[OS X TeX] R, paradigm to bring into the LaTeX world?

Jeffrey Weimer weimerj at email.uah.edu
Mon Oct 23 13:10:10 EDT 2006

On Oct 23, 2006, at 9:21 AM, Claus Gerhardt wrote:

> I didn't know that \atop is a command of amsmath, but googling  
> reveiled it immediately, though I assume that you knew it from the  
> start. Hitting then  the icon of the amsmath pdf documentation  
> which is stored handily in the side bar of my Finder windows, I got  
> the description in another five seconds; total search time 10 seconds.
> This example reveils that your request is neither reasonable nor  
> necessary.

I would argue, while the requested change is perhaps not necessary  
for SOME users, the request itself is certainly not unreasonable for  
the benefit it would provide for ALL users.

Your example shows that three separate tools were required to find,  
document, and install a LaTeX package.

1) You had to go to google to search for the package.
2) You used the amsmath icon in YOUR Finder window to get the package  
3) You installed the package to use for your TeX compiler  
(TexShop ...) using whatever installer.

By comparison, as I understand the discussion about R, these three  
three steps are done within the SAME tool - the R program itself.

I am one who's major frustration in using LaTeX is that learning how  
to find, understand, and install/update packages to do things is a  
significant rate limiting step in my productivity cycle. I attribute  
this barrier not to any lack of the needed computer skills, rather to  
the disorganized or overwhelming manner in which TeX/LaTeX packages  
are stored, documented, and obtained.

Therefore, IMO, suggesting that TeX/LaTeX would benefit by a similar  
integration of the steps (FIND PACKAGE, GET DESCRIPTION, INSTALL/ 
UPDATE PACKAGE) as under R is more than just reasonable, it is rather  

J. J. Weimer, Chemistry / Chemical & Materials Engineering
University of Alabama in Huntsville, MSB 125, 301 Sparkman Dr
Huntsville, AL 35899                phone: 256-824-6954

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