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

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Mon Nov 15 15:15:01 EST 2004

On 15 Nov 2004, at 14:23, Gary L. Gray wrote:

> On Nov 14, 2004, at 11:49 PM, david craig wrote:
>>> Is a "normal" user generally capable to use  LaTeX?
>> As you describe a "normal" user, I think the answer is a categorical 
>> "no".  (Well ... "capable", typically yes; "willing" probably not.  
>> Nor does it strike me as an especially good idea.  What's the payoff 
>> for the effort?)
>> What would be the point, really?  Such users already have tools that 
>> serve them perfectly well, whatever their limitations for our crowd. 
>> TeX is for people who need the level of control that it offers, 
>> especially vis a vis mathematics.
> 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.

Microsoft's own knowledge base make interesting reading on the many 
problems you can encounter. One of the few things I always do when 
cooperating on a Word document is make sure every participant has the 
"fast save" preference turned off. There is no more certain way to 
corrupt Word documents to the level that either the document or the 
program becomes unusable. Fighting with Word over many issues is 
sometimes extremely frustrating, probably as frustrating as TeX is for 


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