My son has been using Asymptote, a drawing program for geometric drawings, with the Art of Problem-Solving classes that he has been taking. He’s been running it on their website through the TeXer interface with [asy] tags, which is a little awkward, as error messages are not returned—you just get success or failure. Asymptote has a lot of powerful features and seems pretty easy to use for a compiled language, and I thought it might be worth my trouble to learn for those diagrams that are not the sorts of graphing that gnuplot is good for.
We wanted to install it on our Macs, but like with our troubles with gnuplot, the developers of Asymptote have made it damn near impossible to install on Macs. We did find something that looked promising: precompiled binaries for the Mac: HMUG: /pub/MacOS_X/X/Applications/Publishing/asymptote.
Unfortunately, these binaries are not complete. In a separate file, they tell you about all the libraries you need to install first:
That is not a trivial set of dependencies!
The default sourceforge download is no better. It does not have sources either, and has (apparently) the same dynamic library dependencies. You have to go all way to getting a branch from the SVN repository if you want to compile it yourself, which is more trouble than Asymptote was worth.
Are proper Mac OS X installers so difficult to build that the open-source projects never build them?