[OS X TeX] question regarding spacing after a period

cfrees at imapmail.org cfrees at imapmail.org
Sat Mar 14 01:36:40 CET 2009

On Thu 12th Mar, 2009 at 09:41, Maarten Sneep seems to have written:

> Martin Costabel schreef:
>> The mla environment explicitly sets \frenchspacing. The mla.sty gives
>> this amazing advice:
>> % LaTeX does not allow double spaces after periods like most term and
>> research papers require.
>> % When typing your paper, hit the spacebar twice as normal.  After
>> you are finished with your project,
>> % do a find/replace by changing all double spaces into (space)\(space).
>> It also produces truly horrible output. There should be a law against
>> such style files...
> That is not the only problem with it:
> * It uses an old test to see if it is running on latex (dvi) or pdftex,
> loading graphicx with the wrong option if you produce dvi these days.
> * It uses the times package (I believe this is not called obsolete).
> * Alters the page size (hard-coded).
> * It uses usepackage inside the style file (should be \RequirePackage IIRC).
> * Makes TeX output look like Word.
> Where can we file a petition to put this style file in the obsolete bin?

I have no wish to defend mla.sty in particular, but there *is* a place
for style files designed to produce Word-like output. Namely, if one is
asked to produce output which looks like a Word document but need not
actually be in Word format. It is much easier to produce Word-alike
output from LaTeX source than it is to convert the source to Word
format. Having done both, I know this all too well.

There are, indeed, style files designed to do just this - produce
something which looks as though it was done in Word. They are extremely
useful. The output is horrible, of course, but that is their raison
d'etre and therefore far from being grounds for criticism.

In these cases, criticism is better directed at those demanding such
output than at the kind souls tasked with the thankless job of
designing style files to meet the demands.

philosophy.sty is one such style. Doubtless there are others.

- cfr

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