[Tuglist] Tug2002: Hangover?

19 Sep 2002 13:37:25 +0530

```>>>>> "HSR" == H S Rai <hsraidce@iitr.ernet.in> writes:

HSR> The data provided by CVR, is presenting this scenario:

HSR> 43 participants were from India while 30 from other countries
HSR> representing 12 countries.

HSR> The China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, could not participate in
HSR> addition to many other countries.

Oops, I made a grave mistake, there was one participant (Hong Feng)
from PR China, but none from Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

HSR> 25 States of India could not take benefit of this event. The
HSR> majority of participants were from South India with exception
HSR> of Delhi, that may be it being the capital of India.

HSR> Only 6.32% of Tug-India members could make use of event, and
HSR> I guess only 2% may be non organizers and rest must be a part
HSR> of organizing committee (CVR, Please correct this figure, if
HSR> my estimate is wrong).

Organizers were mostly from Trivandrum, except Ajay Shah, Amitabh
Trehan (both from Delhi) and NA Prakash (Bangalore). Organizing
Committee had only ten or eleven members.

[...]

HSR> I don't know about how much TeX is relevant to Universities,
HSR> Medical and Engineering colleges, organization and other
HSR> academic institutes, for official and personal use.  Even I
HSR> didn't get any comment on request "about how to convince M\$
HSR> folk" as requeted in one of my previous mails.

* TeX is available in most operating systems.

* Free typesetting system available for an academic, if one opts for
proprietary equivalent the author or the host institution has to
spent thousands of dollars (eg., 3B2, InDesign, etc).

* Best for math and other technical documents. The relative ease of
creating math documents is unparallel compared to other systems
where one has to remember a lot of keystrokes or play with menus.

* Unlike the popular belief, TeX is also more useful for humanities
like creating critical editions where one needs several kinds of
footnotes (cf. edmacs package of Dominik Wujastyk), which no other
systems support. Diacritical marks are a pleasure in TeX.

of figures/tables, multiple indices are automatically done or
generated thereby saving a lot of time and hassle.

* Cross platform and total device independence whereas all other
systems are bound to specific OS or devices.

* Allows the author to concentrate on writing, instead of
formatting. If one uses any of the word processors or similar
systems, one is likely to be carried away by the physical
appearance of the document which might interrupt the train of
thought, while in TeX the author can go on entering his text matter
without any waste of time for formatting which TeX does perfectly.

* The commands in TeX are mostly intutive, a few hours of work in TeX
will make any sane person a happy user than any other system.

* Archival nature of TeX is an important quality which most of the
authors forget. Dominik narrated his own experience during the
press conference prior to TUG 2002. Wellcome Foundation published
one of his books on Ayurveda a few years back. After six years, the
book was republished in India by Motilal Banarsidas. When the
Indian publisher asked for the CRC, Dominik wasted only half an
hour to find the old TeX input files, change the fonts and format
and recompile it to send the CRC to the publisher. The story would
have been different if the original inputs were MS Word or similar
formats.

The TeXBook of Knuth which was written decades ago and the source
codes are publicly available can be compiled even now to get the
TeXBook of the same look and feel.

Researchers and academics who create documents of their research
may note the above incident and let them decide the fate of their
digital copies by choosing unknown and everchanging formats that
has least respect for backward compatibility.

* Since the input is ASCII, the chances of file corruption is very
much limited.

* Portability of TeX input: generates identical output in a wide
variety of computers and operating systems no matter, how and where
the input is created.

* Conversion to another markup scheme is seamless, although this
property is available in other systems as well.

* Since TeX is a language, the author can exploit all the
possibilities offered by the TeX language.

* Most of the user friendliness of word processors (like changing a
chapter heading format and style, reducing the inter item space in
a enumerated list, etc) are available in TeX if they choose the
right class file (eg., memoir.cls).

* TeX enjoys the best support system in the form of several mailing
lists, news groups, user groups, which no other typesetting system
can claim.

* TeX has a public repository namely CTAN which is mirrored world wide
through 30 and odd servers and holds 5 GB TeX packages and related
software, no typesetting system can come nowhere near this
phenomenal contributory work.

* TeX maintains strict standards for its primitives like \special,
directory structure, DVI file structure, etc though TeX Users
Group, whereas other systems always bring forth surprises every now
and then.

HSR> 2) CVR: Please let me know is this type of discussion comes
HSR> in the purview of list.

Sure.

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