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David Kastrup <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 8 Jul 2003 13:39:44 +0200
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Timothy Murphy <[log in to unmask]> writes:

> I agree completely.
> The whole basis for the proposal --
> that students find LaTeX syntax difficult --
> is entirely misconceived.
> A student who can prove the Implicit Function Theorem
> is unlikely to be baffled by the (not very difficult) rule
> about spaces after \commands.

If we restrict LaTeX users to those able to prove the implicit
Function Theorem, we are in trouble.

> In so far as students have objections to LaTeX
> it is on the grounds that it is not WYSIWYG,
> and therefore appears old-fashioned.
> (I'm not saying that I agree with that argument;
> just that it is what a certain percentage of students feel, and say.)
> Incidentally, not only is this proposal misconceived,
> but in my opinion so are most of the proposals for modifying TeX
> put forward by our masters --

They are not your masters.  You can choose to ignore their work and
carry on as you did before.  If you don't, don't blame others.

>  most of these proposals are intended to answer problems which never
> actually arise in real life, but are products of the fevered
> imaginations of people whose time would be better spent studying
> Sanskrit.
> Knuth was right 99.9% of the time.

Timothy, Knuth's goal was to make it able to typeset The Art of
Computer Programming for a man of his skills, and he succeeded

But that is not the aim of the LaTeX team.  Your view is the narrow
view of a mathematician, and you seem to be happy with the notion that
TeX should remain just some tool useful for mathematicians.  While you
are entitled to this view, there are few publishers that would publish
exclusively mathematic texts, and it is inefficient for them if their
personnel has to learn a different tool for every discipline.
Restricting the usefulness of TeX/LaTeX to just mathematicians will
that way kill the publishers' willingness to offer mathematicians
TeX/LaTeX as an option.

Making TeX/LaTeX more accessible is certainly a worthwhile goal.  But
I don't see how Martin's proposal would help worth noting in that
respect, while completely breaking all compatibility, necessitating
completely new authoring tools and not actually increasing legibility
to a worthwhile degree.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum