyway. (Yes, I know, there is a way to deal with embedded postscript files in DVI files, to convert them to PDF on a fly, but as I've said, I'm just not interested in PDF as a main format).

Tex Live: it looks very interesting. Also it comes up with all possible language processor you can think of, including both LaTeX and pdfTeX, so I assume I probably can just run LaTeX, instead of pdfTeX, if I want to (is that correct?) But gosh, this package is huge! I would like to hear from those who run TeX Live under Windows XP, especially those still using LaTeX, rather than pdfTeX.

My understanding is that the DVI viewer with TeX Live under windows, DVOUT, is not as polished as Yap (under MikTeX), but that's not my major concern, as I've already mentioned. However I'd like to have a decent package manager, similar to the one that comes with MikTeX.

Also: I use Emacs/AucTex as my integrated environment. I know AucTeX now comes with special hooks for MikTeX. Anything for TeX Live?

Thanks in advance, and Happy New Year to all.

- PPJ -

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Postby josephwright » Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:59 pm

On Windows I'd say MiKTeX still edges it, although TeXlive is pretty close. Some notes:
- Both MiKTeX and TeXlive use pdfTeX as their default engine. This does not mean that they produce PDF output by default: the engine can produce DVI or PDF output, depending on what you do. So "tex ???.tex" will call pdfTeX, which will then make a DVI.
- As MiKTeX works only on Windows it is more focussed, and can do Windows-specific things. I've found some shell-escape tasks work more easily with MiKTeX than TeXlive, as MiKTeX "knows" about Windows shell conventions more than TeXlive.
- The package manger in TeXlive is pretty good, but I'd say MiKTeX is still (marginally) a nicer system to use.

On the speed issue, my own tests indicate that the speed of the two systems is similar. I've never been able to see the "TeXLive is faster" issue on my own PC.
Joseph Wright
Joseph Wright

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Postby porky_pig_jr » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:08 pm

Thanks, Joseph. That was very informative. I wonder if I should install both packages and play with them. (Unfortunately that takes time.)

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Postby Banny » Mon May 07, 2012 2:58 pm

THX Joseph for useful info about MikTeX. But can you also give me also some advantages or disadvantages about TexLive and some main differencies between MikTeX and Tex Live? Because I haven't find some good info on the internet. :(
I would really appreciate it.

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Postby cgnieder » Mon May 07, 2012 7:55 pm

Hi Banny,

have a look here: What are the advantages of TeX Live over MiKTeX?

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