[OS X TeX] Publicon today

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Sun Mar 12 10:47:20 EST 2006

Le 12 mars 06 à 15:32, Daniel Flatin a écrit :

> I have been happy with TeXShop so far, but I find myself struggling  
> with customizing document formats. There are so many different  
> solutions within LaTeX in general, and in many cases the solutions  
> are small, purpose specific, and supported by a single author. The  
> fancyhdr package by Piet van Oostrum comes to mind. Any complete  
> LaTeX working environment is a pastiche of different packages, each  
> with it's own documentation, and perhaps second order documentation  
> about how two packages interact. It seems endless.

While I cannot offer any solution to your problem, I feel exactly the  
same about LaTeX and wish that, at some point, the LaTeX maintainers  
or community would, once and for good, decide what additional  
functionalities should go inside LaTeX, investigate all the add-on  
packages that offer these functionalities, select one (and only one)  
for each functionality, ensure they all play nice together,  
standardize their commands and approaches, incorporate them inside  
LaTeX itself, and then merge all their documentations into a unique  
documentation for this whole enhanced LaTeX system (or at least make  
it so that all the documentation is in the same format).

Alas, I fear that will never happen, and feel pretty pessimistic  
about the future of LaTeX. At one point I hoped LaTeX 3 would allow  
that to happen, but now I feel pessimistic about LaTeX 3 as well.  
With the LaTeX 3 project progressing so slowly (at least when viewed  
from outside), and the pace the computing world progresses being so  
high (with Unicode, HTML, MathML, XML, etc.), I wonder whether LaTeX  
3 will be able to catch up with this moving target.

One of my dreams, for example, would be to have a complete self- 
consistent TeX-like system that could be taken in some house in the  
countryside for a month say, without any connection to the internet,  
and to be able to work from there using this system. With gwTeX you  
do have LaTeX + packages and their documentation, but at point or  
another you're looking for something outside core LaTeX and don't  
know which package to look at, or do not manage to use one  
satisfactorily, so that in the end you do need to turn to this list  
or another and interrupt your workflow.

With commercial software you would probably feel more limited in what  
can be done, or would experience more bugs, but at least you would  
have a complete consistent system, with single consistent  
documentation, and could proceed from that point on.

Just some moody Sunday afternoon wanderings...

Bruno Voisin ------------------------- Info --------------------------
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