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On Thu, Nov 26, 1998 at 08:29:44AM +0000, Sebastian Rahtz wrote:

>  > I just looked at a random selection of 15 new books
>  > on the way to our research library,
>  > and as far as I could see they were all written in TeX/LaTeX.

> perhaps you'd care to tell us how you can tell, unless they explicitly
> say so, out of interest?

I did say "as far as I could see", ie I was guessing.
However, I think there is a fairly obvious feel to TeX maths,
perhaps due to spacing, distance of suffixes above and below letters, etc.
[I'm not saying it is good, just recognizable.]

I am just looking at a very well printed old book (Hardy & Wright, 1954),
and while I like the printing almost as much,
it is not quite as consistent as TeX (or probably other computer printing)
would be today.
In any case, it is easily recognisable as _not_ TeX.
For one thing, they do things which would be difficult (for me) in LaTeX,
eg Theorem 6: with a displayed formula on the same line.
Also the spacing of displayed formulae is much tighter,
there is more space on either side of "=",
and the "=" sign is almost twice as long as the TeX standard.
(I actually prefer that.)
Letters in fractions are the same size as elsewhere. Etc, etc.

I think it would be quite odd for a mathematician today
_not_ to write a book in TeX.
What would he use?

It should be said that Hardy & Wright is an exception for its period.
Most of the research maths books of that vintage
were appallingly badly "printed" (usually typed).
TeX has been responsible for
an immense increase in the average printing quality of maths books.


--
Timothy Murphy
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
tel: +353-1-2842366
s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland