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Re: Which editor do you use for math

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  • Subject: [mg95666] Re: Which editor do you use for math
  • From: Bill Rowe <readnews at>
  • Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2009 06:19:45 -0500 (EST)

On 1/23/09 at 5:07 AM, btreat1 at (DrMajorBob) wrote:

>My advice? Stick to Mathematica and/or Word. (Unless you're willing
>to learn LaTeX from the ground up, the hard way.)

>I spent several hours last night sleuthing how to use Mac fonts in
>LyX, which led to using them in TeXShop, which led to indecipherable
>instructions for using LyX with XeTex, which led to utter confusion.

Well since LyX is neither LaTeX nor TeXShop, I can see how this
path would lead to confusion. LyX is designed to allow you to
create documents without knowing LaTeX. Usage of TeXShop
requires knowledge of LaTeX or TeX. XeTeX is a command line
utility that extends TeX to allow usage of Mac fonts. Since
TeXShop is basically an editor combined with a GUI for the Unix
tools used to convert TeX source code into the final document,
configuring TeXShop to use xetex instead of another tex tool is
relatively simple. Currently, I've no idea how to configure LyX
to make use of xetex.

>I found a LyX document that "explained" and "demonstrated" how to do
>this; but that document explained exactly nothing and could not be
>typeset, neither with LaTeX NOR XeTeX. Trying to do so popped up
>error messages (like the ones mentioned below).

>Explanations (and ERROR messages) FREQUENTLY repeated the equivalent
>of, "If you use *nix, you'll be able to figure this out. No need to
>explain it," or "Make like Sherlock Holmes, and look for clues."

>Apparently, the developers of this stuff MAY be a lot wise-a**es
>who'd rather, really, have nobody else use their code.

>Or, at least, they can't be bothered with meaningful documentation
>or installers that do the full job.

The thing is, both TeX and LaTeX existed much earlier than
things like Word. They were created as Unix tools and still
reflect those roots. The primary installation tools are other
Unix tools. Installers that don't explicitly use the command
line are typically a GUI wrapper for lower level Unix tools.
Likewise, the main documentation for TeX are man pages and
texdoc documents accessed using the command line. Obviously,
converting this documentation to something like the online
documentation found in Word or Mathematica is quite a bit of effort.

If you are to effectively make use of LaTeX you will definitely
want to get a book written about using LaTeX. Like Mathematica,
LaTeX will require quite a bit of study/usage before you will
really be comfortable using it. I believe the payoff for
learning LaTeX warrants the effort.

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