[OS X TeX] Who should use (La)TeX - who is able to use it?

Jon Breitenbucher kahless at mac.com
Sun Nov 14 12:20:37 EST 2004

On Nov 14, 2004, at 11:54 AM, Herb Schulz wrote:

> On 11/14/04 9:35 AM, "Fernando Pereira" <fcnpereira at mac.com> wrote:
>> On Nov 14, 2004, at 8:21 AM, Arno Kruse wrote:
>>> I hope the reader understands my motivation and my sorrows (and looks
>>> after my decent ability to write English in a good manner). I fear
>>> TeX, LaTeX and Co. are in danger to die out whether they do not match
>>> the needs "normal" people are asking for.
>> Software is always a compromise among conflicting needs and goals. TeX
>> and its many packages and derivatives have done and continue to do 
>> very
>> well for the people they were designed for: scientific and technical
>> writers, other authors with very specific typographical needs. It's an
>> added benefit if others learn to use and enjoy the benefits of TeX and
>> friends, with the help of convenient front-ends like TexShop or
>> iTexMac. But decades of experience and failed attempts have shown that
>> a powerful typesetting language cannot be successfully hidden behind a
>> graphical interface. Even the much simpler problem of graphical 
>> editing
>> of HTML has not been successfully solved, as anyone who uses
>> Dreamweaver knows. And that's a commercial  program backed by the
>> development resources of a successful company. Programs like LyX are
>> making a valiant effort to prove the skeptics wrong, but my recent
>> experience with it didn't do anything to change my assessment.
>> -- F
> Howdy,
> I still haven't gotten around to playing with Wolfram's Publicon as a
> technical document ``WP'' but it sounds like it may be closer to what 
> you're
> talking about; it can produce LaTeX output which didn't look too bad 
> in the
> example I grabbed from Wolfram's site. Hopefully it can be easily 
> configured
> and customized to produce exactly what one needs.
> Good Luck,
> Herb Schulz
> (herbs at wideopenwest.com)

I have played with Publicon and I think it would take a fairly 
knowledgeable LaTeX author to set up a new document style. I started to 
convert a thesis class for my institution and decided is was going to 
take way longer than I have at the moment. Once the new styles have 
been created it may be easy to use, but as Fernando indicated, there 
will always be a need for very technical people to create tools and 
solve problems related to typography. It is very hard to hide the 
Wizard in this case.
We are usually convinced more easily by reasons we have found ourselves 
than by those which have occurred to others.
(Blaise Pascal)

Jon Breitenbucher
The College of Wooster
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
308 E. University
Wooster, Ohio 44691

jbreitenbuch at wooster.edu

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