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

goran.hultgren at bluefish.se goran.hultgren at bluefish.se
Fri Apr 19 08:44:47 UTC 2002

cg at cdegroot.com (Cees de Groot) wrote:
> 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? :)).

Two small notes:
- I think Ian Piumarta did the LaTeX styles/templates (or whatever) for
Mark's two books. Seems worth looking at.
- I like Lout! :-) LaTeX/TeX is very good and much more widespread but
personally I found Lout to be much more... comprehensible and easy to
set up. It also has no problems with fonts and is easily tweakable and
comes with very good manuals - and the output is on par with TeX I think
(same algorithms but pushed one bit further I think). I assume DocBook
or .texinfo (or other general formats) can also produce Lout.

I would even consider writing a little "writing tool" in Squeak that
could spit out HTML or Lout.

regards, Göran

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