sebastian writes (of chris rowley)
> anyway, you are (and you know it!) deliberately misrepresenting my
> basic view point....
i don't think he was, too much. you suggested it was improper for
researchers to pay attention to the niceties of typesetting, and he
provided good reasons that he would need to (even if he didn't have
this latex hat he wears).
my head of department sighs, from time to time, that typesetting is a
genie it's now effectively impossible to stuff back into its bottle.
he (effectively a mathematician, but practising as a theoretical
computer scientist) would far rather be able to hand the typesetting
of his handwritten manuscripts to some `expert', in the way he used
to. but no, his publishers tell him to do it the latex way...
the reason i have got away with as much latex-ery as i have, over the
years, is that it's been useful to have a repository of last resort of
answers to people's questions around here. i regularly get asked for
help by people all over the department, occasionally by people in
other parts of the university. sometimes, latex is unavoidable; and
latex isn't so well documented that everyone can trivially do every
sensible thing they might want.
i don't believe there's a real solution to this problem, in the short
term. whether a meta-language (`designers' interface') will help
isn't clear to me. whether the xml bandwaggon, or whatever is
tomorrow's buzz-word takes out latex altogether, i can't possibly
guess (though the evidence of the sgml takeover doesn't inspire me to
assume that xml will do all that much better).
but even if xml _does_ take over, there are going to be people wanting
advice on how to use xml tools to produce an acceptable visual
result. these things _won't_ be well-enough documented (at least, the
versions the researchers can afford), any more than latex is now.