LaTeX font hell
January 26, 2008 5:57 PM   Subscribe

Help! I don't know what I did, but I somehow destroyed my Mac's (10.5) ability to render fonts in my LaTex document correctly.

I was using darwin ports to upgrade teTex. I found a couple directories that were confusing compilations like "X11R6 1" --- must have been created by apple during the upgrade of xtools or something --- but after I fixed this, the fonts were already messed up. I tried uninstalling and rebuilding teTex, but this did not help. Many of my equations don't even display. What can I do? I'm desperate as I'm about to take a trip and need latex working. Thanks for your help!
posted by about_time to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
teTeX is quite old and might not have been updated for 10.5, could you give MacTeX a shot?
posted by stereo at 6:02 PM on January 26, 2008

During times that I have had a problem with either Fink or MacPorts (the new name for Darwin ports), I have found that completely wiping the directories where they live (/sw and /opt respectively) and reinstalling the latest version from scratch saved me. It takes a little while, but I might try that.
posted by procrastination at 6:30 PM on January 26, 2008

I installed MacTex and that didn't solve things. Seeing as that is a separate installation already, reinstalling /opt probably isn't going to help.
posted by about_time at 8:11 PM on January 26, 2008

and thank you for your help.
posted by about_time at 8:21 PM on January 26, 2008

Is there anything useful in the log files that latex produces?
posted by SemiSophos at 10:32 PM on January 26, 2008

Could you maybe upload your project? I'll try to generate it on my mac if you want.
posted by stereo at 6:37 AM on January 27, 2008

Could it be a font cache problem? I would probably delete it with either Yasu or similar utility.
posted by KimG at 10:09 AM on January 27, 2008

TeX uses its own font files, not X11 or Mac system fonts, so you should've got a whole new set with the MacTex distro. If you installed MacTex and still had problems that's interesting. Make sure you were actually running the MacTex binaries, not your old ones (call them explicitly like /opt/local/bin/pdflatex ...).

Your problem with your X11R6 directory isn't obviously related, but the way you describe it makes me think there were a few other directories with other 'funny' names you might've renamed. I assume you tried changing them back?

What precisely is the problem with font rendering? Wrong encodings? missing ligatures? completely blank files? Did you try changing fonts? (\usepackage{times.sty} maybe.) It's hard to narrow down your problem without a little more information of this kind.

As a quick fix you could maybe use XeLaTeX, which will take your LaTeX files without problems, but it'll let you render it with your installed Type 1 and Opentype fonts. You might even have it installed, just add a line like

\font\H="Lucida Grande" at 10pt

early on and see how you go. That's a bit tangent to your problem though.
posted by hugo at 12:55 PM on January 27, 2008

One other thing: I was looking at the Fink home page today, and there are apparently some bugs in the X11 distribution that came with Leopard. There was a notice that said this:
Users who want to update their Leopard X11 installation should make sure to download a Fink-friendly update to Xquartz. Users who have already applied the X11- from must download the Fink-compatible Xquartz for Fink to work properly. (Note: there is an X11-2.1.1.pkg release pending which will remove the need to patch your Xquartz. If you install X11 2.1.1 or later, do not apply the Xquartz patch.)

Update, 2007-12-11: The X11 2.1.1 release is now available on the Xquartz release page. Users who have already applied the X11- and/or the patched Xquartz-1.3.0-apple-fink file from should upgrade to 2.1.1 or greater for Fink to work properly. This release supercedes all previous releases, including the fink-specific Xquartz.
Perhaps you need to install the Xquartz update?
posted by procrastination at 2:19 PM on January 28, 2008

hurray! that was the answer. thank you!
posted by about_time at 2:23 PM on January 28, 2008

Thanks to everyone for the offers of help.
posted by about_time at 2:24 PM on January 28, 2008

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