[OS X TeX] Re: TeXShop Feature Request

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at gmail.com
Tue Jun 1 15:03:35 CEST 2010

On Jun 1, 2010, at 12:42 AM, Ross Moore wrote:

> On 01/06/2010, at 2:04 PM, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>> As it happens, so far, there are probably very few people in case  
>> b) but getting a minimal, one-click installation would seem to be  
>> a necessary condition for their numbers to increase.
> I'll agree with this ...
>> As such, though, BasicTeX would seem to be quite inappropriate as  
>> "[i]t contains all of the standard tools needed to write TeX  
>> documents", which, in this case, is exactly not the point. For  
>> instance, the end-user would certainly not need "MetaFont, dvips,  
>> ConTeXt, MetaPost, and XeTeX".
>  ... but not this.
> I'd say that XeTeX *is* exactly the flavour that they would want ...
>  ... since they'll want to (over)use all the fancy fonts that are
> on their system, and type some of the strange characters that can
> be obtained relatively easily --- indeed they will copy/paste
> out of documents on the web, and expect to get the same characters
> within their output.
>> So, how about a MinimalTeX?
> This would probably be based on XeTeX rather than pdfTeX.
> TeXworks -- also by Jonathan Kew, and others, is meant to be
> a significant step in such a direction.
> Also, the concept of TeX on the iPad may well lead to such a beast,
> as this will not permit a lot of the Free and Open Source software
> applications that accompany a TeX distribution --- for legal reasons,
> as well as practical limitations.
>  see e.g.,
>    http://www.fsf.org/news/2010-05-app-store-compliance/
>> Fearful regards
>> --schremmer
> What is to be fearful of?

That I would fail make myself clear when I wrote

> Case b) however is entirely different. As pointed out before,    
> these LaTeX-innocent end-users do not want to write in LaTeX, in  
> fact do not want to have anything to do with LaTeX if they can help  
> it. They only want to be able to use something that happens to  
> require a LaTeX installation---and, hopefully, a GUI to preserve  
> the end-user from getting LaTeX dirty.

Everything you wrote concerned my case A and case B, subcase a) which  
were "both predicated on LaTeX being used to *write*."

But this was not what case b) was about and here is an example:

Suppose that, this Fall, you have been assigned to teach this Math  
100 course but that you don't like the available commercial  
textbooks. After roaming a bit on the web, you finally arrive on  
freemathtexts.org. decide that one of the two textbooks available  
there under a GNU Free Documentation License is probably worth a try  
but you will be damned if you are going to invest all the time and  
energy that would be necessary to write all the necessary  
ancillaries, quizzes, homework and exams, not to mention that you  
will have to write them in MS Word, not to mention that next semester  
you would have to write some more exams etc.

But then you notice this incredible bundle of pdfs that includes all  
the ancillaries you would want, that you could have them with open  
response or with a discussion of the questions you could hand out  
after the students had a go at it and with multiple choices complete  
with answer key, etc The problem is of course: so can the students.  
So you need the live, randomizable thing.

Now let us assume---just for an instant---that you are not the expert  
at LaTeX that you are so that, upon realizing that in order to use  
the live thing requires a LaTeX installation, your reaction is in  
fact: "A what installation?"

The more than likely outcome at this point is that you will get the  
closest commercial bundle and, if that's the way things are, the hell  
with the students: you got better things to do.

Best regards

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