Query from Nature about TexLive for Linux

Zdenek Wagner zdenek.wagner at gmail.com
Tue May 14 00:12:45 CEST 2019

I generally agree with Nelson and want to add just a little bit.

You can find a lot of advices which editor is the best for each SW
tool. Of course, the shortcuts, toolbars, menus differ from editor to
editor. If you do other things, not just TeX, you will soon end up
with one editor for TeX, one for perl, one for python, one for C, one
for octave, one for bash, one for PHP, one for XML, ... And you will
soon be unable to work at all. It is necessary to make a compromise,
to find an editor suitable for all tasks a user needs although it is
not necessarilly the best for any of them. Emacs is very powerfull but
can be difficult for a novice. Personally I use vim and kate and do
not use any GUI tool.

The cons is that it is not WYSIWYG. The source is typed as a text with
macros and if you do not get a template file (e.g from journal
editors), the first steps can be difficult and painful. However, I
managed to teach the basics within half an hour so that a user was
able to start writing an article for a journal published by Elsevier.
I managed to tech several users that quickly.

The pros i that it is not WYSIWYG which improves users' imagination. A
user has to think what can fix to a line, to a paragraph, to a page
which leads to better typography. On the other hand, a user can
concentrate to the contents and just type the text without being
distracted by its appearance. The appearance is tuned later after the
contents is finished. TeX is multiplatform and is made in such a way
that the same source leads to the same result across platforms. The
source files are plain texts so that they can easily be stored in a
versioning system such as git or subversion, several authors can thus
collaborate and each of them can use a different OS. It is most
probably the best typesetting engine for math. Of course, images can
also be inserted. It also supports typesetting of multilingual texts.
Better examples can most probably be found elsewhere but a small
example of a book written in Czech with names written in Hindi and
some of them also in Urdu can be found here:


Zdeněk Wagner

po 13. 5. 2019 v 20:16 odesílatel Nelson H. F. Beebe
<beebe at math.utah.edu> napsal:
> David Matthews asks on Mon, 13 May 2019 18:47:33 +0200 about
> editor/compiler support for TeX Live on Linux systems.
> The answer is that there are lots of choices for editor, because
> human-prepared (La)TeX input files are just plain text, so almost any
> editor will do.  Word processors will not, because they want to save
> text with additional internal markup.
> In the Linux world, some people are devotees of the vi family
> (including vim and vile), and others prefer the emacs family
> (including qe, jove, jed, xjed, zile, ....).  I'm firmly in the emacs
> camp, because I exploit its programmability extensively to provide a
> rich development environment.
> Novices should just use whatever editor they already know.
> As for the compilation question, that really doesn't apply, because
> the 450+ executables in a TeX Live bin directory are already built
> from source code for that platform, so TeX `just works', and works the
> same on all platforms, for a given input file (sometimes, modulo
> slight changes in typesetting due to different versions of TeX
> packages at different sites).
> Also, the question is not just for TeX Live, because most Linux
> distributions include multiple packages for TeXware.  Thus, on many of
> my diverse systems, I have installed the vendor-supplied packages for
> TeX, plus multiple years of TeX Live releases, plus our local
> historical TeX implementation.  Many Linux distributions base their
> TeXware offerings on a TeX Live release, but not all do.
> On some platforms, novices like to use a development environment that
> provides for editing, typesetting, and viewing of documents, all from
> the same interface.  Both the Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS
> distributions of TeX Live provide such facilities.
> I personally don't subscribe to that model, because it limits what one
> can do, requires a GUI, and doesn't leverage the power of the make
> utility for doing the right document preparation steps in the right
> order, without unnecessary extra work. The worst limitation of the
> GUIs is their editing capability, which is, for emacs users, far too
> primitive, and idiosyncratic.  Emacs implementations can be found for
> all major desktop platforms, and they work the same on all of them
> from the user's viewpoint: my long-trained fingers then do the right
> thing everywhere, no matter what the O/S is.
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> - Nelson H. F. Beebe                    Tel: +1 801 581 5254                  -
> - University of Utah                    FAX: +1 801 581 4148                  -
> - Department of Mathematics, 110 LCB    Internet e-mail: beebe at math.utah.edu  -
> - 155 S 1400 E RM 233                       beebe at acm.org  beebe at computer.org -
> - Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0090, USA    URL: http://www.math.utah.edu/~beebe/ -
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