[OS X TeX] New alpha Textures with support for graphics
bvoisin at mac.com
Sun Jul 16 13:29:33 EDT 2006
Le 13 juil. 06 à 19:32, Claus Gerhardt a écrit :
> Before you get overboard with your praise of Textures, [...]
OK, here's my take on Textures.
- Being self-contained. My first contact with TeX was in 1991 when I
was handed the Textures box, containing: the Textures floppies, the
CM/PS font floppies, the Textures User's Guide, the TeXbook, the
Textures LaTeX Local Guide, the LaTeX manual. These were all the
tools and documentation that were necessary for using (La)TeX to
produce (beautiful) mathematical documents.
With this box, I have been able for say 3 years to write all the
mathematical prose I had to write. In retrospect these were the most
productive years of my professional life. That without using the
internet for more than sending the odd email once a fortnight, and
without having any contact with another TeXist or access to any other
documentation. And possibly because of this.
Sure, I was missing many of the more advanced functionalities that
TeX had to offer, related for example to dvips or to all the LaTeX
styles developed around the world. But on the other hand it was
possible to be perfectly functional without these. There's always a
balance to find between the time spent to explore advanced
functionalities, and the need one really has for them.
That, sadly, ceased to be possible when I started to collaborate with
other people (and edit the proceedings of a conference) in 1994. See
the Cons below.
[Aside: Similarly, there is a trend in the open-source world to
consider that when one plans to use a software, one should join the
corresponding mailing list and consider this list as part of the
documentation. I don't agree with this. A software distro should be
self-contained, and contain in particular all the documentation and
components necessary for the software to be fully functional. A
mailing list is a very useful thing (for example this list), allowing
to exchange with other users and to learn about the most advanced
functionalities of and extensions to the software; but it should be
an added bonus, not a requirement for using the software. Again,
there is a balance to find between the time spent to listening and
posting to a list, and the amount of useful info one gets from it. I,
for one, fail spectacularly at finding this balance.]
- Brand loyalty. AFAIK Textures invited the modern GUI for TeX: a
window for .tex input, a window for .dvi output, a window for .log
console, save and print from the File menu, edit from the Edit menu,
compile from the Typeset menu, view from the View menu. All this in a
clean and elegant interface, integrated within one application. With
Textures, TeX appeared just like any other Mac software, and you
didn't have to know anything about its inner machinery (a compiler
turning .tex code into .dvi code, a viewer displaying the .dvi code
on screen, a printer sending the .dvi code to a printing device, and
a separate text editor). Similarly, a Textures file appeared just
like any other Mac file (from MacWrite or MacDraw, say), and not as a
collection of files with naming restrictions (no space, no non-ASCII
characters) and different extensions.
Sure, over the years Textures started to lag behind, and TeXShop/
gwTeX in particular provides now a similar experience with more
functionality (than Classic Textures) and at no cost. But, because
Textures invented it all, I will always feel loyal to it and support
it for as long at it will last (and for how long I'll be able to pay
for it). That's similar to Mac OS: Mac OS brought the GUI to the
personal computer, but over the years it started to lag behind and
became less powerful and reliable than Windows; but, because Mac OS
invented it all and Windows started as a blatant rip-off of its
interface, I've always stayed loyal to it, even in the dark days of
OS 8 and 9 when Mac OS had become slow, messy and unreliable. OS X
changed all this, of course.
- We're living in a Unicode world; HTML, MathML, XML and all their
derivatives rule the world. I'm not sure Textures will be able to
catch up with this evolution. XeTeX, on the other hand, allows this.
It allows presently to use Unicode fonts as text fonts, and in its
forthcoming version 0.995 it will allow the use of Unicode fonts (in
particular the forthcoming STIX fonts) as math fonts. Thanks to
ConTeXt (and possibly LaTeX 3), it might -- I'm not a specialist --
get bridges for dealing with XML input and produce XML output.
I'm indeed an avid XeTeX user and beta tester. But sometimes I miss
the simplicity and minimalism of Textures. In a sense, when one has
just to write a math paper, say, this simplicity and minimalism allow
to concentrate on the basics, and be more efficient in this way.
There's a place for both approaches, I guess.
There are, of course, areas in which XeTeX is unsurpassed. I'm only
guessing here, but from all the posts to the XeTeX mailing list, it
seems XeTeX has already become an indispensable tool for many
linguists, for producing critical editions, for writing non-
alphabetic scripts, for combining horizontal, vertical, left-to-right
and right-to-left writing, for unleashing the power of OpenType and
AAT fonts, etc.
- We're living in a multi-platform world. Back in 1994, when editing
proceedings, having only Textures to process TeX input sent by
authors from all over the world turned rapidly into a nightmare. For
example, having to typeset a communication including figures prepared
in GNUPlot which added PS instructions to be processed in a dvips
stream. That's when I started to experiment with OzTeX and interact
with Andrew Trevorrow (a very nice person).
The gwTeX redistribution of TeX brings this to the next level. With
it, no need, when receiving TeX input from somebody else, to wonder
first whether it uses some package or file not present in the
Textures distro, and whether some adaptation of these packages is
required first or is even possible. Instead, you know in advance that
everything is there and will work. O the added comfort!
Alas, with teTeX now dead and with Gerben's request for help at
creating from TeXLive a teTeX-like tree, things might change in this
There are other things I might say, but I think I've been long enough.
Let me just add that I, too, agree with most of the previous post by
AES in this thread. And, in particular, that I thank Gerben Wierda,
Dick Koch, Jonathan Kew and Adam Maxwell for their hard work.
Bye for now,
Bruno Voisin------------------------- Info --------------------------
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