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

Alain Schremmer Schremmer.Alain at
Thu Oct 12 17:31:13 EDT 2006

Simon Spiegel wrote:

> On 12.10.2006, at 22:05, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>> Simon Spiegel wrote:
>>> On 12.10.2006, at 21:12, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>>>> So then, again, why not a "LaTeX light"—and I mean a markup one  as 
>>>> there is no obvious incompatibility?
>>> Being a WYSIYG guy at heart who only turned to LaTeX because  Adobe  
>>> stopped the development of Framemaker, I say: Go for it. Go  and  
>>> create "LaTeX light",
>> As I mentioned earlied, I chose another endeavour and given that I  
>> am turning 70 in a couple of weeks, there is not much of a chance  
>> that I will create it.
>>> I'm sure no one will oppose it.
>> I do not understand what your point is here.
> My point is that things only get done of someone does them. It's  
> perfectly ok to discuss these kind of things,

I am glad.

> but as long as no one  decides to spend time and energy in it, it wont 
> happen. 

Given that "It's  perfectly ok to discuss these kind of things," I don't 
know what you are driving at here. What this reminds me of is "Hey, you 
don't like it here, then go elsewhere", i.e. an extreme case of the 
"club mentality".

> It's that  simple.


>>> What I want to say  is this: IMO the two main obstacles in  learning 
>>> LaTeX (for a Word user ( are probably the fact that it is  markup 
>>> based and highly  structured,
>> Not in my opinion. Certainly was not my case.
> Then we disagree here.

What are you disagreeing with? That the reason /I/ had a hard time with 
LaTeX was /not/ because of the fact that LaTeX is "markup based and 
highly  structured"?

>>> but both are, at the same they are its big strengths, get  rid of  
>>> them and you lose what makes LaTeX interesting.
>> I cannot remember suggesting to "get rid of" markup or stucture.
> So what is you want to get rid of?

I don't recall saying that I wanted to get rid of anything. One more 
time, I was just agreeing with what Voisin had written.

>>> No one needs a  markup based TextEdit.
>> And I certainly never suggested "a markup based TextEdit"
>> I was just thinking that Voisin's suggestions were somewhat in line  
>> with my dream of a "LaTeX light". Could be it is a pipe dream but I  
>> don't think that you have established that and the current state of  
>> LaTeX is certainly not the best one in the best of all possible  
>> worlds—as others, infinitely more competent than myself—have written.
>> Which goes to show that what I wrote in response to Voisin—I sang  
>> that song when I first started on this list. I can't say I  
>> encountered much sympathy then.—still obtains.
> Could things be better? Of course. We could have some kind of overall  
> guidance for packages, more coordination between developers, better  
> coordinated interactions between different parts of LaTeX etc. But as  
> long as LaTeX is mainly developed by unpaid individuals all over the  
> globe I don't see how this can possibly happen.

I imagine that upon reading Knuth's "TeX and MetaFont" back in 1979 and 
someone's comment that TeX was really hard, you would have said the same 
thing. But then there was Lamport, etc and eventually, for instance 
Koch, Laurens, Wierda, Kew and, I am sure a lot of others who made LaTeX 
more "human" (I think of Knuth as almost superhuman). I don't see why 
that should be the present state should be the end of the line and why 
someone suggesting possible lines without doing it her/himself should in 
any way be even a topic of discussion.

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