[OS X TeX] rotating vs landscape in two-sided documents

Alain Schremmer Schremmer.Alain at gmail.com
Sun Feb 11 16:47:27 EST 2007

Simon Spiegel wrote:

> On 11.02.2007, at 19:45, Bruno Voisin wrote:
>> Le 11 févr. 07 à 18:38, Chabot Denis a écrit :
>>> Well, thanks to the help of many people here, my report is almost 
>>> complete and I am very happy with the result, although I hope future 
>>> reports will allow me to concentrate on content and not on 
>>> formatting, one advantage of using LaTeX that was not achieved for 
>>> this particular document...
>> That is an advantage I have never seen achieved in practice. LaTeX is 
>> so insistent on imposing a specific formatting, and it may be so 
>> inconvenient to use at times (think for example of having to combine 
>> longtable, multline, array and \multicolumn in order to write a midly 
>> complicated table), that in my experience using LaTeX means spending 
>> more time formatting and less time writing.
>> More specifically, LaTeX is nice when you are using a dedicated 
>> package yielding exactly the desired formatting (for example a 
>> journal-specific class), and/or when you document contains a lot of 
>> maths.
>> But when you want to write a memo or report, say, and the standard 
>> article, report or book classes do not meet your needs exactly, then 
>> you'll spend an awful lot of time interrupting your workflow to deal 
>> with some formatting issues, look for some style to accomplish a 
>> specific task, search a FAQ, post to a mailing list, and so forth. In 
>> those cases I find it more efficient and stress- free to use a 
>> WYSIWYG word processor (Pages in my case). The output will possibly 
>> be less typographically correct, but it will be achieved more easily, 
>> and it will be possible to devote more attention to the matter at 
>> hand without having constantly to interrupt the thinking for dealing 
>> with some formatting issue; it will also be easier to start writing 
>> the document without having a clear idea of its content or 
>> presentation, and then reorganize matter, move things around, add 
>> columns in table, switch columns, and so forth.
>> I know this is probably a controversial issue on an OS X TeX list, 
>> but in my opinion (from 15 years or so of intensive TeX use), however 
>> convenient it may be for maths writing or for using a predefined 
>> style, LaTeX has failed spectacularly in its aim to allow users to 
>> concentrate on writing and free them from formatting. In this respect 
>> plain TeX was more flexible.
> It really depends on what you plan to write. For an occasional letter 
> or a document you only use once, LaTeX certainly is far from ideal. 
> But for a thesis where you spend several years writing the time for 
> formatting is well spend IMO.

I think that you missed Voisin's point: it would depend if the thesis 
had to be written "using a dedicated package yielding exactly the 
desired formatting (for example a journal-specific class)". Given the 
kind of things I do —on which I have "spen[t] several years writing"—I 
never know what formatting I will need half and hour from now.


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