[OS X TeX] wyswyg-TeX for Linux?

Jens Noeckel noeckel at uoregon.edu
Sun Jan 20 22:16:16 EST 2008

On Jan 20, 2008, at 2:54 PM, Chris Menzel wrote:

> On Sun, 20 Jan 2008, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>> On Jan 20, 2008, at 12:47 AM, brian at pongonova.net wrote:
>>> On Sat, Jan 19, 2008 at 11:29:36PM -0500, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>>>> For some reasons, I am under the impression that the code produced
>>>> by Lyx is not quite the same as that put out by open packages such
>>>> as those to be found, say, on CTAN. More to the point, I am under
>>>> the impression that the code produced by Lyx has to be
>>>> edited/typeset with Lyx. In which case it wouldn't comply with the
>>>> terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
>>> Not true.  LyX produces documents that can be read by other LaTeX
>>> processors.  I started my dissertation in LyX, and discovered there
>>> were some things I needed to do that LyX made somewhat difficult, so
>>> I migrated to MacTeX/vim/LaTeX-Suite and used the source document
>>> produced by LyX with no problems.  LyX can use whatever LaTeX
>>> processor you happen to have installed.
> I'm assuming you first exported your document to LaTeX format.  LyX
> itself uses its own document format -- I would assume because, unlike
> LaTeX code, it is designed to work directly and efficiently with  
> the LyX
> UI.  When you want to print or preview your document, the LyX code is
> compiled into LaTeX which is then handed to your TeX engine for
> processing.  The LyX document format is ASCII-based (you can edit it
> directly if you know what you're doing) and, of course, completely
> non-proprietary.  The LaTeX code that LyX exports from its own  
> format is
> very nice (unlike, say, the deeply hideous "HTML" that Wurd  
> generates).
> Hence, it is very easy to begin a document in LyX and at any point
> switch to Emacs or Vim for whatever reason.
>> Back when I was a student (in LaTeX so it was only some three years
>> ago) I had tried LyX but hadn't liked it. Can't remember why though.
> The difference between LyX 1.4.x and 1.5.x is quite dramatic.  The  
> most
> important improvement for me was the ability to have multiple windows
> into the same buffer, which had been a showstopper for using LyX to
> write serious papers.
>> I am not about to change from TeXShop et al -- I am not about to
>> change, period -- but I will now try LyX again to see whether it can
>> be put into the hands of my fragile students -- we are not talking
>> thesis students here -- but they wouldn't have anything difficult to
>> do. The nice thing is that it's also on Windows which is what the
>> students all have.
> I have converted a number of students to LyX over the past few years.
> All of them had been Wurd users and found the switch quite painless  
> and
> the experience of dumping Microsoft quite satisfying. :-)
> Chris Menzel

I can only concur with the recommendation to use LyX. Only some caveats:

- LyX isn't WYSIWYG. They use the somewhat euphemistic acronym  
WYSIWYM (what you see is what you mean), but if you tell someone LyX  
is WYSIWYG you're bound to raise false expectations. In some ways  
TeXShop is more WYSWYG because you can actually see a faithful  
preview of your typeset document, whereas LyX should be used with a  
different mindset - viz., you try not to think about the appearance  
of the final document and focus on the content instead. What LyX does  
very well, though, is to simplify the input process to the utmost  
degree, thus eliminating almost any chance for producing TeX errors.  
Of course, the full power of LaTeX is still accessible too, but it's  
pushed out of the way in the GUI.

- Since I started using LyX in 2001 (mainly because of its math  
editor which was just as good back then as it is now), the software  
has at times changed in ways that broke backward-compatibility (not  
that documents stopped working, but in particular the handling of  
graphics, and LaTeX export have changed significantly). It's not as  
bad as what I've heard about the incompatible changes between Word  
versions, but it's a bit of a roller coaster ride when you go with a  
product that is under active development.

- As a LyX user you'll feel much more comfortable if you also  
understand LaTeX. I think it's a law of nature that one can't expect  
an application built on top of LaTeX to always work transparently and  
without causing trouble once in a while. If that happens to a non- 
LaTeX user, LyX turns into the equivalent of an iPhone without a  
mobile service provider.


without knowing anything about LaTeX, you'll sooner or later run into  
trouble because the

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