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

Adam M. Goldstein adam.goldstein at
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, 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 (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 support forums 
were very helpful---again, very un-club like.

-Adam G.
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