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Support Packages for TeX

Fig, a TeX-friendly drawing package

(X)Fig is a menu driven tool that allows you to draw objects on the screen of an X workstation. transfig is a set of tools which translate the code fig produces to other graphics languages including PostScript and the LaTeX picture environment. They are available in graphics/xfig and graphics/transfig

Fig is supported by Micah Beck (beck@cs.cornell.edu) and transfig is maintained by Brian Smith (bvsmith@lbl.gov). Another tool for fig conversion is fig2mf which generates METAFONT code from fig input. It is available in graphics/fig2mf

TeXCAD, a drawing package for LaTeX

TeXCAD is a program for the PC which enables the user to draw diagrams on screen using a mouse or arrow keys, with an on-screen menu of available picture-elements. Its output is code for the LaTeX picture environment. Optionally, it can be set to include lines at all angles using the emTeX driver-family \specials. TeXCAD is part of the emTeX distribution.

A Unix port of the program exists, graphics/xtexcad/xtexcad-2.4.tar.gz

Spelling checkers for work with TeX

For Unix, ispell is probably the program of choice. It is available in support/ispell; beware of any version with a number 4.x - such versions represent a divergent version of the source which lacks many useful facilities of the 3.x series.

For MS-DOS, there are several programs. amspell can be called from within an editor (available as support/amspell). jspell is an extended version of ispell (available as support/jspell).

For the Macintosh, Excalibur is the program of choice. It will run in native mode on both sorts of Macintosh, and is available as systems/mac/support/excalibur/Excalibur-2.5-sit.hqx (there are other dictionaries in the same directory).

For VMS, a spell checker can be found in support/vmspell

The VorTeX package

VorTeX (available in support/vortex) is a package of programs written at the University of California at Berkeley, and was described by Michael A. Harrison in ``News from the VorTeX project'' in TUGboat 10(1), pp. 11-14, 1989. It includes several nice previewers and some emacs modes for TeX and BibTeX. The VorTeX distribution is not maintained, and now looks distinctly long in the tooth (it was never upgraded to TeX version 3).

VorTeX needed a separate workstation to run TeX in the background; modern PCs for the home can provide more processor power (than was available to VorTeX) in a single box. This fact has been recognised by Blue Sky Research in their `Lightning Textures' (which runs on a Macintosh in a somewhat similar way) and by TCI Software Research in `Scientific Word' (see commercial vendors), and is also the basis of many of the other environments mentioned in `editors and shells'.

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