[OS X TeX] Publicon today

Simon Spiegel simon at simifilm.ch
Sun Mar 12 11:25:29 EST 2006

On 12.03.2006, at 16:47, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> 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).

Although I agree with you on a certain level, I also think that this  
weakness is at the same time the big strength of LaTeX. There's a  
package for everything and you only have to use those you actually need.
> 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.

I don't know about LaTeX 3, but with the XML-ization of the world, I  
think LaTeX's use might change. In the scenario I prefer, we will  
have some more or less standardized XML exchange formats which will  
be the basis for all kind of outputs, and if you want to have  
excellent print results you'll go the XML->LaTeX route. LaTeX won't  
play the role of an exchange format, but will be used for making  
documents print. No idea, if this is how things will turn out, but it  
sounds plausible to me.


Simon Spiegel
Mutschellenstr. 97
8038 Zürich

Telephon: ++41 43 535 81 71
Mobophon: ++41 76 459 60 39


"I have never been certain that the moral of the Icarus myth is, as  
is generally accepted, 'don't fly too high', or whether it might also  
be thought of as: 'forget about the wax and feathers, and do a better  
job on the wings." Stanley Kubrick

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