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

Alain Schremmer Schremmer.Alain at
Fri Oct 13 22:00:57 CEST 2006

Jeffrey Weimer wrote:

> On Oct 13, 2006, at 7:10 AM, 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.
> I was introduced to TeX/LaTeX back in the 80's when GUI/WYSIWG  
> packages were ... non-existent. I work in an environment that demands  
> programming skills - the ability to program is essential, if not to  
> my survival than at least to my advancement. I recognize that, just  
> because a computer tool is "easier to use" does not mean it gives the  
> proper or better output.  In this frame of reference, the above  
> comment is just a shrug of my shoulders - ok, so I need some time to  
> do this the better or proper way, let's go do it.
> By comparison, I suspect many people today who want to type a basic  
> document do not want the anticipation of needing a month to final  
> know how to set document margins to 1/2 inch, let alone the  
> understanding that, to do so requires "learning" a sequence of  
> programming (ie, "non-GUI") steps.
> IMO, this should be the framework of any development of a LaTeX Lite  
> program: What functions do a majority of people who type documents  
> desire in being able to format and layout their document? What set of  
> those desired functions are core to preparing general classes of  
> documents? How are those functions currently implemented in LaTex and  
> its various input engines? How could the implementation of those  
> functions be streamlined/improved from the perspective of the NEXT  
> GENERATION of potential USERS?
> Coordinating and standardizing the myriad of LaTeX packages that do  
> just about the same thing is but one part of this process. Attacking  
> the GUI side of the LaTeX input/document output process is, IMO,  
> another. I would argue, in this age where the typical computer user  
> has never learned or has no real interest in anything beyond GUI/ 
> WYSIWYG programs, the latter part of the development will be the real  
> "make or break" part of any "lite" version of LaTeX. I would go so  
> far as to say, increasing the ratio of (Output Quality) / (Input  
> Effort) will be the biggest challenge to survivability of any  
> existing or yet to be developed software package, where Input Effort  
> is focused on GUI / WYSIWYG / User Intuition factors first and  
> foremost. I would also argue, we have reached a point where, for most  
> users today, the differences between a document generated by LaTeX  
> and one generated by WYSIWYG are .... of no real consequence. The  
> message is pervading even in my field where, for example, I now find  
> that journals will accept RTF/doc files directly for publication and  
> in some cases have no further interest in taking LaTeX files.


Very grateful regards

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