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

Herb Schulz herbs at wideopenwest.com
Mon Nov 15 09:40:40 EST 2004

On 11/15/04 7:23 AM, "Gary L. Gray" <gray at engr.psu.edu> wrote:

> I would also argue (and I often do to students and colleagues) that one
> of the advantages of TeX is the stability and lack of frustrating bugs.
> I have written many papers (containing numerous figures and equations)
> in Word and its strange behavior and bugs (they may be features, but
> you will never convince me of that) made me pull my hair out (look at
> my picture on my web page and you will see). While TeX is not trivial
> to learn, its consistent behavior more than makes up for it.
> All the best,
> -- Gary


I couldn't agree more. And the peculiar behavior is not just for figures and
equations, it even goes down to the level of simple lists which behave
inconsistently because they seem to have multiple implementations within the

I used TeX for several years in the late 1980's and early 1990's, first on a
PC (PCTeX) and then on a Mac (Textures and Alpha). Until I started using

I used FrameMaker for many years because of its technical bent but it's
mathematics editor made some of the ugliest equations I could imagine and
the typesetting quality wasn't anywhere near TeX quality. Its convenient
illustration editor and ease of simple illustration inclusion kept me using

Once I started using OS X, a couple of years ago, I also started looking for
a replacement for FrameMaker---I suspected Adobe would give OS X short
shrift---and re-found TeX with TeXShop and iTeXMac and Gerben's wonderful

LaTeX now has so many wonderful packages and it's graphics inclusion has
advanced so much since my early days of use that I don't see why I should
change back to anything else. I'm even pretty happy with my font choices;
fairly conservative but the ones that have reasonable maths combinations are
variable enough to satisfy my needs and I can play with XeLaTeX to try super
fancy things that don't need maths.

Yes, teX/LaTeX is not trivial to learn. You really have to start looking at
a document design analytically rather than visually and many folks aren't
``prepared'' to do that after years of just throwing things together and
making ugly, inconsistently designed documents.

Good Luck,

Herb Schulz
(herbs at wideopenwest.com)

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