[OS X TeX] Macintouch report on TeX versus Word

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at gmail.com
Thu Jan 22 16:03:15 EST 2009

On Jan 22, 2009, at 1:03 PM, Alex Ross wrote:

> On Jan 22, 2009, at 6:11 AM, David B. Thompson, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE,  
> CFM wrote:

>> The fact is that this doesn't matter much to me, personally. I can  
>> carry my own water (mostly) with the tools at hand and should be  
>> able to finish out my career regardless of whether new tools  
>> evolve to hide the underlying mark-up required to use LaTeX. But  
>> you also have a valid point--if LaTeX (and TeX) are to survive  
>> this old dinosaur, then more development is required for one or  
>> more meta-tools that hide the details behind a (semi-) WYSIWYG  
>> shell. I haven't used LyX in forever, so I have no idea how it's  
>> faring these days. But something like it is required for the word- 
>> processing crowd. Otherwise, I think LaTeX runs the risk of fading  
>> away as those of us happy with text editors and command shells die  
>> off.
> For what it's worth, there are those of us who've only learned  
> LaTeX recently and yet do not trust WYSIWYG editors to produce  
> reliable results.  There is a whole new generation learning to edit  
> plain text and pilot the command line as we speak…

The question which seemed occasionally to surface and which I was  
trying to address is NOT the relevance of LaTeX to the members of the  
club. Obviously, we all love and/or use LaTeX. The LaTeX club is also  
an open door club. In fact, the club makes every efforts to help  
others who have joined the club. There is nothing wrong with LaTeX  
inasmuch as it is what the club uses and loves. And I too have made  
my peace with LaTeX. So what?

The question I was trying to address was an entirely different one:  
it concerned the extent to which a LaTeX type software could one day  
replace MS Word in its role as the writing tool for the world outside  
the club.

My point is that if we can't even discuss what it is that currently  
prevents LaTeX from being the writing tool for the world outside the  
club—and we don't seem to be able to, then there isn't much of a  
chance that such a tool will ever see the light of the day.

But then, maybe it is in the very nature of any club not to worry  
about the outside world.


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