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Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Mark Steinberger <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 1 Dec 1998 16:37:43 -0500
<13923.46894.353948.654511@srahtz> from "Sebastian Rahtz" at Dec 1, 98 09:30:22 am
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
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Sebastian writes:

> i am by nature suspicious, and cannot offhand think of much that a
> `professional body' has done, unless you refer to the AMS? are they
> a professional body? in this capacity i classify them simply as a
> publisher.

The AMS has done one important thing that seems counter to the
interests of its publishing arm: bringing the postscript type 1 CM and
AMS fonts into the public domain.

They have also done a very nice service in their amslatex
work. Admittedly, this dovetails with their publishing work in that
they encourage submissions in TeX, but it also works to the benefit of
others who publish from author-written TeX source (or indeed, who
publish using an in-house TeX system).

> who makes TeX accessible? `professional bodies'? like h@ll they do.

The AMS has certainly helped, both in the items above, and by helping
to make TeX popular among mathematicians (the political angle Bill

But the most important accessibility feature of TeX is books like
Lamport's. Unless someone writes an analogous book for *ML (whenever a
viable authoring/presentation system actually appears) or gellmu, they
will not be really accessible to the authoring community.

Economic issues are important here. Unless you have the kind of budget
Elsevier has (and charge analogous prices), it is important to use a
system easily compatible with that used by the authors. In mathematics
today, that means TeX. (It's actually reasonably easy to port
author-produced plain or AMS TeX to latex - much easier than
conversions from TeX to *ML and back would appear to be.) Changing
that would require new authoring/presenting tools, new books, and
political influence similar to that used by the AMS to promote TeX.

Mark Steinberger       |
Dept. of Math. & Stat  |
University at Albany   |
Albany, NY 12222       | Editor in Chief, New York Journal of Mathematics
[log in to unmask]    |