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Re(3): Use LaTeX

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on September 12, 2007 04:49 PM
I think that you underestimate how long it takes to learn how to use a WYSIWYG word processor PROPERLY. I think that it is probably about the same amount of time that it takes to learn LaTeX properly. What I would say is that WYSIWYG word processors do allow one to fudge together some kind of document with a shorter learning time. However, this is not necessarily a good thing. I think that many of the complaints about opening word documents in Writer and things losing format in strange ways etc are due to the fact that anyone can just start typing away in a word processor without much clue of what they're doing and end up with something that looks sort of what they want (on THEIR screen, at least). What they might not appreciate is that lining things up with tabs, spaces and carriage returns is not how things should be done as it conveys NOTHING about the desired structure of the document to the computer. Thus, when I open this thing up on OOo Writer it's all over the shop because the program has very little idea of what its supposed to be doing. This is not something that can be sorted out with any document format since (as the old programming saying goes) put rubbish in, get rubbish out. What word processors have been (and always will be) guilty of is encouraging some very bad habits in both document structure and typesetting. LaTeX, intimidating as it might be to new users, has none of these faults and produces far better results as a consequence.


Return to Office software shootout: Writer vs. Microsoft Word, round three