[OS X TeX] July 1st: Beginners TeX Hour: Why Software Sucks: Geeks Drive Stick Shift Cars

Jonathan Fine jfine2358 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 30 21:00:10 CEST 2021


Here's a message. Developers are not the same as users. If you're a
developer then people don't want to USE your software. Period. People might
want to HAVE USED your software.

Most people don't want to use a word processor. They want to write a letter
or a report or something else. They don't want to drive a car. They want to
be somewhere else, a friend's house, the shops, the hospital or somewhere

David Platt explains this very well in his 2 minute video! Please watch and
Why Software Sucks: Geeks Drive Stick Shift Cars

Details of tomorrow's TeX Hour. Thursday 1 July, 6.30 to 7.30pm UK time.
The UK time now is at https://time.is/UK. The zoom details are
Meeting ID: 785 5125 5396
Passcode: knuth

More about tomorrow's meeting.

At the end of the previous century, TeX Live could be run from disc. Users
could pop a CD into the PC and start to use the TeX software. I'm hoping
that next year beginners can regain that experience (but perhaps via an
internet download).  And elsewhere I've started technical work that might
make this possible (without relying on Overleaf).

My vision of TeX Live is that it becomes a sort of agora (forum or
marketplace) for TeX software, similar to LaTeX being an agora for TeX
macros. And that it is revised annually, to provide fixed points. So the
same inputs give the same outputs across space and time. Safety and

So at tomorrow's TeX Hour I'd like to discuss what users want their STEM
documents for. What's the human purpose each actual and potential user of
TeX is trying to achieve? (Hint: It's probably not making the developer

Here's an example. Many R-users want to share their calculations with
others, via both HTML and PDF. The R-Markdown suite allows them to do this.
TeX, packaged as TinyTeX, provides a vital component that helps R-users to
HAVE USED this markdown suite.

Here's another example. I'm a mathematician who has discovered an exciting
new property of the Fibonacci numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 etc. Perhaps
I want to submit a paper to the Journal of Integer Sequences.

And another example. I'm a teacher preparing class notes, and one of my
students has a visual disability. My college has staff to provide
accessibility support. I want to HAVE USED the system so that ALL my
students have access to the class notes.

I want more examples of why people might want to HAVE USED our shared
wonderful typesetting system TeX. This will help developers create software
and systems that are more pleasant to use.

The videos from last week's heavy technical TeX Hour on TeX Live (except
for a few to follow tomorrow) are at:

Please enjoy having used TeX

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