[OS X TeX] TeX is not for the faint of heart

Alain Schremmer Schremmer.Alain at verizon.net
Tue May 4 09:12:58 EDT 2004

I did "read" it. (I believe it is your page.) Twice.
The first time was /at the very beginning/ of my "quest" and it did not 
make much /practical/ sense to me. For instance:

    TeX is a typesetting language. /Yeah, but I want to /write!
    Instead of visually formatting your text, you type your text
    combined with commands in a plain text file. etc. /That much I know./
    These macros make life easy for you. /I suppose, all is relative .../

The example that follows was quite intimidating.

    After running the TeX program on that source ... I /am supposed to
    run a program?/

As indeed you yourself, acknowledge:

    The above may seem complicated. But ...

Then, here comes the real blow:

    So, to use TeX you need basically 4 things:

        * An editor to edit plain text (enter your text and your TeX
        * The TeX programs for your platform (binaries and scripts)
        * A TeX foundation collection (macro's, formats, fonts, etc.)
        * A way to view the result

/Look, I don't give a damn about beauty, if MS Word was not so bad and 
even so if I could stay with it I would./

Joking apart, all your explanations are very good but not for "the rest 
of us". Consider the chilling effect of the next paragraph:

    TeX normally produces device independent DVI file format from the
    ASCII TeX source. To view or print DVI, the device independent data
    needs to be translated to a device. For instance an X11 or Windows
    user interface, or a PostScript or Laserjet printer. Sometimes, the
    users have to produce a printer format first (like PostScript),
    which then again is rendered on the screen by a PostScript viewer
    (like GhostView).

The second time I read it was when I was trying to figure out what had 
happened to the rtf2latex2e converter that I had i-installed. By the 
way, I hate to say it here, out of desperation, I even sent you an email.

So, again, now that I see the magnitude of it all, I thank you for 
having done the i-Installer but, forgive me for saying so, I hope to see 
the day when it will cease to be /necessary/.


Gerben Wierda wrote:

> On May 4, 2004, at 02:06, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>> (1) The first hurdle was to /find/ the stuff. It is not as easy as 
>> you may think as I did not know the language and the references. I 
>> mean the language common on this board for instance. (But I must say 
>> that those who helped me here did to a large extent take my ignorance 
>> in consideration). For instance just read Kevin Walzer's post but I 
>> am sure that it wouldn't have made any sense to me, say a month ago. 
>> Which is why I mentioned the "notes" I took and why I took them. My 
>> notes mention, for instance "why an editor? what is the engine?" I 
>> kept reading that TeX was a typesetting language and not a 
>> wordprocessor as if it made obvious sense. Well, /now/ it does but 
>> keep in mind that all I had ever used was MacWrite (what a joy, these 
>> were the days) and MS Word (what a pain, right from the very beginning.)
> What is your opinion on the introduction to what TeX is on 
> http://www.rna.nl/tex.html?
> G
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