[XeTeX] XeTeX in lshort
st_philipp at yahoo.de
Sat Oct 2 21:31:45 CEST 2010
Am 30.09.2010 um 00:42 schrieb Alan Munn:
> On Sep 29, 2010, at 5:59 PM, Peter Dyballa wrote:
>> Am 29.09.2010 um 23:40 schrieb Philipp Stephani:
>>> reality is approximately as follows: Users who read beginner documents such as lshort don't want to use TeX, but are forced to do so by their advisor. They don't want to read discussions about the pros and cons of various text editors or why Microsoft is evil. Beginners usually know how to visit web sites and how to create simple documents in Microsoft Word (perhaps in three years from now they might not know about the latter, simply because they don't need it). Not a bit more. They don't know what a text file or a text editor is, they have never heard the word "Unicode", and they have never used a programming language before. What they need are step-by-step instructions that tell them, in simple words, how to create TeX documents.
>> This *might* have been the situation in the so-called first or industrialised world 20 years ago.
> No, in fact this is very accurate (except maybe the part about being forced by advisors).
Uh, I've never tried to be accurate, my sample size is quite low...
> How often do you actually interact with undergraduate (or even graduate students) Pete? My experience is that they're really good at updating their Facebook status, but things deteriorate quickly from there, exactly as Philipp describes. And I deal with a broad range of students at a major US research university.
Because they just don't have to know much more. You don't have to be a programmer if you want to use a computer.
In our (physics) curriculum, programming skills are not required (de jure they're required, but de facto they're optional), and very few students will pick up programming in their spare time. When they start writing their master's thesis (at least in the applied theory areas), they have to learn some general-purpose language (mostly C++) and LaTeX within a few weeks, and once they've finished, they don't need these skills any more. So I think an introductory text about a text-based typesetting system should start from the very beginning (what is text, what are text files, what is Unicode, what is a text editor, etc.), but then proceed in a quick pace because readers usually have little time.
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