[OS X TeX] Who should use (La)TeX - who is able to use it?
Schremmer.Alain at verizon.net
Wed Nov 17 22:14:12 EST 2004
Thanks for the info.
As you may have noticed, I was invited to call it quit.
So, thanks again
Fernando Pereira wrote:
> On Nov 15, 2004, at 9:52 PM, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>> In any case, I doubt that, 25 years ago, people could have imagined
>> what today's desk computers can do. We were overjoyed with MacWrite
>> and couldn't believe it when the first Laserprinter came out. In fact
>> we couldn't believe the output of the Applewriter (?) to begin with.
>> So, the fact that many people have tried does not seem to me to be a
>> convincing argument.
> In the late 70s, places like Xerox PARC and other research labs had
> very expensive custom personal computers that were functionally
> comparable with modern Macs, if with less memory and slower. There's
> *nothing* fundamental in a current OS X environment that is
> qualitatively different from, say, what was available and possible on
> a Xerox Dorado in the late 70s, or a Sun or SGI workstation in the mid
> 80s. Slicker, yes. But all of the critical ideas and techniques,
> including bitmapped displays, TeX, window systems, and WYSIWYG
> editors, were already available. I know of several early attempts (for
> example, at CMU in the mid 80s) to put WYSIWYG front-ends on
> typesetting systems that failed not because of computer limitations
> but for the reasons I mentioned.
>> Re. "The syntax and meaning of typesetting languages like TeX are too
>> rich and subtle for simple-to-use visual metaphors". Maybe, I
>> certainly wouldn't know, but what about a /subset/ thereof? Many
>> people would be happy to settle for a "lite" version. If only to get
> Subsetting a language is very hard if the language was not designed to
> be subsetted. That's why it's so hard to teach introductory
> programming with professional programming languages like C++ or Java.
>> By the way, just before the Mac came out, I used to hear the same
>> kind of things about why there could be nothing but command language
>> on 80 character lines and raw dot matrix printers. I know because a
>> friend and I were trying at the time to get into small press
>> publishing, couldn't believe it and kept looking. And then there was
>> Xerox' star system which we couldn't afford and, eventually, the Mac
>> 128 which couldn't do much of anything but made us wait a bit more
>> and the Mac 256 we bought a couple of.
> That might have been the case for the general public, but those of us
> who had the luck to use early Xerox D machines, MIT Lisp machines, and
> Sun and SGI workstations as part of our work around that time had a
> totally different experience.
> -- F
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