LaTeX, MS Word, asking questions, LyX (was Re: [OS X TeX] 1/2" margins)
Adam M. Goldstein
adam.goldstein at jhu.edu
Thu Oct 12 22:32:42 EDT 2006
Alain Schremmer wrote:
> Herbert Schulz wrote:
>> Just curious... Can you give an example of any support forum/list
>> that isn't a ``club''?
> Yes but, aside from this one, I am only on two lists which, having to
> do with so-called "math education" certainly do not have the "club
> mentality" as, at my great frustration, they are only about
> inconsequential bits of triviality like "Would you believe one of my
> students made that stupid mistake" - "Ho, Ho, Ho" - "Well my students
> did that even more stupid mistake" - "Ho, Ho, Ho" etc ad nauseam.
In my days of using Linuxquestions.org, I found it very un-club-like, in
the sense that if I had some strange bit of hardware I was trying to get
working, and I posted its name and the rest of the relevant info, I
would often get, in under 24 hours sometimes, a matter-fact answer,
perhaps with some links to a web site with kernel modules, or
instructions about how to compile the kernel, in extraordinary detail.
There were parts of the forum in which people like to complain about
Microsoft or proprietary software vendors, but you could always steer
clear of those, and anyhow, I suppose a little bit of that is to be
Also, I find the BibDesk user's forum to be un-club-like, in the sense
that developers respond rapidly to informal feature requests and bug,
and also that it sometimes becomes an enlightening discussion of
bibliographic references generally, and how people search for and
communicate about the references they find.
Then there is the protege mailing list---it just seems like people would
post desperate questions about how to do this or that, with no one ever
answering. (Protege, the ontology building program.)
>> I'm not sure ``all'' can ever be ``well'' in the LaTeX world; most
>> folks have no perceived need for good typesetting or are either not
>> willing or able to devote the time necessary to achieve the quality
>> of TeX's typesetting. For most folks, it seems, WYSIAYG (What You
>> See Is All You Get) is just plain good enough. Not much appreciation
>> for the printed word out there any more---at least in the US.
> There is clearly a great love of "good typesetting" on this list and I
> still have Knuth's Tex and Metafont. But this is not the only reason
> one might have for using LaTeX (That's my case). And when one is
> forced, one way or the other, to use LaTeX, one tends to agree with
> Voisin's "less time spent learning and customizing LaTeX and more
> time spent using it".
I find that I often have a problem that I have to solve, for instance,
getting a long table or something, and at the time, I am annoyed that I
have to go download a bunch of packages, etc., etc., usually up against
some deadline, but then in the process I learn something that I use
again soon, and even maybe some concept or layout trick that carries
over into some other markup language, like XHTML.
There was some discussion of the idea of structured text editing in
another message in this thread, and I would like to make a remark about
that here. I could never get the MS Word styles to work right, and then
I switched to Openoffice.org (using Linux; see above), and it worked
beautifully. I found that program to be reliable and intuitive, after
years of struggling with Word. Also, the Openoffice.org support forums
were very helpful---again, very un-club like.
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