# [OS X TeX] Macintouch report on TeX versus Word

George Gratzer gratzer at me.com
Thu Jan 22 21:02:26 EST 2009

Thank you for your kind words. It is very rewarding to find somebody
who appreciates the immense amount of work that went into More Math.
There are now about 40,000 people who are using the book, which is
very rewarding for me.

I would like to point out that without the help of a number of people
from the group here, it would have been much more difficult.

Are you keen on expanding the club? Did you try to use my video
lectures? They are available free of charge at
info/Math_into_LaTeX-4/gratzer
GG

On 22-Jan-09, at 6:04 PM, David Derbes wrote:

>
> On Jan 22, 2009, at 5:23 PM, George Gratzer wrote:
>
>> David,
>>
>> Why are you so keen to expand the club? TeX was written by Knuth
>> for his own use to write some books. He, and others, expanded it to
>> other mathematicians. If for some reason non mathematicians want to
>> use it, more power to them. But, really, why would anybody use
>> Word, if the error messages were in C?
>>
>> The interface you are looking for is available commercially:
>> Scientific Word, I reviewed it for the Notices of the AMS in 1994,
>> I believe. But you have to pay a stiff price.
>>
>> A brand new version (for both Windows and Mac) will be out this
>> year in the summer. I will review it in January 2010 in the Notices.
>>
>> GG
>>
>
> Hi, George.
>
> I would like to expand the club because I think this tool is
> marvelous. Why wouldn't I want to introduce many more to it?
>
> Not merely does it produce beautiful output, it does so efficiently.
> As I wrote earlier, God only knows what hours and dollars have been
> lost to the vagaries of MS Word. People's time shouldn't be wasted
> fooling around with lousy tools.
>
> Thank you for writing my favorite book on LaTeX!
>
> David Derbes
> U of Chicago Laboratory Schools
>
>>
>> On 22-Jan-09, at 4:28 PM, David Derbes 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.
>>>>
>>>> Regards
>>>> --schremmer----------- Please Consult the Following Before
>>>> Posting -----------
>>>
>>> In fact I am extremely keen to expand the club. I show my students
>>> how to use LaTeX, my handouts are all in LaTeX (and the kids can
>>> have the source if they like), I try to convince my colleagues
>>> (especially in math), and I offer any help they ask for.
>>>
>>> I think two things prevent a wider use of LaTeX. First, the
>>> commands are scary looking at first. Then, it actually takes a
>>> while to type things out; it's understandable that people would
>>> rather grab from a palette the square root sign than type
>>> \sqrt{ }. Seven keystrokes versus a mouse click. I'm willing to
>>> spend the time to type the commands and to learn at least some of
>>> the intricacies (though heaven knows there's an awful lot I know
>>> nothing about, and may never learn), but clearly not everyone is.
>>> [I understand that there are front ends and utilities -- e.g., TeX
>>> FoG -- that reduce the typing to a mouse click.]
>>>
>>> LaTeX was written by people of a mathematical mindset for the use
>>> of that same group. Not everyone belongs to this group.
>>>
>>> On the other hand, the talented team at Apple have been able to
>>> tame Unix, far more arcane in my experience, to the average
>>> person's ability to use it. Maybe in the not too distant future
>>> Apple or the Ubuntu guys or whoever will similarly tame LaTeX, so
>>> that its user interface is as friendly as Word or WordPerfect or
>>> Pages, but its beating heart and engine will still be good ol'
>>> industrial strength LaTeX.
>>>
>>> For the record, I doubt I would have tackled LaTeX without Dick
>>> Koch's (and others') TeXShop.
>>>
>>> David Derbes
>>> U of Chicago Lab Schools
>>>
>>>
>>>> TeX FAQ: http://www.tex.ac.uk/faq
>>>> List Reminders and Etiquette: http://email.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/
>>>> List Archive: http://tug.org/pipermail/macostex-archives/
>>>> TeX on Mac OS X Website: http://mactex-wiki.tug.org/
>>>> List Info: http://email.esm.psu.edu/mailman/listinfo/macosx-tex
>>>>
>>>
>>> ----------- Please Consult the Following Before Posting -----------
>>> TeX FAQ: http://www.tex.ac.uk/faq
>>> List Reminders and Etiquette: http://email.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/
>>> List Archive: http://tug.org/pipermail/macostex-archives/
>>> TeX on Mac OS X Website: http://mactex-wiki.tug.org/
>>> List Info: http://email.esm.psu.edu/mailman/listinfo/macosx-tex
>>>
>>
>> ----------- Please Consult the Following Before Posting -----------
>> TeX FAQ: http://www.tex.ac.uk/faq
>> List Reminders and Etiquette: http://email.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/
>> List Archive: http://tug.org/pipermail/macostex-archives/
>> TeX on Mac OS X Website: http://mactex-wiki.tug.org/
>> List Info: http://email.esm.psu.edu/mailman/listinfo/macosx-tex
>>
>
> ----------- Please Consult the Following Before Posting -----------
> TeX FAQ: http://www.tex.ac.uk/faq
> List Reminders and Etiquette: http://email.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/
> List Archive: http://tug.org/pipermail/macostex-archives/
> TeX on Mac OS X Website: http://mactex-wiki.tug.org/
> List Info: http://email.esm.psu.edu/mailman/listinfo/macosx-tex
>

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