[OS X TeX] 1/2" margins

Alain Schremmer Schremmer.Alain at gmail.com
Thu Oct 12 12:54:46 EDT 2006

Bruno Voisin wrote:

> Le 12 oct. 06 à 00:18, Morten Høgholm a écrit :
>> Besides adding an interface to LaTeX page designs humans (and  
>> especially designers) can relate to and doing all the tedious tasks  
>> of checking values have been set correctly etc., geometry also adds  
>> crucial touches like making sure the correct page size is set for  
>> the output driver such as dvips, dvipdfm, or pdfTeX.
>> I for one of course is rather biased in this area because a) I am  
>> interested in page design and how to make it work for LaTeX3  
>> (currently writing an article about that) and b) I am all about  
>> using keyval syntax like for geometry so that non-TeXnicians are  
>> shielded from the underlying nitty-gritty.
> Elaborating on this, and getting OT: I still have the dream that, one  
> day, once a number of functionalities like that provided by the  
> geometry package are recognized as standard, these are incorporated  
> within LaTeX itself, namely moved to the base LaTeX packages like  
> graphics, tools etc.
> Which would mean, of course, that once a functionality is considered  
> standard all the different packages provided it are evaluated  
> critically, one is selected and then its code is rewritten for speed,  
> efficiency and consistence with the LateX core, all the potential  
> incompatibilities with other base packages are resolved, and its  
> documentation is rewritten to use the standard LateX doccumentation  
> interface (the docstrip package) and to be made as short as possible.

I sang that song when I first started on this list (not just because I 
was just starting to use LaTeX). I can't say I encountered much sympathy 
then. I recall mentioning that the reaction reminded me of that of 
mathematicians when I suggest that a lot of the trouble people have with 
mathematics has nothing to do with mathematics per se but on the aspect 
of mathematics we present. (I hasten to say that what I mean has nothing 
to do with so-called "math education".)

I also hasten to add that I got here immense help for questions that 
even I, but with hindsight, see as fairly trivial. But I recall 
wondering why there couldn't be something, call it LaTeX Light, that 
could be learned as fast as, say, MS word and /that/ got me almost flamed.

The way I see it the LaTeX community is a club and one "not for the 
faint of heart". So, if someone is willing to "pay his/her dues", s/he 
will get all the help in the world from the club members. But a club it 
is and a club it wants to remain. (Again, same in mathematics. In 
French, the club is called "les forts en math".)

> This could apply, for example, to packages for making slides (beamer  
> etc.), for conversion to HTML/XML, for bibliography (natbib etc.),  
> for involved document structure (memoir etc.), and so forth. Possibly  
> to the most significant issues discussed in the LaTeX Companion.
> Probably this will remain a dream. But I know that I, for one, as a  
> LaTeX user, hate to find out, when looking for a particular function,  
> that there are several packages out there providing this function, so  
> that it's needed to look at all these packages, evaluate them (with  
> respect to functionality, documentation, compatibility) and finally  
> select one. Generally I don't have the time to do that, and as a  
> consequence I end up writing my own redefinitions in the document's  
> preamble instead of using an additional package, except when the task  
> would require expertise I don't have (as with hyperref, pdfpages, etc.).
> It's a big LaTeX world out there, for sure full of possibilities, but  
> also overwhelming for many. Personally I would prefer less choice,  
> which would also mean less time spent learning and customizing  LaTeX  
> and more time spent using it.

Are the two really incompatible? I mean, when you write a book you have 
to make choices and these are then hard-wired. But I would imagine that 
in a software, there could be switches. In fact, isn't that what 
"Preferences" are for? Couln't there be on/of switches for this or that 
"optimized package"?


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