On October 4, Charlie wrote:

> However, if I read this correctly Beamer is fine, even good.
> However, your problem stated above, seems to be that you have to
> do a lot of searching, reading and learning to get it to do
> more than what is standard and easy?

> Isn't that what you have to do if you want any system or program to
> work the way you want? Isn't that what FOSS is all about?

Yes and no.

Yes, any system requires searching, reading and learning to get it to do more 
than what is standard and easy.

No, not all systems are alike in this regard. It's all about degrees, and in my 
experience, LibreOffice makes learning new things much easier than LyX/LaTeX. 
Generally speaking, every LO function can be found by exploring its extensive 
menus and/or toolbars. Like a multiple choice test, the right answer is 
somewhere on the page, and such exploration is generally how I learn new things 
in LO. I just search the menu structure until I find what I need. But, because 
LaTeX is such an extensive system with so many different ways of doing things, 
it would be next to impossible for LyX to contain a graphical menu option for 
every LaTeX function. To be sure, it is much better than it was ten years ago, 
but there are still many, many functions for which LyX itself provides no 
guidance. Let me give a recent real life example. This example will reveal as 
much about my obsessive tendencies as it does about the two systems.

Unlike our good Dr. E.L., I can't leave my slide designs alone. I am constantly 
changing them to make them better and to give my audiences (college students 
and church congregants) something fresh to look at. One way I do this is by 
highlighting important words with various colors. I like my headings to appear 
in a deep blue color. It's classy and gives enough color without glaring on the 
screen. In HTML, I would code my CSS with "color:Navy;" to get the shade I want.

In LibreOffice, I can obtain this shade by highlighting my text and then 
clicking on the text color icon in my text formatting toolbar. That gives me a 
drop down selection of several color palettes. I select the HTML palette and 
click on "Navy" to get the dark blue that I want. It takes about five seconds 
from start to finish; in fact, it takes much longer to describe in writing than 
to actually do.

I tried to do the same thing in LyX. I selected my text and clicked on the text 
formatting icon on the toolbar. Clicking on "color" gave me a drop down list of 
19 different colors. The only shade of blue available is much too bright for my 
tastes. I obviously needed to gain access to a larger palette of shades of 
blue. Nothing in this area of LyX's graphical interface gave me any clue as to 
how to do that, so to the Internet I went.

After much searching online, I learned about the LaTeX \xcolor package, which 
provides access to many, many more colors. Just what I needed. I also learned 
about the [dvipsnames] option, which allows the user to use common color names 
rather than having to type in cryptic color codes. Following the suggestions I 
found online, I dutifully typed in "\usepackage[dvipsnames]{xcolor}" into my 
preamble. I could then use LaTeX code to color my words with 
\textcolor{Blue}{colored text} (The uppercase "B" produces a deeper shade than 
the standard "blue"). I then hit Ctrl-R to compile my slides and was met with a 
LaTeX error of "Option clash for package xcolor." Say, what!?

I checked my preamble searching for typos. Nope, everything was perfect. So, I 
kept searching the Internet and learned that the xcolor package is apparently 
already included in Beamer (which is a good thing), but without the 
[dvipsnames] option (which is a bad thing.) By including 
"\usepackage[dvipsnames]{xcolor}" in my preamble, I was redundantly calling the 
same package, but with an inconsistent option.

Back to the Internet. After more searching, I learned to *not* put the xcolor 
package in the preamble, but to instead include the "dvipsnames" option in the 
\documentclass declaration. With this, I could finally color my text the deeper 
blue that I wanted. Unlike the case with LibreOffice, it took much more time to 
do than to describe in this email. Fortunately, I am semi-retired and have the 
time to devote to LaTeX education.

So, yes LyX/Beamer worked, but only after I spent many hours learning about an 
xcolor package to get the shade I wanted and troubleshooting errors. As you can 
imagine, I could tell many other stories with similar processes and outcomes.

Now, to be fair to LyX, with LO, I have often spent hours chasing down why 
editing a master slide only affects 2/3s of my slides, requiring me to manually 
reformat the other slides. The difference -- for me at least -- is that, with 
LO, I can usually track down errors and solve problems from within the program 
itself without having to resort to extensive other documentation or online 
StackExchange threads.


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