Query from Nature about TexLive for Linux

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Tue May 14 02:05:03 CEST 2019

On Mon, 13 May 2019 at 14:18, David Matthews <david.jack.matthews at gmail.com>

> Dear Tex Live,
> I'm a Berlin-based journalist currently writing a *Nature* article about
> LaTeX. We're looking at the pros and cons of using it and how to get
> started.
> A quick question. When users download Tex Live for a Linux OS, what editor
> and compiler does it come with? Can users use this to write and compile a
> .tex file out of the box?
> MekTex comes with TeXworks, MacTex with TeXShop, but I couldn't find firm
> evidence what editor the Linux version of TexLive comes with.
> If you could get back to me by Friday that would be most appreciated.
> Yours,
> David Matthews
> --
> *David Matthews*
> *Reporter, Times Higher Education & freelance writer*
> *@DavidMJourno <https://twitter.com/DavidMJourno>*
> *+49 152 1857 6191*

I see you already have some good answers, but wanted to emphasize that
LaTeX was designed to separate decisions controlling appearance separate
from the content of a document.  Appearance is controlled by the document
class.   Many publishers provide
latex classes adapted to the style of their journals.   Users who are
familiar with WSIWYG document preparation systems often end up fighting
with the basic classes (article, book, or report) to mimic a particular
style because they don't realize that the publisher provides a LaTeX class
that uses widely available fonts to authors while internally they may use a
different version of the class or translate LaTeX to some proprietary
formatting engine.

People creating their first LaTeX document are often unsure that their
markup is correct, so look for an editing environment that is closer to
WSIWYG.  Many editors offer mild forms of assistance such as verifying that
opening brackets have a closing bracket and highlighting markup commands
"\xxx" are not standard LaTeX.  Many starting users will find it better to
look for LaTeX support from their favourite text editor.

LaTeX is part of a large document processing ecosystem.  For documents with
minimal mathematics content, there are simpler widely used markup language
such as "markdown" and robust translators such as "pandoc" that can
translate markdown to
LaTeX and other formats such as html or PDF (often following translation to
LaTeX).  Users new to LaTeX may be able to recycle
large portions of existing documents.

Those getting started with LaTeX should seek the assistance of a co-worker
or colleague who uses LaTeX.  The internet has a wealth of advice for LaTeX
users, much of it is helpful, but some that is outdated, and some that is
just wrong.

George N. White III
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