LaTeX, MS Word, asking questions, LyX (was Re: [OS X TeX] 1/2" margins)

Alain Schremmer Schremmer.Alain at
Thu Oct 12 13:41:19 EDT 2006

William Adams wrote:

>On Oct 12, 2006, at 12:54 PM, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>>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 thing is, LaTeX and MS Word are fundamentally different, the one  
>is a markup / typesetting system, the other a word processor.
I said "could be learned as fast" and implied nothing more. But you are 
right, by using Word, I asked for it. I should have used something else. 
But I don't think that the difficulties I had with LaTeX had anything to 
do with the fact that it is a markup system.

>LyX is a much more apt comparison / replacement, and one which I  
>think compares very favourably --- actually, I really believe it's  
>the most innovative opensource desktop application yet.
I agree. But as I just explained I didn't have any qualitative 
comparison in mind. By the way, I did try LyX for a short while but gave 
it up for TeXShop - i-installer as soon as I found it. So, again, 
whatever difficulties I had weren't due to the markup system. Also, I 
have always wondered why TeXShop doesn't incorporate more stuff like the 
LaTeX panel and doesn't incorporate it better. And, no, this not an 
appeal to Koch to donate an even larger chunk of his life to LaTeX.

>>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".)
>Well, the Lord helps those who help themselves. 
True, but if you look at the U.S. society (with an open mind) you will 
see where that can lead.

>Why should people be any different? 
Because they are no gods and, as a result, have to help one another. (A 
bit more about this below.)

>This is a public forum and it behooves those asking  
>for help to be considerate of the time and efforts of others, doing  
>all that they can up-front to be prepared and follow the rules and  
>expectations of the community, working w/in the established framework.
That is absolutely true and you may have noticed that yesterday I 
apologized for not having done so.

It is just as true that what I called the "club mentality" has nothing 
to do with that. I certainly do not suggest that the people on this list 
should feel obligated to respond to questions like some that I have 
asked and, I admit it, still do ask. (But I am immensely grateful that 
the members of the club have /always/ done so.) What I am suggesting is 
entirely different: it is that the members of the club should not refuse 
to admit that the fact that the club exists and works beyond one's 
wildest expectations doesn't imply that all is well in the LaTeX world.

To reiterate and to be clear, though, I am not suggesting that any one 
in particular should work on any problem and/or question. No one has the 
right to demand or even ask for more work from any individual as was 
recently demanded of Wierda and several others. That is each 
individual's decision. (In the mathematical case I alluded to, /I/ made 
the decision that this was going to be my (last) endeavour and no one else.)

Best regards
------------------------- Info --------------------------
Mac-TeX Website:
          & FAQ:
List Archive:

More information about the MacOSX-TeX mailing list