History (was Re: texwork (was Re: [OS X TeX] synctex))

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at gmail.com
Thu Jul 31 11:29:01 EDT 2008

On Jul 31, 2008, at 9:56 AM, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> During this search, I was delighted to find a paper by Stephen Moye  
> <http://www.tug.org/TUGboat/Articles/tb28-2/tb89moye.pdf> recalling  
> practically the very same itinerary as I had myself with TeX:  
> discovering TeX though Textures; a few years later realizing with  
> awe, through OzTeX, that TeX was a much more complicated beast  
> outside of Textures, especially as it came to fonts; fleeing back  
> after some time to the comfort of Textures; with OS X, gradually  
> migrating to TeXShop; getting that feel-good impression again a bit  
> later, when XeTeX and fontspec made fonts manageable at last.

My own itinerary was a bit different.

Back in the early eighties, a friend and I had a "small press" that  
put out mathematical textbooks typed on a ball typewriter with a big  
collection of typits, edited with whiteout, cut with real scissors  
and pasted with real rubber cement. After once looking wistfully at a  
Xerox star system, we had bought a Lisa with which we were doing  
stuff like our accounting but the real problem was printing. We  
almost bought some kind of dot matrix printer that used multiple  
passes to deliver "letter quality' and bold face etc.

Then, in 1985 we bought a Mac 512 and an ImageWriter which was a  
dotmatrix printer. (The Wikipedia article on the Mac places the  
LaserWriter in 1985 but I think it means the ImageWriter.) This was  
nirvana. Now the problem was just mathematical typesetting. My friend  
wrote some soft, in which a page was divided in a number of little  
vertical rectangles, one for each letter/symbol and I designed the  
"font" for it. It was crude but we put out a lot of stuff with it and  
we even sold a few copies of the soft.

Then I remember talking at some meeting (circa 1988?) with some AMS  
person about TeX/LaTeX—I didn't quite grasp the difference. She  
mentioned Lamport's book—but I bought Knuth's TeX and Metafont which  
I still have—and then I wandered to the Addison-Wesley stand to look  
at their rather high-priced software. One way or the other, though,  
we were awed into sticking with what we had.

And then the era of the small presses, with all the hopes that the  
possibility of desktop publishing had brought about, waned and things  
got back to normal with big business hegemony.

Now of course, there is web publishing but, somehow, this is not at  
all the same. But there is TeXShop.


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