If you use the BasicTeX LaTeX distribution1 for OS X, you may run into issues with missing fonts.

If for example the font “Helvetica” is missing, pdlatex will output a log similar to the following:

kpathsea: Running mktextfm phvb8t
mktextfm: Running mf-nowin -progname=mf \mode:=ljfour; mag:=1; nonstopmode; input phvb8t
This is METAFONT, Version 2.718281 (TeX Live 2011)
kpathsea: Running mktexmf phvb8t
! I can't find file `phvb8t'.
<*> ...:=ljfour; mag:=1; nonstopmode; input phvb8t
Please type another input file name
! Emergency stop.
<*> ...:=ljfour; mag:=1; nonstopmode; input phvb8t
Transcript written on mfput.log.
grep: phvb8t.log: No such file or directory
mktextfm: `mf-nowin -progname=mf \mode:=ljfour; mag:=1; nonstopmode; input phvb8t' failed to make phvb8t.tfm.
kpathsea: Appending font creation commands to missfont.log.
! Font \ttlfnt=phvb8t at 18.0pt not loadable: Metric (TFM) file not found.
<to be read again> 
l.318 \newfont{\ttlfnt}{phvb8t at 18pt}

The solution in case of the ACM sig-alternate.cls template is to install the helvetic package manually, by running

sudo tlmgr install helvetic

Alternatively, a more through solution is to install all fonts in the texlive-fonts-recommended package, which can be accomplished with the following snippet:

curl http://packages.ubuntu.com/quantal/all/texlive-fonts-recommended/filelist | sed -En 's!/usr/share/texmf-texlive/fonts/tfm/.*/([^/]+)/[^/]+\.tfm$!\1!p' | sort -u | while read font; do sudo tlmgr install $font; done

This fetches the list of files that are installed by the Ubuntu package texlive-fonts-recommended and extracts all font names. Then it uses tlmgr to install these fonts one by one.

  1. Why would one use the BasicTeX distribution instead of the full MacTeX version? The BasicTeX distribution is only 69MiB, whereas the full release is 1.8GiB. [return]