LaTeX, MS Word, asking questions, LyX (was Re: [OS X TeX] 1/2" margins)

Simon Spiegel simon at
Thu Oct 12 23:55:03 CEST 2006

On 12.10.2006, at 23:31, Alain Schremmer wrote:

> Simon Spiegel wrote:
>>> I do not understand what your point is here.
>> My point is that things only get done of someone does them. It's   
>> perfectly ok to discuss these kind of things,
> I am glad.
>> but as long as no one  decides to spend time and energy in it, it  
>> wont happen.
> Given that "It's  perfectly ok to discuss these kind of things," I  
> don't know what you are driving at here. What this reminds me of is  
> "Hey, you don't like it here, then go elsewhere", i.e. an extreme  
> case of the "club mentality".

If you want to read my mail this way, feel glad to do so. All I  
wanted to say is actually a triviality which you'll hear everywhere  
where OpenSource is developped: What gets done is what the respective  
developer considers worth doing, and free floating discussions rarely  
change this.

>>>> What I want to say  is this: IMO the two main obstacles in   
>>>> learning LaTeX (for a Word user ( are probably the fact that it  
>>>> is  markup based and highly  structured,
>>> Not in my opinion. Certainly was not my case.
>> Then we disagree here.
> What are you disagreeing with? That the reason /I/ had a hard time  
> with LaTeX was /not/ because of the fact that LaTeX is "markup  
> based and highly  structured"?

No, we disagree in what is for most people the main obstacle which  
prevents them from using LaTeX.

>> Could things be better? Of course. We could have some kind of  
>> overall  guidance for packages, more coordination between  
>> developers, better  coordinated interactions between different  
>> parts of LaTeX etc. But as  long as LaTeX is mainly developed by  
>> unpaid individuals all over the  globe I don't see how this can  
>> possibly happen.
> I imagine that upon reading Knuth's "TeX and MetaFont" back in 1979  
> and someone's comment that TeX was really hard, you would have said  
> the same thing. But then there was Lamport, etc and eventually, for  
> instance Koch, Laurens, Wierda, Kew and, I am sure a lot of others  
> who made LaTeX more "human" (I think of Knuth as almost  
> superhuman). I don't see why that should be the present state  
> should be the end of the line and why someone suggesting possible  
> lines without doing it her/himself should in any way be even a  
> topic of discussion.

I never said that the current state is the end of the line, nor did I  
say that you aren't entitled to discuss these things. I just happen  
to disagree with you in what makes LaTeX unattractive to many people  
and with the way you compare LaTeX (or LaTeX light) with Word.


Simon Spiegel
Steinhaldenstr. 50
8002 Zürich

Telephon: ++41 44 451 5334
Mobophon: ++41 76 459 60 39

"I have never been certain that the moral of the Icarus myth is, as  
is generally accepted, 'don't fly too high', or whether it might also  
be thought of as: 'forget about the wax and feathers, and do a better  
job on the wings." Stanley Kubrick

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