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

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at
Fri Oct 13 09:28:20 CEST 2006

Le 13 oct. 06 à 08:43, Simon Spiegel a écrit :

> It's probably true that I got sidetracked by your Word comparison,  
> but then I must confess I don't understand what this LaTeX light is  
> supposed to do.

To Alain: sorry for having let you defend my opinion on your own, I  
was a bit busy.

What I meant is that I consider a waste of time and developers'  
energy, for example, to have two (and possibly more) packages memoir  
and koma-script for complex document structure, several packages in  
addition to beamer for slides preparation, and so forth.

The LaTeX 2e team made an excellent job, for example, of replacing  
the several pre-existing packages for EPS figure inclusion (epsf.tex,  
psfig, boxedeps, epsfig, possibly others I'm forgetting) by the LaTeX  
graphics package, characterized by:

- Being an integral part of LaTeX, in the "latex/required" CTAN  

- A minimal set of commands, and a short and to-the-point  
documentation written using the docstrip package.

- Full compatibility with core LaTeX, as defined by the content of  
the "latex/base" directory.

My dream is that all the additional packages --- probably most of  
which described in the LaTeX Companion 2nd edn --- considered to be  
part of the standard experience of a nowaday's LaTeX user are applied  
the same process.

For example, if geometry is considered the standard modern way of  
defining page layout in LaTeX --- as opposed to redefining \textwidth  
etc. as I have done until now ---, then:

- Its commands should be reduced --- if necessary --- to a minimal  
functional set.

- Their working and naming --- if necessary --- should be put in line  
with those in core LaTeX.

- All incompatibilities --- if any --- should be resolved.

- The documentation --- if necessary --- should be reduced so as to  
contain all the information necessary for operating the package but  
nothing more.

- Finally the package should be moved to latex/required.

hyperref, for example, is not part of latex/required yet, but it  
seems the unique de-facto standard for HTML and PDF production in  
LaTeX, and one can consider the above process has already been  
applied to it.

Similarly for complex document structure: pick one and only one of  
memoir, koma-script and all the possible other packages that offer  
this functionality. Which one: I don't care, provided the above  
process is applied to it. I prefer to work around the limitations, if  
any, of a package included in standard LaTeX and fully coordinated  
with all the other components of this standard LaTeX, rather than  
have to shop around for an additional package to be chosen among  
several possibilities and not as coordinated with the standard.

Again it's a matter of time spent to accomplish a particular task:  
without this step of looking for an additional package, you are able  
to spend more time using LaTeX, and less time learning and  
configuring it.

Bruno Voisin------------------------- Info --------------------------
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