[OS X TeX] Plain TeX and OS X [slightly OT]

Dr. John Vokey vokey at uleth.ca
Mon Jul 29 19:16:37 CEST 2002

On Sunday, July 28, 2002, at 06:00  PM, Bruno from TeX on Mac OS 
X Mailing List wrote:

> Subject: Re: [OS X TeX] Plain TeX  and OS X [slightly OT]
> From: "Bruno Voisin" <Bruno.Voisin at hmg.inpg.fr>
> Date: Sun, 28 Jul 2002 19:17:37 +0200
> Le samedi 27 juillet 2002, à 08:58 , Siep a écrit :
>> Don't forget the role of LaTeX as a file format for structured
>> documents.
>> This is what makes it an option for scientific publishers. But if you
>> want
>> to use it for precise layout it is a PITA.
> Yes, I agree, my reason for switching initially from plain TeX to LaTeX
> was the preparation of a paper for a journal which had an 
> in-house LaTeX
> style. Since then, as a co-organizer of a conference and later in my
> scientific activity I had to manipulate LaTeX styles (now classes)
> myself.
> That being said:
> - More and more of my colleagues are switching to MS Word and I must be
> one of the very last in my lab still faithful to TeX/LaTeX. I was told
> some journals are now proposing in-house Word styles (or templates, or
> however it's called) as alternatives to LaTeX styles, so maybe the
> necessity to use LaTeX for submitting papers electronically is also
> gradually vanishing.

I'm sad to hear that.  First, because M$ Word is possibly the 
*worst* word processor ever promulgated on the computing public 
(but, then, as with its companion OS, that has never prevented 
the market from adopting such as a "standard").  Second, it is 
proprietary and expensive.  Third, my experience has been the 
opposite: more and more of my colleagues (and certainly my 
students) are finally adopting TeX/LaTeX (after years of pushing 
on my part), especially those using OS X once they experience 
the ease and elegance of TeXShop coupled with apa class, 
apacite, and BiBTeX for producing papers in APA format.  I think 
a key feature in what has changed is that electronic submission 
has increased (not decreased), but not to raw, coded text files 
(or dvi), but to typeset files in postscript or pdf.  That is a 
shame (because of all the extra effort at the journal necessary 
to re-typeset each paper in the journal's format), but not a 
factor that will or should reduce the continuing presence and 
development of TeX/LaTeX, as the same is true even if a Word 
template or style sheet (or whatever they are called) is used.  
And, as we all know, for producing camera-ready copy of books, 
nothing beats TeX/LaTeX

> - I was told (but never verified, as I don't have it) that Adobe
> InDesign achieves about the same typesetting performances as TeX/LaTeX,
> and even that it uses the TeX engine (or some part of it, maybe for
> hyphenation) internally. So again, this would make, if it's actually
> true, TeX/LaTeX less indispensable (but still infinitely less 
> expensive).
> - With the rapid development of XML/HTML/MathML, Unicode, and PDF, I
> feel right now a bit pessimistic about the future of TeX/LaTeX if it
> doesn't adapt fast enough to these new formats.

But it has: LaTeX--> just about any finished format is available 
now, although some of the convertors lag a little in terms of 
allowing all of the features of the latest versions of those 
> Bruno Voisin
John R. Vokey, Ph.D.                       |\      _,,,---,,_
Professor                                  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience  |,4-  ) )-,_. ,\ (  `'-'
University of Lethbridge                  '---''(_/--'  `-'\_)

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