[OS X TeX] Imposing Latex on authors of articles

James Owen jhgowen at mac.com
Tue Feb 26 12:41:16 EST 2008

> Mental energy of users of mathematics should be used on mathematics  
> itself, not on nitty-gritty rules, commands, and error messages.

This is an argument _for_ LaTeX, is it not?  The amount of stress and  
frustration expended on bludgeoning Microsoft Word into doing what you  
want, rather what it imagines you want, is far better expended on  
getting the words right. Furthermore, with Pages, with the  
Applescripts for doing bibliographies that James Harrison has written,  
and with a huge BibDesk archive, I can nearly do my own stuff all in a  
WYSIWIG processor, but mainly I'll stick with TeXShop for  
compatibility with other people. LaTeX files are portable, which is a  
must when collaborating with other authors.  The files are plain text,  
which is transportable across OS, across word processing programs, and  
across the years.

Two examples:
1:  I recently wrote a grant proposal with my boss, who was using MW  
for Windows, while I was using MW and Pages on the Mac. Every time we  
roundtripped the document, the styles and formatting would get screwed  
up. Especially, due to small variation in fonts between Windows and  
Mac, the pagination and the positioning of figures would get screwed  
up. Dread to think what would happen if we got my Linux-using  
colleague with OpenOffice involved.  Actually, using Pages caused less  
distress than using Mac Word.
2: A year or two ago, I had to convert my dissertation, which was in  
ClarisWorks 3 format, into Appleworks, and then into Pages, so that I  
could still read it. With LaTeX, I would just have rerun the LaTeX  
engine, and got a new copy.


James Owen
jhgowen at mac.com

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