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

Paul Smyth psmythirl at
Fri Oct 13 20:39:40 CEST 2006

Unfortunately, we don't all have a month to spend just figuring out  
how to do something as basic as set the margins on a document. TeX is  
great, I love it and use it daily, but it is frustrating and time  
consuming having to go hunting for information every time you need to  
do something new. Surely improving that situation would benefit  

Paul Smyth

On 13 Oct 2006, at 13:10, Claus Gerhardt wrote:

> I have to defend latex (tex). The basics of  latex are not hard to  
> learn: after two weeks of reading George Grätzer's "Math into  
> Latex" and some typing, one should be able to write (=type) a  
> paper. That stage I would describe as using latex light.
> After a month one should be able to  set the margins to 1/2in by  
> looking in the Latex Companion, look up margin in the index.
> Over time one will mature, and someone like me is going to use  
> latex standard, which offers brilliant typesetting with ease. If in  
> the future I should want to accomplish something that my current  
> knowledge of latex doesn't allow me to do, I am pretty sure that a  
> look in the Latex Companion, Googling, reading manuals, trial and  
> error, or, as a last resort, asking this list will give me the  
> necessary answers.
> If people, especially math students, have unsurmountable  
> difficulties with latex, then they probably have more severe  
> problems which are unrelated to latex.
> Claus
> On 13.10.2006, at 13:44, Themis Matsoukas wrote:
>> Yes, "just" a more organized world. You could say that this  
>> organization is merely a convenience, as most of us have been  
>> surviving without it, given that all necessary pieces are  
>> available. But if a user has to spend a day talking to lists to  
>> find out how to change the margins to 1/2 in, one must also admit  
>> that some organization might in fact be useful.
>> The limiting factor, of course, is that the latex project is a  
>> volunteer effort and one cannot demand more from those who make it  
>> happen: its free, has excellent support, and works beautifully.  
>> Still, echoing Bruno's dream, I wonder how long will latex survive  
>> in the future (say, in 25-50 years from now) without some  
>> softening of its edges. After all,  the new generation of college  
>> students has hardly any exposure to programing, which is a  
>> prerequisite for understanding why latex does things the way it does.
>> Themis
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