[OS X TeX] TeX and the wild wild world out there

Gary L. Gray gray at engr.psu.edu
Wed Nov 29 08:55:39 EST 2006

On Nov 29, 2006, at 6:25 AM, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> Le 29 nov. 06 à 11:56, Anthony Morton a écrit :
>> All that's happened is that Word has evolved to where it can  
>> produce acceptable math typesetting.  It's still ugly as hell but  
>> at least it's legible.
> I know Victor won't agree, but personally I find <http:// 
> www.unicode.org/notes/tn28/UTN28-PlainTextMath.pdf>  encouraging --  
> both regarding content, and as an indication of what Word 2007 can  
> produce. (It was mentioned earlier here starting from <http:// 
> tug.org/pipermail/macostex-archives/2006-September/024217.html>.)
> Please don't misinterpret me: I'm no MS lobbyist, I continue to use  
> TeX and when I use WYSIWYG software I favour Pages and Keynote over  
> Word and PowerPoint. But I think it's important to keep an eye of  
> what's happening outside, and try to avoid prejudgements.

Bruno and others,

Yes, Word *can* produce reasonably nice documents (even if the user  
knows what he or she is doing, the math never looks that good), but  
almost no one takes the time to learn how to do it. I sit on several  
thesis committees in engineering every year and 90% of the theses are  
written in Word. When a student is using the same mathematical symbol  
inline as he or she is using in a displayed equation, they almost  
never agree since the displayed equation is done using the equation  
editor and the inline symbol is simply typed without any concern for  
the fact that the inline symbol is not italic. If the students aren't  
even going take the time to use the same mathematics notation inline  
that they do in displayed equations then I certainly don't expect  
that they will do anything else to make a nice looking (and readable  
document), no matter what Microsoft releases.

Microsoft could come out with the greatest system since the invention  
of the printing press for making nice looking documents, the problem  
is that 95% of people will still use it like a typewriter.

All the best,

P.S. I should also add that Word is so buggy, that even if you know  
what you are doing with use of styles, proper mathematics, etc., you  
will still go insane trying to get it to do what it is supposed to  
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