LaTeX forum ⇒ GeneralTikz hangs if I use \tikzmath

LaTeX specific issues not fitting into one of the other forums of this category.
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Tikz hangs if I use \tikzmath

Postby crl » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:50 pm

I've used LaTeX for several years on various Windows and Linux PCs, and lately in the cloud using Overleaf. This is mainly for scientific writing, though I did also typeset a novel for a friend.

There were never any major difficulties till I started playing with tikz. With Vista and two Windows 10 machines running TexLive, tikz hangs during compilation whenever I include \tikzmath in the code. The same happened on Windows 10 with MikTex, and with Linux Mint (version dating from about 2014; I don't remember all the details).

Tikz works perfectly on Overleaf, who actively promote it in their documentation. However, I want to use tikz for after-school activities in a place that has no internet connection.

The tikzmath problem is one of a small collection that seems to be well known, though not much seems to have been done about it. I read a brief comment, on one of those forums where users can close down questions before they've been properly discussed, that the difficulty may be because tikzmath gets confused about paths if the computer has "seen" more than one LaTeX implementation (updates, latex4ebook etc).

Ubuntu/Mint doesn't really help here because the repository still has TexLive 2013 which seems difficult to delete cleanly when you've inadvertently installed it!

To try that I did a fresh install of Linux Mint 18.1 Serena Xfce on an old 32 bit office machine, and tikzmath worked on that (TexLive 2017 from CTAN, with TexStudio).

Perhaps someone can confirm this proposition that the trouble is due to multiple implementations of LaTeX, some of which may be unknown to the user. Even better, is there any way tikz could be fixed? An underlying problem is that it's difficult to remove a LaTeX installation, particularly with at least the Ubuntu distribution and derivatives. Perhaps reflecting this, the usual advice is to leave an old version alone when installing a new one.


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Stefan Kottwitz
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Postby Stefan Kottwitz » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:21 pm

Welcome to the forum!

Can you post a code example, that hangs when you compile it? And can you post the .log file of the LaTeX run? Maybe also a screenshot to see the situation where it hangs, if it's not written to the .log file.

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Postby crl » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:26 pm

Thanks for your reply Stefan.

I tested the attached file about a month before posting here. As I said it worked on Overleaf and the clean Mint installation (Texlive 2016), but - as expected - not on Windows 10 (2 machines; one of these is the portable I want to use off-line). I no longer have the old Vista/Mint double boot installation where it didn't work.

Yesterday (11 October) I ran the file again to get the log file you requested, and it worked on both Windows machines! The only thing that's changed is that Windows V1703 update KB4041676 was installed on 14 September. KB4038788 caused a re-boot yesterday while I was working, but that occurred after the test on one of the machines. I've never updated the TexLive 2015 installations.

Windows update regularly deletes, without notification, any software and printers it disapproves of, so one could imagine that it has tidied up my LaTeX installation. At least I've no other explanation to propose.

When tikz used to hang, TexLive just displayed the little blue waiting circle till I pressed Escape; I could find no useful information in the log file. I'm very used to that because the same thing happens when my code gets (apparently) into an endless loop. The information I read on the web during the last year seems to have disappeared, perhaps because of the difficulty with defining and reporting a problem with a complex installation when you're not quite sure you have got the syntax right. Tikz is useful and fun but tricky... and as you can see from my file I haven't yet found out how to do nested iterations.
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