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

Alain Schremmer Schremmer.Alain at verizon.net
Tue Nov 16 15:31:16 EST 2004

(1) Ah Ha!
"(who really needs to dedicate a year of his life to learning emacs) "
I suppose some people do but not all the people all the time.

(2) Please count me in for Word bashing although I am now falling behind 
as I have not upgraded X and never will.

(3) Some of the argumentation against a "TeX based word processor" 
reminds me of the kind of argumentation I run in my own sphere. Calculus 
is currently taught based on limits, with or without the epsilon-delta 
defintion. But, for a long time, calculus was based on "infinitesimal" 
with which a lot was done and some of it, in differential geometry, 
never redone. Now a version of it uses what is called little ohs as in 
(x0 +h)^2 = xo^2 + 2x0h + o(h) so that the derivative of a function at 
x0 can be defined as the coefficient of h in the expansion of f(x0+h). 
This of course does not work for all functions which is why limits were 
invented. Still, it works for all functions encountered in Calculus I 
and II. So, why not use it there? Because, you will be told severely, it 
does not work for all functions so that by doing so you would be 
depriving students of .... That by /not/ doing so you bar a very much 
larger number of students away from /any/ calculus never seems to enter 
in the discussion.

(4) It seems to me that a version of, say TeXshop, complete with the 
packages necessary for, say, Calculus I and II, and a "G-installer" and 
with a Word like interface would be a winner. OK, so the output may not 
be optimal, OK, so there would be a lot of mathematics, beginning with 
matrices that couldn't be written etc. So what? Anyone wanting to do 
that sort of things would then turn to the regular TeXshop. But, I have 
noticed already on this list a number of people who do not seem to be 
concerned with mathematical typography anyway.

In short, I am not suggesting a replacement but a lite version alongside 
the heavy duty one. I do not understand why this should elicit such 


William F. Adams wrote:

> On Nov 16, 2004, at 5:07 AM, Thøger Juul Thorsen wrote:
>> An interesting, though far from perfect, scientific word processor 
>> hevily inspired by TeX is *Texmacs* (http://www.texmacs.org/), which, 
>> like LyX, doesn't go with the Mac interface, but has a lot of very 
>> interesting features.
> That's a good example.
> Also, I believe it's important to note that LyX is GUI-agnostic --- 
> there're two different front-ends for it, xform and QT, and I believe 
> work is progressing on a Gnome front-end.
> More importantly (and on-topic), I first learned of LyX when a person 
> asked if it could be made to work on NeXTstep --- there's really no 
> reason a Cocoa front-end couldn't be developed, which would be a 
> Mac-native interface, and would afford one access to Services &c.
> Anyway, there's been a lot of writing on word processors as opposed to 
> typesetting / document markup schemes, so anyone interested could read 
> that.
> Personally, I'm currently wrestling w/ a largish project (4,000+ 
> graphics, ~200 major sections, ~1100 pgs. tens of thousands of index 
> entries) and the opacity of Word is a major stumbling block --- things 
> which look right / identical on-screen may not be formatted using 
> similar schemes (I'd give my interest in hell for something like 
> WordPerfect's reveal codes, something better than Word's ``reveal 
> formatting''), and so are handled differently at the conversion step.
> It seems to not be possible to insert an indexing code using search / 
> replace, and one can't set a given character style to always be 
> indexed (I'd be delighted to be proven wrong on these counts).
> Even w/ the purchase of an almost $1,000 authoring package to do the 
> conversion from Word to .htm, the project is still running slow 'cause 
> of buggy and inconsistent behaviour (the ToC keeps getting mucked up, 
> it won't build the index if I nest folders, it won't terminate links 
> which it builds from references and it crashes, a lot) in the 
> authoring app (did I mention it crashes? A lot?).
> My boss still hasn't answered my last question on why we couldn't just 
> bite the bullet and convert it to LaTeX using rtf2latex and use 
> latex2html.... (he wouldn't even try to find me the time to make an 
> experiment of it)
> William
> (who really needs to dedicate a year of his life to learning emacs)

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