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I'd like to use a nice typesetting engine to generate invoices in PDF format from an OS X application I've developed. I want to respect the licensing but I'm not an expert on that side. I don't need every package that, for example, the MacTeX disk image contains. My application domain will be limited only to invoices (I'm actually using akletter).

Is it possible to embed one of the TeX flavors in an OS X application? If not, what is the best practice to help the user download a typesetting engine and install it on OS X?

The application, once in a production state, will go on to the Mac App Store.

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Would an online compiler be an options, e.g., clsi.scribtex.com, code.google.com/p/common-latex-service-interface – Torbjørn T. Dec 9 '11 at 12:27
@TorbjørnT. Yes, it could be an option, but if there is a way to embed (adding credits or paying a license or whatever you think is the best practice) to add a tex-like engine to my application, I would choose that instead. – microspino Dec 9 '11 at 12:32
up vote 3 down vote accepted

TeX Live is free. But AFAIK Mac App Store doesn't allow every but only some kind of free software at the App Store. Parts of TeX Live are under GPL for examples, that is not allowed. Nevertheless you may simply write a small application, that downloads the TeX Live net installer and runs it. This installation application may be part of your application.

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This depends on which free licenses are involved. For example, software covered by the GPL can be incompatible with the terms the App Store uses for distribution. Look up the history of VLC on the iPhone for a demonstration. Both pdfTeX and LuaTeX are covered by the GPL because they include some third party code that is GPL licensed. XeTeX is available under a MIT license which should not be problematic---but one of the utilities it depends on to create PDF files, dvipdfmx, is a GPL licensed work. – Sharpie Dec 9 '11 at 16:41

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