[OS X TeX] Macintouch report on TeX versus Word

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at gmail.com
Mon Jan 19 12:55:26 EST 2009

On Jan 19, 2009, at 11:54 AM, Michael Sharpe wrote:

> There was a reader report on Macintouch last Saturday:
> http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports/iwork09/index.html#d17jan2009
> Briefly, it was claimed that 95% at NASA produced tech reports  
> using Word/MathType, and that many of the less than 5% written in  
> TeX could not be processed in a timely way because of macro  
> problems. I would guess that the real problem was that NASA was not  
> providing proper guidelines for TeX use, and most likely lacked  
> TeXpertize in their Technical Publications office.

The question, though, is how much "guidelining" NASA needed to  
provide to those who used Word.MathType. My guess is, a lot less, if  
any. So, why indeed should they bother with "TeXpertize in their  
Technical Publications office"?

In other words, there is something very wrong in the LaTeX world as  
it is. Yes, it does superior typesetting and that is the thing for  
those of us who can recognize and love beautiful typesetting. But  
most of "the rest of us", myself included, do not have the eye to  
distinguish, say, Times from CM or Latin or whatever looks like it;  
we just need something non-obstructive to write with. (And yes, one  
of the two reasons I jettisoned MSWord was that it was obstructive—if  
in a very different way. The other was that it was proprietary.)

Indeed, the macro problem does point at a real issue. TeXLive seems  
to have seriously diminished the installation problem and  
TeXLIveUtility the maintenance problem. But there remains the "LaTeX  
is not for the faint of heart" issue.

There is a real need for the kind of rethinking of LaTeX that I think  
Voisin was advocating.

Else, it soon won't be 95% but 99.99% and going.

How is LyX doing?


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