FAQ No. 1. My computer just ate NINE high density diskettes' worth of data. WHAT HAPPENED?
Answer: Installing teTeX on Chanel3, my Compaq laptop, was like dropping a 20-foot concrete bridge section exactly into place from a height of 50 feet. teTeX is a big package. Even so, it is a moderately complete implementation of TeX 3.1415 and LaTeX 2e for Linux systems. TeX is a big subject anyway, so you can expect to spend the rest of your computing career keeping up-to-date on the latest in the world of TeX. That is to say, installing and using teTeX is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for day trippers. This package requires serious quality time.
Thomas Esser, the author of teTeX, has gone to great lengths to make the package fast, complete, and easy to use. Because TeX is implemented for practically every serious computer system in the world---and quite a few ``non-serious'' ones---implementors must provide the installation facilities for all of them. This accounts in part for teTeX's size. It also accounts for the fact that the pieces necessary to make a workable teTeX installation are spread all over your friendly neighborhood CTAN archive.
CTAN is the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network, a series of anonymous
FTP sites which archive TeX programs, macros, fonts, and
documentation. You'll probably become familiar with at least one CTAN
site. In this document, a pathname like
~CTAN/contrib/pstricks means ``look in the directory
contrib/pstricks of your nearest CTAN site.'' See section
Appendix A for a current list of CTAN
sites and their mirror sites.
Fortunately, some considerate Linux Distribution implementors have assembled the necessary pieces for us. teTeX comes with all the major Linux distributions.
However, if you don't have the Slackware, RedHat, or Debian GNU/Linux distribution, you can install teTeX from its official CTAN distribution. In some cases this may be more desirable. See Section 3 for details.
If you already have teTeX installed on your system and want to jump directly into figuring out how to use it, skip this section and the next, and go directly to section Using teTeX.