Marcel Oliver writes:
 > My basic claim is that base LaTeX is too narrowly defined, and therefore
 > causes a lot of the document exchange problems which seem to occur
 > frequently not only between author and publisher, but also between
 > different authors
yup, i'd agree

 >   Solution: Move the best-of-breed third-party packages into the
 >   LaTeX core distribution.  For mathematical publishing the choice
well, AMSLaTeX *is* core, isnt it? i think the big thing that should
move to "packages" is natbib...

 > - The biggest mess of all is the front matter.  I remember this has
 >   been discussed before on this list.  Did anything ever result from
 >   that discussion?
presumably not, or we would have heard about it. i agree 100% its
needed. solving this would be a major step forward. Chris and Frank,
now step forward and say "yes, but it all _depends_, where is the
precise specification of the problem etc etc etc".....

if you ask me, its a case for a _de facto_ standard, if someone
strong-minded steps forward

 >   comes to solving concrete problems, but don't offer much guidance for
 >   how to write documents that are intended for submission to publishers,
 >   or require easy exchange in loosely organized (academic)
 > collaborations.

perhaps some of us believe that writing such a book would encourage a
process we believe is retrograde :-}