3.347 LaTex, cont. (38)

Fri, 11 Aug 89 20:59:02 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 347. Friday, 11 Aug 1989.

Date: Fri, 11 Aug 89 10:40:21 PLT
From: "Guy L. Pace" <PACE@WSUVM1>
Subject: TEX, LaTEX and TEXT1

I do quite a bit of consulting on TEXT1 (a system of macros created by some
folks here at WSU for TEX). My wife typesets with LaTEX in the WSU Math
Department. I use the TEXBook regularly to troubleshoot TEXT1 problems.
Why anyone would recommend any version of the above as a "wordprocessor"
is beyond me. TEX is no more than a text markup for typesetting. LaTEX
and TEXT1 are extensions of TEX--macros to simplify the process for specific
purposes. None of them are easy to use.
For some unknown reasons, grad students at WSU have been encouraged to spend
their free time for two or more years wrestling with TEXT1 to produce their
thesis and dissertations. Most have been certifiable by graduation (if they
make it that far).
Some have botched their papers so badly when they finally come to me for help
that it is simpler to download their thesis to a PC, strip out the markup,
and reformat the document in WordPerfect, and print it out on a laser printer.

TEX, TEXT1 and LaTEX are far cries from even the most basic wordprocessor.
The output is great when using a laser printer like the IBM 382x series
printers. However, WordPerfect (or Word, or WordStar) can do just as well
on the HP or Apple lasers as PC-TEX--maybe even better.

Using TEX products reminds me of the old Perfect Writer (CP/M version). You
had to physically imbed the markup in the text. It was unforgiving. It was
hard to use. The output was great. Personally, I like to spend my time
writing, not troubleshooting a blankety-blank markup that doesn't work