Mac/Un-mac (was: Re: [Mac OS X TeX] Re: The role of TeXShop)

Thomas Schröder thomas at
Thu Jan 17 14:17:06 EST 2002


> Fear of being un-mac is dangerous --- in fact the whole philosophy of TeX
> is somewhat un-mac:

After having to use Word and a bunch of other programmes with a similar 
approach for more than a year I must disagree. TeX and especially LaTeX 
are philosophy wise very mac because they very much like the Mac save the 
user from things he doesn't know about or doesn't want to know about. They 
make decisions like the Mac at points where the user might be overtaxed. 
And most importantly they automatically handle just like the Mac all the 
tedious, repetitive and stupid stuff you absolutely do not want to do and 
what computers were built for in the first place.

Ever tried to change the standard layout in Word to something 
typographically more pleasing? Ever tried to do an index in Word? Ever 
tried to use Word's referencing or automatic numbering _and_ changing the 
order in which things are kept several times? Ever decided in the middle 
of a big project done in Word that A5 in 10pt and sans serif would be a 
much better choice for this than A4 in 12 pt and serif? Then you will most 
certainly see my point.

That TeX introduces completely new problems that we wouldn't be faced with 
without it is on the other hand a completely different story. So is 
obviously the memorizing and typing-in of obscure commands ;-)

But like on the Mac, after you get the general idea you can work rather 
intuitively because of TeX/LaTeX's consistency in design. After all, many 
of the commands do as they say, e.g. \chapter for a new chapter, \alpha 
for the greek letter etc.

This is really very OT, but I simply could not resist :-)

     Bye, Thomas

Thomas Schröder +++ thomas at

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