[OT] LaTeX/TeX (was: Who has not job?)

Cees de Groot cg at cdegroot.com
Thu Apr 18 20:38:15 UTC 2002

Stephen Pair <spair at advantive.com> said:
>[...]  I looked at the linux documentation project and they seem
>to use a thing called DocBook, which appears to be an SGML (and XML)
>grammer for writing documents.
As probably the person most guilty of inflicting DocBook on the Linux
community, I must say it is a great format :-).

.texinfo is another nice format, it'll generate acceptable HTML, and from TeX
you'll get mostly anywhere (PDF, PS). It's easy to learn but very restricted
(because it is oriented towards plain ASCII output - no graphics etcetera).

LaTeX still is cool, generates top-notch hardcopy, and - in contrast with
DocBook and .texinfo - does not restrict you in any way. LaTeX2HTML conversion
is quite OK, and because it's so old it is blazingly fast on modern machines. 

If I were to write end-user documentation, I'd use DocBook - XML and SGML
tools are more generic than TeXinfo tools, and therefore it's more mendable
to scripts etcetera. DocBook lets everyone easily reuse your texts inside
webpages, anthologies, etcetera. There's a broad toolchain, publishers know
how to handle it, so it'll get you mostly anywhere (even to Word format ;-)).

If I were to write A Book, a really nice thing that I would hope people to
become fond of (like, for instance, I'm fond of Christopher Alexander's
books both for their contents as for the quality of typesetting), I
would choose LaTeX. You can do the basic text entry with (K)LyX, which
is reasonably WYSIWYG. So a book on Squeak I'd probably do in LaTeX
(hmm, anyone got the Metafont definition of the Squeak fonts? :)).

Cees de Groot               http://www.cdegroot.com     <cg at cdegroot.com>
GnuPG 1024D/E0989E8B 0016 F679 F38D 5946 4ECD  1986 F303 937F E098 9E8B

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