[OS X TeX] Re: Macintouch report on TeX versus Word

Luci Ellis luci at verbeia.com
Sat Jan 24 03:40:52 EST 2009

On 24/01/2009, at 10:20 AM, david craig wrote:
> Second, to me one of the principal virtues of TeX is that I expect  
> my tex files to be as comprehensible 100 years from now as they are  
> today. I sincerely doubt that can be said of (*shudder*) Word  
> documents, or even pdf.

Just as a quick response to this, the PDF/A ISO standard is designed  
to ensure that PDF documents will be good for long-term archiving over  
a span of centuries. For example, see http://www.pdfa.org/doku.php.  
I'm with you on Word.

On the broader issue of LaTeX adoption, I agree with some earlier  
correspondents that the nuisance factor in using non-standard fonts is  
a big reason for the limited domain of LaTeX's success. Adding non- 
standard fonts is *hard*. I put a lot of time and effort into the font  
support packages that I have created (http://www.verbeia.com/tex), and  
it certainly wasn't straightforward. Related to this, so many  
organisations have document standards that were designed in MS Word to  
work in MS Word, and are quite hard to replicate in TeX. I've created  
class files to replicate the house styles of two organisations. It's  
tricky, and there is always something new to add when the publications  
staff suddenly discover that they didn't actually tell you everything  
about the standards that isn't written down anywhere but they  
nevertheless impose. No wonder few want to spend the time doing that.


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