[OS X TeX] Macintouch report on TeX versus Word

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at gmail.com
Wed Jan 21 20:30:04 EST 2009

On Jan 21, 2009, at 8:04 PM, Alex Hamann wrote:

> On 22.01.2009, at 00:52, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>> On Jan 21, 2009, at 7:05 PM, Themis Matsoukas wrote:
>>> Let me recap this thread:
>>> We love latex, so much so that when we touch Word (rarely, mind  
>>> you) we feel the guilt of betraying someone beautiful. So, what  
>>> if NASA does not share this obsession?
>>> Oh my goodness -  did I just use "latex" and "obsession" in the  
>>> same email?
>> I don't think you can ever be forgiven for saying "beautiful"  
>> rather than "absolutely and totally perfect".
>> Regards
>> --schremmer
> Well, I just had to write a paper in OpenOffice instead of LaTeX  
> because at my department here they think that you can only make  
> electronic comments in .doc files.  I reassure you that after  
> having manually formatted my bibliography (just a small one, about  
> 30 items) and about 50 footnotes I did not feel like I had betrayed  
> anyone. I just felt frustrated and regretted that I had to deal  
> with an unpleasant task of manually formatting where LaTeX/BibTeX  
> and their front-ends would have made life a lot easier. So excuse  
> my stubbornness but it is not all about justifying a rare interest  
> for the sake of beauty.

Certainly not—and I, for one, am not into "beautiful typesetting".  
But, what I am reacting to is the fact that, de facto, we deny that  
LaTeX is anything less than "absolutely and totally perfect". Oh  
yeah, there are a few bugs here and there but, hey, that's the way it  

I don't see the point of your example as I don't see that anybody has  
said anything to the contrary. Speaking only for myself, LaTeX has  
structural weaknesses that condemn it to be a tool/toy for a very  
small minority and, as such will never be, in that form, a widespread  
tool. And I sure don't see that as ordained. But before anyone, or  
rather, any organized body, can come up with a version of LaTeX  
likely to be used by "the rest of us", those between the experts and  
"the rest of us" might toss ideas around.

When, a few years ago, I deplored that LaTeX was so difficult to  
install and to learn for people like me, I was told that "LaTeX is  
not for the faint of heart." and the discussion was closed.

So now it seems that the installation issue has been pretty much  
taken care of. But what about the rest?


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