LyX Screenshot

As a Macintosh newbie, I’m still in deep learning mode, but I’ve discovered one thing that really excited me. LyX, the easy-to-use front end to LaTeX, is available in a Mac binary package, as is LaTeX in the form of MacTeX. LyX is the main reason I use Linux on my netbook. I’m using it to typeset “Captain’s Log,” my 2009 journal that I plan to print privately as a 6×9-inch book at Lulu.com.

Having this on my Mac is even better, and would free up my Dell Mini 10v netbook as a Hackintosh. Following the instructions on the LyX site, I first downloaded MacTeX, then LyX. Both installed cleanly and simply and I was able to use the .lyx files from my netbook.

The only snag I hit was that LyX expects aspell or ispell — the most common spelling packages in a Unix environment — for spell checking.

This lead me to MacPorts — Unix ports of open-source software scripted for installation on a Macintosh. It has two requirements: X11 and the Mac Xcode development system.

X11 was already installed but I had to install Xcode from my installation disc. Having done that, I was able to type $sudo port install aspell and it did the rest, obtaining aspell and all its dependencies, compiling them on the Mac. Lovely!

My journal project has now been moved to the Mac and I’ve reached mid-September in my proofing and typesetting.  It’s going to be a thick book: I’ve been journaling prolifically this year.

I’ve not yet obtained any photo editing software or office software for word processing and spreadsheets. I use Photoshop CS3 on my PC, but may switch to Photoshop Elements 8 on the Mac. It seems to have all the features, including layers and layer tools, that I use in CS3.For office software, I’ll likely go with either NeoOffice or MS Office for Mac, if I can obtain a student version.

In the meantime, I’ve been watching tutorial videos on iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand.