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

Alain Schremmer Schremmer.Alain at verizon.net
Wed May 5 18:55:43 EDT 2004


    I hate to do that. It's an endorsement of one person's work over

I was waiting for /that/. It was inevitable that it should come from 
someone or the other.

Consider the following: Jack says that 2+2 = 22. Jill says that 2+2 = 4. 
They are your twin children. Are we going to have to refuse to endorse Jill?

Or consider the following. Should some elementary text in mathematics 
not be endorsed for use in first grade against, say, Bourbaki's Elements 
of Mathematics on the basis …

It is not a matter of fairness, it is a matter of truth. Is anyone here 
ready to argue that what Will Robertson wrote is /not/ true? /I/ can 
only cite my own experience which I have already done.

It is also a matter of responsabilty toward the "rest of us". More about 
that below.

Beyond that, it is not as bad as it sounds. What I think ought to be 
done is merely.


One that nobody trying to go from MS Word to LaTeX could possibly miss 
after a two minute search on the web. Just like every road led to Rome, 
there would have to be absolutely-clear links to that site all oever the 
place. No matter where you started from. I think that this is possible 
as it would truly be in the ultimate interest of all.

On that site would reside something along the lines of what I suggested 
a bit before.
Stage 1
Stage II

The choice is really the following:
Either you make it accessible to the "great unwashed" or TeX wlll end up 
being essentially esoteric history or the private property of MS.
The same situation, by the way, obtains in mathematics. See my letter in 
the May Notices of the AMS.

And this the reason a colleague and I are starting the site I mentioned.
When all is said, we are talking politics—in the good sense of the term.


Joseph C. Slater wrote:

> On May 4, 2004, at 11:51 PM, Will Robertson wrote:
>> On 5 May 2004, at 2:37, Joseph C. Slater wrote:
>>> My Getting Started document does just what it says, although it 
>>> could be improved some more. It doesn't seem to ever be cited in 
>>> these discussions, and I don't know why. If it needs improvement, 
>>> please advise. The .tex source is available, so one could easily 
>>> edit it and send it to me for updating/posting.
>> I like your document as a reference for existing LaTeX users 
>> beginning with Mac OS X, but for beginners it's like "Do this or this 
>> or this or this, your choice. Now do that or that or that or that. 
>> Your choice." And they scream. (But I re-iterate: good for existing 
>> LaTeX users.)
>> What I think is necessary is a page the front of MacTeX that says 
>> very plainly "Want TeX for Mac OS X? You need to download two things: 
>> i-Installer, which installs the TeX foundation for you; and TeXShop, 
>> which you use for writing your LaTeX documents." Once they've got 
>> going they can experiment with other solutions.
> I hate to do that. It's an endorsement of one person's work over 
> another. Further, by categorizing, Section 2 starts with "This 
> scenario is for the person who is not Unix-inclined, hasn’t used 
> LATEX in classic MacOS, and/or wants a completely free solution." 
> which implies that these are the best solutions for the new person.
> The document itself provides an example that they can cut and paste 
> out of to use as a template. Section 5 has a simple first document, 
> and a link to the latex file used to generate the entire web document. 
> Of course, it will end up a nice PDF without using htlatex.
>> Then once they have i-Installer and TeXShop, they need a simple 
>> what's what with Mac OS X TeX (input: text, output: pdf. Use LaTeX 
>> packages to improve functionality. --- Just the very basics, these 
>> are the fonts installed, etc like what I posted earlier). Finally, 
>> after this, they need a *template* that shows them the best way of 
>> going about things, heavily annotated for explanation.
>> Right now I'm too busy to actually write this, but in a few weeks 
>> I'll be okay, I reckon. But if people think it's a waste of time (not 
>> sufficiently helpful) then I'll not bother.
>> Will
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