Friday, June 26, 2009

PGF/TikZ and OpenSUSE 11.1

There are many Unix powerful tools that I love. Linux per-se and LaTeX.
If you're excited to present your technical ideas in a clever and elegant way, I encourage you to use LaTeX. I totally agree that PowerPoint and Impress offer a straight way to develop ordinary presentations. I mean, every one could put some bullets, add graphics, write a fancy title and so on. However, if you are interested to present a more interactive and attractive presentations, LaTeX is an important candidate.

LaTeX offers a wealth ecosystem of libraries to support the creation of elegant presentations such as:  Seminar, Propser, Beamer, and Powerdot, among others. I have not evaluated all of them but my favorite package is Beamer. This package offers interesting features for creating attractive presentations with moderate effort. Aside to those marvelous presentation packages, I found the PGF/TikZ package. It's an amazing library to create awesome diagrams, graphics and interactive presentations.

Nowadays, my laptop distro is OpenSUSE 11.1. I found it quite stable. However, OpenSUSE 11.1 comes with outdated packages for supporting the current PGF/TikZ release (2.00). Thus, I downloaded the PGF source code from sourceforge web site, but I found the installation documents very confuse.

So, I'm describing the steps that I have followed in order to enable the latest stable release of PGF/TikZ on my OpenSUSE 11.1 installment.
  1. Download the PGF/TikZ source code.
  2. Uncompress the downloaded file.
  3. You'll get a directory named 'pgf-2.00'. Inside of this directory you'll find the following directories: context, doc, generic, latex and plain. (As well, the README file). I assumed that you have uncompressed this directory in the ~/src/ directory.
  4. In my OpenSUSE distro, the pgf package is distributed in the following directories:
    • /usr/share/texmf/tex/generic/pgf
    • /usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/pgf
    • /usr/share/texmf/tex/plain/pgf
  5. Now, make a copy of these directories in a safe place.
  6. Erase them.
  7. Move the directories found in the recently downloaded PGF/TikZ package to the standard OpenSUSE LaTeX installation, as follows:
    • mv ~/src/pgf-2.00/generic/pgf /usr/share/texmf/tex/generic/
    • mv ~/src/pgf-2.00/latex/pgf /usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/
    • mv ~/src/pgf-2.00/plain/pgf /usr/share/texmf/tex/plain/
  8. Run the texhash command.
That's it. Now, you can test and enjoy the benefits of this powerful package (Check this link).

Good hack!