MacTeX is a product produced by the MacTeX TeXnical working group of the TeX Users Group (TUG). It is the Mac component of the TeX Collection DVD, the reference edition of TeX distributed by TeX User Groups across the world. The reference edition runs on Mac OS X, Windows, GNU/Linux, various BSD Unix systems, and most other computer architectures.
The MacTeX Distribution is available on CTAN or on the TeX Collection DVD (free with membership of TUG or with many of the other Users Groups around the world). Redistribution of files from the MacTeX collection should be done with care after reading the License restrictions by copyright holders.
MacTeX consists of two pieces: MacTeX-2008 and MacTeXtras. MacTeX-2008 is an install package which installs everything needed to run TeX on Mac OS X. The package uses Apple's standard installer; installation takes four to eight minutes and is automatic. MacTeXtras is a collection of optional extras: Additional Front Ends, Spell Checkers, Documentation, and Showcase items.
MacTeX-2014 installs updated versions of the GUI applications that were already in MacTeX-2013. TeXworks is no longer included, but is available in MacTeXtras.
MacTeX installs Ghostscript, 9.10, an update of the Ghostscript 9.07 in MacTeX-2013. This package is self-contained; MacTeX installs no libraries in /usr/local/lib. On Mrch 26, 2014, Ghostscript 9.14 was released, but that version has TeX-related bugs and could not be used in MacTeX.
In previous years, MacTeX installed the convert utility from Image Magick. This utility is no longer needed by tex4ht, and other graphic conversion programs are available in OS X, including Preview and the command line program sips.
In previous years, MacTeX contained optional packages to make the Latin-Modern and TeX-Gyre fonts in TeX available to other OS X programs. These are no longer provided because only a few users installed them, and because a better procedure is to create symbolic links in /Library/Fonts to desired opentype TeX fonts in TeX Live.
There was talk this year about dropping support for PowerPC. We decided to continue support so users could easily upgrade sty and cls files using TeX Live Utility or tlmgr.