TUG 2003 election: Candidates' statements

These statements were received for the TUG 2003 election, and will be printed in the first regular issue of TUGboat volume 23 (for 2002). (Exceptions: Gerree Pecht and Jim Hefferon were appointed after the election; their terms run until 2005.)

Barbara Beeton

(Candidate for TUG board of directors.)


The TeX Users Group has changed over the years, with its transition from an appointed to an elected Board. Those charged with shaping its future direction have tried to do so in a way that encourages participation by all members, not just a few. Similarly, the typographic landscape has changed as well, and though the object that is our focus -- TeX -- is still a tool of undeniable utility, it is just part of a growing pool of text processing software, some of it borrowing from the features that first attracted us to TeX.

I maintain my commitment to Don Knuth's original goals for this tool: high typographic quality and portability. Within this framework, my goal is to continue working for unconstrained communication among TeX users, to encourage exploration of techniques consistent with the typographic excellence we have come to expect, and to act as a historian of the TeX community when that is appropriate.

I expect to retire from the AMS in about four years, so this will probably be my final candidacy for the TUG Board.

Karl Berry

(Candidate for TUG president.)

TeX biography: First contact in 1982. Subsequently, many installations at many organizations (not to mention many readings of the TeXbook and Metafontbook). Co-author of TeX for the Impatient, one of the first comprehensive non-Knuthian books on TeX.

I was the maintainer of the Unix port of TeX (i.e., Web2c) for several years in the 1990's. Along with Web2c, I developed kpathsea, a freely redistributable library for path searching and variants of three DVI drivers that use it; Eplain, a macro package that extends plain TeX; modes.mf, a collection of Metafont modes and adaptations; a list of short fontnames for portable use within TeX across platforms; and assorted minor projects. I am also the maintainer and primary developer for GNU Texinfo, a TeX-based documentation format.

Besides such programming projects, I've also produced the usual books, articles, collections, and ephemera, studied typeface design, and co-written several articles on reading research and mathematical analysis of type.

For TUG, I serve on the technical council and various committees, co-sponsored the creation of the TeX Development Fund this year (2002), and act as one of the system administrators for the tug.org server. I was a TUG board member for two terms before deciding to run for president this year.

Statement of intent: I believe TUG can best serve the TeX community by working as an organization in partnership with the other user groups worldwide, and sponsoring worthwhile technical projects that will increase interest in TeX in the larger computing world.

Kaja Christiansen

(Candidate for TUG board of directors.)

I live in the city of Århus, Denmark and work at the University of Aarhus. My job at the Department of Computer Science involves system administration and software support, including the responsibility for all aspects of TeX & friends: local styles, in-house classes, (very) frequent user support and maintainance. The department has about 550 students, 80 employees, a large number of active research groups and close ties to the BRICS Research Centre.

I heard about TeX for the first time in fall of 1979. In Palo Alto at the time, I wanted to audit courses at Stanford; my top priority was lectures by Prof. Donald Knuth but that, I was told, was not possible as Prof. Knuth was on leave due to work on a text processing project ... This project was TeX! Back home, it didn't take long till we had a runnable system and thus introduced an early version of TeX in Denmark.

Statement: I have served as the chair of TUG's Technical Council since 1997 and co-sponsored the creation of TeX Development Fund. I share system administrator's responsibilities for the TUG server (which access to the Internet is currently facilitated by my Department). In my rôle as a member of the board, my special interests have been projects of immediate value to the TeX community: TeX Live, TUGboat and TUG's web site.
Since September 2002, I have served as the president of the Danish TeX Users Group (DK-TUG).

Susan Demeritt

(Candidate for TUG board of directors.)

My name is Susan DeMeritt, I live in Lakeside, CA (just outside San Diego).

I am employed by the Center for Communications Research, La Jolla, in San Diego, California for almost 14 years doing technical typing in the Publications Department. I started the position learning TeX and working up to LaTeX2e. I enjoy using LaTeX2e to typeset mathematical and scientific papers.

I have been a member of the TeX Users Group since 1989. I have been a member of the Board of Directors since March of 1998, and Secretary since the 2001. I really enjoy being part of the Board of Directors of the TeX Users Group and I hope my participation has been helpful.

I have successfully taught (along with Cheryl Ponchin) two LaTeX classes, one at Duke University and one at the University of Delaware. We will be teaching another class at the University of Hawaii at Hilo in July.

Jim Hefferon

I got a PhD in Mathematics in 1986 and soon after I got interested in writing an undergraduate textbook in Linear Algebra, (which I have made available on the web with the LateX source). I spent many hours fussing with the symbols and was unable to make it look right. I figured that I needed a program that knows how to make the stuff as readable as possible, and obviously that led me to TeX.

In the course of using the system I became incredibly impressed by the community. I wanted to help out so when Robin complained one day about the lack of USA CTAN mirrors, I offered to set one up. I eventually took over the main American node of CTAN, one of the core servers. I'm enjoying that work a great deal.

Stephanie Hogue

(Candidate for TUG board of directors.)

Biography: Stephanie Hogue has been a member of TUG since 1991. She has over twenty years' experience in typesetting mathematical documents. During her fifteen years with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, she typeset research and class materials and provided TeX and LaTeX support for the faculty of the Finance Department. After leaving the Wharton School, Stephanie freelanced for five years as ``The TypeWright,'' offering TeX and LaTeX typesetting services.

In 2001, she accepted a position with AlphaSimplex Group, a quantitative asset management company located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In her current position as Data Archivist, she is responsible for supporting the use of LaTeX by the research group at AlphaSimplex.

Stephanie served on the Conference Committee for TeX NE (held in New York in Spring 1998) and as the Co-Chair of the Program Committee for TUG 1999 (Vancouver) and TUG 2001 (Delaware). She joined the Board of Directors in 1999 and is presently on the Program Committee for TUG 2003 (Hawaii).

Statement: One of the major accomplishments of the outgoing President and Board was the IRS reclassification of TUG as a non-profit organization. TUG faces a number of challenges, and the non-profit status should give a welcome boost to our fund-raising efforts.

Some of the areas on which I would like to focus are:

Ross Moore

(Candidate for TUG board of directors.)

Gerree Pecht

(New member of TUG board of directors.)

My name is Gerree P. Pecht. I'm a Technical Research Publications Specialist in the Mathematics department at Princeton University.

I joined Princeton University in 1975 as a Technical Research Secretary I. Eventually graduating to the highest title (at the time) Technical Research Secretary IV. I was introduced to my first computer by Professor Jeff Ullman (now at Stanford); I type(set) his book (with Al Aho of Bell Labs) around 1978. ... the process was called Phototypesetting ...

I taught myself the necessary macro packages (ms macros - designed by a scientist at Bell Labs - nroff - troff) necessary for document preparation ... the file was transferred to a role of film on Kodak printer ... the printer processed it the old-fashioned way ... developing took place in a dark room ... pages were hung to dry and then Xeroxed ...

... the start of camera-ready-copies?

I was introduced to LaTeX by Professor Sedgewick (he was Chair of the CS department and was typesetting his own book in LaTeX at the time) while working in the Computer Science department in the mid-1980's.

I started using LaTeX right from the beginning ... (I wasn't aware that there was such a thing as ``plain TeX ... ) I'm self-taught (LaTeX (L. Lamport), A Guide to LaTeX2e (K. Daly), LaTeX Graphics Companion (Goossens, Rahtz, Mittelbach), Math into LaTeX (Gratzer), TeX for the Impatient (Abrahams) ... In my constant search for latest developments in the TeX world, I came across a book by George Gratzer called Math into TeX - a Simple Introduction to AMSLaTeX ....I'm known for BUNDLING many packages including all of the above ... as each package contain some unique conventions, commands, declarations, etc., each useful when producing a customized book, manuscript, slides, graphics, etc.

I very frequently design (special/highly technical) macros to accommodate the project at hand in the preparation of all aspects of lectures, transparancies (using SliTeX program-highlighting certain formulas and words in color). And combining graphics with many formulas is commonplace in my position as a Technical Research Publications Specialist in the department.

I willingly and unconditionally ``share'' my many customized templates with faculty/staff/students throughtout the University(s) and am eager to help one-on-one. I don't know how I became the ``in-house'' technical typesetter for the faculty ... typesetting many complicated Math books, but I'm proud to be referred to as the LaTeX ``guru'' and the department's resource for graduate students (who are required to typeset their Ph.D. thesis in some form of TeX).

I just completed typesetting two highly technical Mathematics texts for Professor Elias M. Stein. The books were done in LaTeX (graphics, tables, figures, everything!!) and even if I have to say so myself ... they turned out absolutely elegant!!!

Up until the summer of 2001, I worked on a UNIX platform. Since then, the system was changed to Linux platform.

Not so long ago ... someone mentioned to me that ``LaTeX'' (TeX-formatting) ... ``is dead.'' .... So why then are Universities and the technical/scientific (including government) agencies using it? Seems to me it's alive and well ... all-around ... I'm a great promoter for the TUG organization.

I have met quite a few wonderful TeXies through attending TUG conferences and via telephone/email .... I look forward to this ``new'' relationship with TUG.

My credo: LaTeX it! LaTeX it! AMSLaTeX it! AMSTeX it! TeX it!!! Use SliTeX packages as well as the Graphics packages .... as the Princeton Tiger would say .... it's Grrreat!!

Cheryl Ponchin

(Candidate for TUG board of directors.)

My name is Cheryl Ponchin, I live in Princeton, New Jersey.

I am employed by the Center for Communications Research in Princeton. I have been a technical typist for almost 20 years. I started with TeX and I am now using LaTeX 2e as well as many of the different packages available. I enjoy using this software to typeset mathematical and scientific papers.

I have been a member of the TeX Users Group since 1989. I have been a member of the TUG Board of Directors since March of 1998. I really enjoy being part of the TUG Group.

I have taught (with Sue DeMerritt) two LaTeX classes for TUG (the University of Delaware and Duke University) We will also be teaching another class at the University of Hawaii at Hilo in July. I am also teaching classes at Princeton University. I have also reviewed "A Guide to LaTeX 2e", which was very interesting and rewarding for me.

Samuel E. Rhoads

(Candidate for TUG board of directors.)

I hold a bachelors, a masters and a doctor of arts degree in mathematics. I took a job teaching math at the University of Guam in 1973 and came to Hawai`i from Guam in 1981. I've been teaching math and computer science since the early '60s. I am now a professor in the Information and Computer Science department at Honolulu Community College in Honolulu, Hawai`i.

My interest in TeX began in the '80s. In the late '80s I decided that I wanted to write a textbook for the beginning computer science class - I thought I could write a better book than the books that were available - and I decided to try to do it in TeX so I could retain control of how the book appeared. I later came to understand that I didn't know enough about publishing to really design my own book, but it was fun to be able to do it anyway. I prepared a short paper describing the experience and presented that paper at TUG 91 ("Authors new to TeX publish a textbook with a publisher new to TeX.", TUGboat 12(3), pages 387-393).

Wm. C. Brown Publishers published the book in 1990. A textbook for the second course in computer science was also completed and published in 1992. I also wrote and published (in TeX) a book of Star Charts for the night sky as seen from Hawai`i. That book is published by the Bishop Museum Press, and is now in its third edition.

I use TeX (actually LaTeX) in much of what I do. In particular, whenever I do something mathematical and want the output to look "right," I use TeX. I always use TeX to prepare exams for the math classes that I teach, but I use a word processor for routine correspondence and other printed material - like this biography - when it's too much trouble to use TeX. If I were able to, I'd design a word processor that made TeX easier to use. If I could use it as easily as I use MS Word, I would use TeX for everything I print.

  Philip Taylor

(Candidate for TUG board of directors.)

Philip Taylor has been a TeX devotee ever since a visit (many years ago) to British Petroleum where he saw equipment identical to that which he was using (a Digital VAX, with Digital LN03 printer) producing output infinitely better than anything he could manage. Having found that BP were accomplishing this using TeX, he immediately took a copy on magnetic tape, and has never looked back.

Although he now spends more time on electronic publishing than on typesetting per se, he is still a staunch advocate of TeX, and is a member of the TUG Board, Chairman of the TUG Bursary Committee, a past Chairman of the UK TeX Users' Group, Programme Committee Chairman for EuroTeX '99, and Technical Director of the NTS project. He sees his rôle within the Board as representing the interests of "the ordinary member", and tries to ensure that Board decisions afford equal opportunities and rights to all members.