TeX as a word processor (was Linux word processor?)

TeX as a word processor (was Linux word processor?)

Post by Ted Hardi » Fri, 14 Apr 1995 04:00:00

| It's somewhat silly, not completely. In some cases, you just can't do
| the job without TeX. At one firm where I'm doing some consulting work,
| I was approached by the accountant - a Polish lady - about how she can
| obtain the all of the special characters and accents for writing
| letters to family and friends overseas. Microsoft Word doesn't offer a
| satisfactory solution at all, whereas TeX can do everything. Word
| requires that you change the character set (which isn't always big
| enough to hold all the necessary combination), whereas TeX can
| synthesize all kinds of accents and stick them onto any character you
| want. For instance, she requires the cedilla accent (the little
| squiggle that the French use in the word Francais under the 'c') to be
| used with a whole bunch of capital letters, such as E. In TeX, you
| just type "\c E", and there it is.

Sorry to intervene in a possibly unmentionable way, but WordPerfect
allows a lot of scope in this respect (having not only the cedilla
but also the true ogonek or "Polish Hook", and many other diacritics).
There are various ways to combine an accent with a character. You can
either do this by key-strokes for occasional use, or write a macro
(which could be stored as a "Keyboard macro" if you decided, for instance,
to set up a special Polish keybaoard). Plus, you have about a 50 percent
chance to see your composed character on the screen.

If it's a choice between Word and TeX for this kind of thing, I would
choose WordPerfect (if you'll pardon the logic).

However, if it's a choice between WordPerfect and TeX, I'd choose troff
(if you know your way round the ms macros, you can set up anything your
printer can print). You could type Kazimir's example as \(,E for example,
once you had defined ",E" as a character object.

Don't ask me about Word.


1. TeX as a word processor (was Linux word processor?)

   Every month or so a long thread on TeX vs. Word o Wordperfect comes up.
Someone asks for a word processor program under linux which resembles
Word or Wordperfect, and immediately the TeX fanatics jump to respond
suggesting TeX. It's obvious many people HATE TeX and should not have to learn
it. TeX is not for everyone and TeX is far from perfect for everything.
I sometimes use TeX for papers which need equations, but I hate using it,
I think it's syntax stinks, and I prefer Wordperfect any day. The reason
I use TeX on those rare occasions is because in the scientific filed
the TeX format is what's accepted and easily distributed. You TeX fanatics
can rant all you want about how much faster and productive you are using TeX
and how TeX lets you think about what you're writing rather than wasting
your time on figuring out how to format your text, and that may be the
case for some people, but DEFINATELY not for everyone.

   People know about TeX. Some would just rather not use it, and that
is understandable and fine. Stop trying to "plug" TeX as the solution for
everyone and everything. It's completely silly.

Bogdan Urma                      
Cornell University

WWW:   http://www.ruph.cornell.edu/burma/homepage.html      

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