[OS X TeX] Various TeX programs/a beginner's perspective

Joseph C. Slater joseph.slater at wright.edu
Mon May 10 12:51:47 EDT 2004

On May 9, 2004, at 10:55 PM, Kevin Walzer wrote:

> <snip>
> Not surprisingly, I started with TeXShop, because Joe's site made it 
> clear that this was a very popular editor, well-designed, and 
> relatively simple in its interface. I picked up TeXShop quickly, but 
> it didn't help me to learn LaTeX very well. iTeXMac was bewildering to 
> me in its complexity (still is). Even LyX didn't work the way I 
> thought it would.

Thanks. I've emphasized this a little more strongly in the latest 

> 1. There's no getting around the fact that LaTeX has a learning curve. 
> Don't hide it. It is hard. Once you get it, it falls into place, but 
> it requires a different frame of mind than a word processor. (I still 
> haven't implemented LaTeX in my publishing business--I still use word 
> processors and DTP tools--largely because of speed issues. I'm very 
> slow with LaTeX.)

I've added an early reference in the document to section 5 (your first 
latex document) which now has a link to “A beginner’s introduction to 
typesetting with LATEX” (the link on the refs page had gone dead). 
Further, the source file for the web page is pretty well commented, 
explaining each of the commands that isn't clear (I think).

It's pretty clear that having that document posted as information AND 
as the example wasn't clear to people. It is a 'template' which people 
can use as a starting point. Hopefully it is a little clearer in the 
new version.

I've deleted the old version (with a hyphens in the name that caused 
problems I don' even remember). This will kill some links, but better 
to get the link right for the future.

> 2. Joe, please don't change the Mac-TeX site at all, except to add 
> more applications. I think the site does an excellent job of showing 
> what's out there in terms of apps, appraising each one fairly, and 
> letting the user make the choice. The site does a good enough job of 
> showing that TeXShop is popular and probably the best tool for 
> beginners--but it also shows that it's not the only tool out there. 
> Different users have different needs. I had been away from the Mac 
> long enough that I wasn't trying to unlearn hard-wired OS9 habits; for 
> these folks, OzTeX and CMacTeX are probably a comfortable environment. 
> (I find the interfaces of these apps a bit dated, but I'm sure others 
> don't.) I was interested in learning about Cocoa apps and learning 
> about open-source, Unix-based stuff. Hence my subsequent focus on 
> TexShop, Emacs, and Texmaker.

If any applications are missing from the table, please let me know. It 
serves as my 'to do' list. When I get the chance, I'd like to 
re-structure the entire setup.

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