On Sat, Oct 4, 2014 at 9:06 PM, Dale E Sterner <sunbeam...@juno.com> wrote:
> Just heard about LaTeX here and being curious, just want to understand -
> learn more about it. I use DOS Wordperfect 6.2 for most everything, just 
> wonder
> if LaTeX can do more. Looks like its a script language like HTML that has
> to be compiled to a PS file then converted to pdf by ghost.

and on Sat, 4 Oct 2014 21:57:26 -0400 dmccunney
<dennis.mccun...@gmail.com> wrote:

> LaTeX is a document preparation system and document markup language.
> See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaTeX and http://latex-project.org/
> It's based on TeX, a typesetting system designed by Professor Donald
> E. Knuth, author of the classic The Art of Computer Programming.
> It's useful for things like scientific papers where you must embed
> equations in the document.

I do translation and/or editing of scientific papers, and often
receive the manuscripts in LaTeX.

Its distinguishing feature is the high quality and refinement of
its typesetting. My understanding is that MS-Word has not yet
reached that level, even after all those decades. (I mention
MS-Word because it is the only alternative to LaTeX widely
accepted by scientific journals).

I'm currently writing a technical book, and chose to do it in
LaTeX. The result looks great.

However, LaTeX is complex, and there is no other way of learning
it except by studying systematically, and even then, it requires
experience. It's like learning a programming language.

Same thing happens with LilyPond, a music notation editor also
based on TeX: the final quality is (so I am told) better than
any of the commonly used editors such as Sibelius, Encore, etc,
but it is much more difficult and less intuitive to use. But I
actually enjoy stuff like that! I used LilyPond a few times for
one-page violin scores, and the result is really great.

> It's worth learning about, but DOS is the wrong place to do it.
> The tools basically don't exist there.  If you want to learn
> about/use LaTeX, you really need to be running Windows or Linux.

Maybe you're better off running Windows or Linux, I'll concede
that, but you can do it in DOS too. I do it all the time. My
distribution is EmTex, by Eberhard Mattes, and it runs very well.

I have not been able to convert the source (TEX) files to PDF in
DOS, but it's easy to convert them to DVI files, and view them
with the included viewer program -- assuming of course that the
video card of your computer is sharp enough.

EmTex does have a few limitations, some of them having to do
with the DOS 8.3 naming convention, but it is sometimes possible
to work around that too.

EmTex will happily accept the templates supplied (and required)
by most scientific journals that automatically cause the general
features of the printed page to conform to the standards of the
specific journal: fonts, margins, spaces, etc. You just add a
single line in the beginning of the file, similar to an
"include" line in programming languages, and that's it.



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