*HCS* Re: hcs-discuss digest, Vol 1 #122 - 6 msgs

William Josephson wkj at acm.org
Fri Jan 18 12:35:58 EST 2002

On Fri, Jan 18, 2002 at 12:22:35PM -0500, Greg Westin wrote:
> I get the digest version, so I'm a little behind on this discussion, but 
> why do you use TeX for papers, anyways?  It seems like it doesn't matter 

I don't anymore.  I use the One True Troff (J. Ossanna's, not GNU's
groff, which is broken in a couple of minor but ocasionally very
annoying ways).

> much how papers are formatted, so you might as well just do them in a 
> word processor.  I do my physics sets and stuff in LaTeX, so that I can 

I dislike wordprocessors in general.  Ancient versions of WordPerfect
and MS Word are OK, but current ones produce unacceptable output and
are extremely aggravating to use.  One has a lot more control over the
output with TeX and troff.  That aside, I find TeX and troff have much
more predictable and consistently good output.  Also, I can use
existing tools for editing and revision control (yes, I do use RCS for
papers; having a version history is occasionally very useful).

> but it seems like such a pain to do things like blockquotes in TeX 
> rather than just dragging an indent tab in Word to get it aligned 
> exactly where you want.  ::shrug:: I also like the real-time display of 

Quite the opposite:
in TeX or something like:
in Troff.

> what it's going to look like, rather than having to process the page 
> whenever you want to see it.  But I guess I'd like to get as far away 
> from Microsoft as I can, so maybe I should put a little more effort into 
> learning LaTeX.

There are commercial programs based on LaTeX that provided a GUI
interface.  A fellow I worked with a BTL last summer had very good
things to say about it (I've forgotten the name of the program,
unfortunately).  Especially for core papers as opposed to mathematics,
I see no particular advantage to the GUI myself.  As for type-setting
mathematics: text markup is a viable alternative while abortions such
as MS equation editor are not.


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