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## The \year=2000 TeX calendar110

Karpe writes "For those of you who don't read comp.text.tex, they are offering a calender for next year." Click below for more details - it's pretty cool.
" The TeX merchandising project proudly presents:

The \year=2000 TeX calendar

Features:

• Y2K compliant :-)
• format ISO A4
• 13 pages (12 month plus titel)
• each month with a picture by Duane Bibby from the books by Donald Knuth
• titel picture by Duane Bibby especially for this calendar
• protective cover and backcover
• wrap-around binding
• printed with 1200 dpi on 120g paper

This is a limited edition - it's printed on demand.

Price: DM 20 plus postage (3 DM Germany, 8 DM Europe, 16 DM rest of the world (air)).

Available \emph{now} from the TeX Merchandising Project.

The title picture and the calendarium can be seen at this web site

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

## The \year=2000 TeX calendar

• #### Re:Ahh, TeX strings on T shirts (Score:1)

Don't you actually mean $\frac{\partial^2}{\partial\phi^2}\Psi(\phi)+m^2\P si(\phi)=0$ ? Unless, of course, you previouly said \def\del\partial.

Hey - Mr. Taco! We need a TeX processor on this /. - I want to post math.

\nabla\Delta
• #### Re:So its a math-nerd thing then? (Score:1)

No. I do no mathematics. That's for people cleverer than I.

I love LaTeX for it's fandabbidozy structure, tables of contents, indexes and the like.

being able to do:

\subsection{Froznits - The Dirty Truth}

and I KNOW it's going to come out right, both on the page, in the contents and elsewhere.

It's a lot less random than things like Word or WordPro for long, structured documents.

Also I can break a doc up into separate physical files (handy for book-sized things) and have a master file with the equivalent of a big load of #includes in it, so the actual content doesn't have to cloud the structure if you don't want to.

Peter.

--

1. It's only 100g paper
2. We now have a mirror in North America [oneiros.de].
• #### The Joy of TeX (Score:1)

I don't know about the calendar thing yet, but I can tell you why I like TeX. Before becoming a software engineer, I was a mathematician. As such I used all sorts of crazy notation that would have been extremely painful to do with a GUI interface such as you find in those half-assed extensions to WYSIWYG editors like MSWord.

Also I have developed a writing style
in which I put sentence fragments
on separate lines
which is good for organizing language
but looks like hell
in a WYSIWYG editor
and something like TeX
will process my strange style quite nicely
without my having to reformat manually.

Even in my programming job, I find TeX very comforting, and I just can't go back to WYSIWYG and a GUI interface for text processing.

• #### Re:What the FUCK are you guys talking about? (Score:1)

Oh yeah I'd just _love_ to see that on an exam
paper during my Complex Analysis test next week.

I'm sure it would look real professional in a
journal as well.
• #### Re:TeX rules (Score:1)

There is already a Basic Interpreter written in TeX; try CTAN [ctan.org].
• #### Re:So its a math-nerd thing then? (Score:1)

No not at all.

I am by no means a Latex nerd, and definately not
a maths nerd. I use LaTeX and XFig to typeset
all my Digital Design Work. It is great for doing
things like tables and makes things like

Benno
• #### Re:They want money? (Score:2)

1. The pictures from the books by DEK are (c) American Mathematical Society and Addison-Wesley. They thankfully allow me the use for non-profit.
2. The font used (Lucida Bright) is (c) Y&Y.

TANSTAFL :-p
• #### Re:Paste-up boy picks a nit.... (Score:1)

Are you sure TeX doesn't do layout? Admittedly, I've never used plain TeX, only LaTeX, but it seems to produce very nicely laid out text and diagrams.

For instance, the tables and diagrams are placed in such a way that they are visually appealing and interrupt the flow of text as little as possible. Also, section headings and paragraphs are placed intelligently, e.g. headings are never placed at the bottom of a page.

Paul
• #### LaTeX in the non-technical world (Score:1)

Some years ago (about 1995) when I was but a simple grad student studying English literature, I started using Linux, and discovered LaTeX. From that point on, I have created every document, every letter (except a few special ones I wrote by hand), every resume, and every mailing label with vim and LaTeX.

I suppose the beauty my mailing labels is probably lost on the hard-working employees of the United States Postal Service. It is likely that my former professors may not have always appreciated the fact that they were appraising the most attractive documents they would receive from a student. Regardless, it makes me feel good to know that in some way I have contributed to the aesthetic improvement of the world of consumer-produced printed material.

Furthermore, I sneer from my moral high ground at my colleagues and friends who use commercial products to produce an inferior grade of print, while I use software which is completely free and open source. So there.
• #### Re:TeX processor for websites (Score:1)

wims [unice.fr] is (Www Interactive Mathematics Server) is an internet server system designed for mathematical educational purposes.
Among the things it allows you to do, it lets you put LaTeX code in your html page and translates them to html. This is a big and clever cgi..

---
• #### EURo (was:for once it is easier for germans) (Score:1)

Look again at the orderform. It's now primarily EURo-based.
• #### Re:What the FUCK are you guys talking about? (Score:1)

Another very big reason to use TeX is that your documents are still accessible 15 years later. I have some papers that I wrote in TeX in 1984. I can run TeX on them and still get the same beautiful output. It looks much nicer on the HP 4000N than on the LN01 and there's no risk of fire. How many others can say they have typeset documents they can read 15 years later?
• #### Re:Variant terminology? (Score:1)

Ahh... the memories.

I was a Junior in college when our Physics department hired 2 new professors. They were married. They both grew up in Cuba, went to school in Russia and were now teaching in the States.

We physics students were taught that upside-down triangle thingy was a "del". Now, we have this new professor with a Cuban-Russian accent, that we can barely understand, keep talking about a "nabla". "Nabla!?", it took a few classes to finally figure out what she was talking about. :)

• #### Other useful LaTeX tools for emacs are... (Score:1)

You cannot go past AUCTeX. When combined with reftex, bibtex, and ghostview or xdvi set to watch the output, you have a superior system for entering LaTeX marked up text.

AUCTeX itself is a replacement for the default TeX modes in emacs. It helps you by balancing environment delimters, knowing the syntax of macros and environments prompting you (e.g., you can make the \ an electric key), indenting LaTeX source, controlling the compile process, etc.

You can try searching for a file like auctex-9.9p.tgz on your favourite archive. It is pretty easy to install. It is also an interesting piece of emacs lisp, making much use of hooks for the various LaTeX styles and packages. You can therefore, get into hacking emacs lisp to match your hacked LaTeX class files which can be quite rewarding.

Reftex is another emacs minor mode to assist you with labels and references in your LaTeX source, including bibtex citations. Its highlights are automatic generation of labels, outline modes for quickly retrieving labels, and a good system for using regular expression search when selecting entries from your bibtex databases.
• #### ARgh! Re:calenders (Score:1)

Main Entry: 1calendar 2 : a tabular register of days according to a system usually covering one year and referring the days of each month to the days of the week

Main Entry: 1calender 1 : to press (as cloth, rubber, or paper) between rollers or plates in order to smooth and glaze or to thin into sheets
Sigh. Hemos is a great example of why piping to ispell just doesn't work. :-)
---
• #### The big deal about the calendar ... (Score:1)

There is no big deal. It's just that TeX has been around for a very long time (nearly 20 years in what is largely its present form and longer if you count the pre-1980 versions.) and has a loyal following and surrounding culture. Some of these people might enjoy having a calendar that displays TeX pride''.
• #### Confusing sizes. (off topic) (Score:3)

on Monday November 01, 1999 @05:59PM (#1571110) Homepage
I'm still surprised that Americans are so keen on sticking with a measurement system that was so blatantly European to start with. (C'mon...how many of you know how many feet in a rod? Bushels in a peck? Acres in a square mile? Pounds in a stone? or even what type of measurement a hectare is?)

(and the answers -- 16.5; trick question : 0.25, however, the Winchester Bushell is only 2150.42 cu.in., not 2218.2 cu.in.; Trick question: In England/US - 640, Scotland - 508, Ireland - 395; Depends on what you're measuring: hemp - 32, cheese - 16, humans - 14, meat - 8; It's actually metric - 10,000 m2)

And well, to go with the Neil Gaimen theme from last week -- From Good Omens :

*NOTE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AND AMERICANS: One shilling = Five Pee. It helps to understand the antique finances of the Witchfinder Army if you know the original British monetary system:

Two farthings = one Ha'penny. Two ha'pennies = One Penny. Three pennies = A Thrupenny Bit. Two Thrupennies = A Sixpence. Two Sixpences = One Shilling, or Bob. Two Bob = A Florin. One Florin and One Sixpence = Half a Crown. Four Half Crowns = Ten Bob Note. Two Ten Bob Notes = One Pound (or 240 pennies). One Pound and One Shilling = One Guinea.

The British resisted decimalized currency for a long time because they thought it was too complicated.
• #### So its a math-nerd thing then? (Score:2)

Would it be fair to say that it's mostly math nerds that enjoy a bit of TeX now and then, given it's propensity for equation-layouts?

Because that would probably explain my being scared of it - I'm just not mathematically inclined, even though I have been a programmer for years.

Is TeX good for something other than math stuff, or is that it's primary sticking point... heck, maybe I'll go read a FAQ or two.

• #### Re:What the FUCK are you guys talking about? (Score:1)

TeX started out as, always has been, and always will be, about one thing and one thing alone: typesetting beautiful scientific documents. If you use MS Word to typeset math (for example; MSW can't really do any really complicated stuff like chemistry or music) and you don't find your work, your eyes, your personal history and your entire female ascendancy being humilliated by the poor output, then you'll never get TeX.

Pity on you.
• #### Re:So its a math-nerd thing then? (Score:1)

No, I find TeX marvellous for script-writing.

The plain-text input means that I can *much* more easily track script revisions, using standard tools, than I could any other way.

And macros make the standard playwrighting conventions *so* much more managable. And it just *looks* so fine...

So, it's not just math geeks who like TeX.
• #### Re:What the FUCK are you guys talking about? (Score:1)

TeX actually doesn't require you to do anything much to put up a few characters-- just put "\bye" at the end of the document. The other stuff is for making the page sizes and format the way you'd like, and you can set those up once (or steal somebody else's) and just use that.

You need the more complicated stuff for tables and math symbols, but it's on the easy side for putting math in a document.

I had a hard time getting teTeX installed correctly, and somehow managed to learn how to use TeX before I had managed to set it up. Generally, I just write in a text editor and then proofread the formatted text. I find I make about a mistake/page which I don't see typing up a math problem.

Of course, you can make TeX files arbitrarily complex, and it includes a massive scripting language, but you can just ignore the details and use other people's macros.

Also, IMHO, it produces the nicest-looking and most readable output of the publishing systems I've seen.
• #### Re:Paste-up boy picks a nit.... (Score:1)

TeX is mostly typesetting, but LaTeX, which uses TeX as an "engine", is mostly about automatic layout - it will place figures and tables where they actually look good. So, TeX or LaTeX are usually not what a layout professional would look for to prepare a magazine (it could be good for a book), but they are just great for us who whant something that looks very good, and we don't know about the subtleties of DTP. The non professional will get a much better layout out of (La)TeX than out of any other pagesetting program, simply because it's too difficult to change the (great) defaults ! :-P
• #### Re:Paste-up boy picks a nit.... (Score:1)

TeX is mostly typesetting, but LaTeX, which uses TeX as an "engine", is mostly about automatic layout - it will place figures and tables where they actually look good.
So, TeX or LaTeX are usually not what a layout professional would look for to prepare a magazine (thought it could be good for a book), but they are just great for us who want something that looks very good, and we don't know about the subtleties of DTP.
Most "non professionals" will get a much better layout out of (La)TeX than out of any other pagesetting program, simply because it's too difficult to change the (great) defaults ! :-P
• #### Re:What the FUCK are you guys talking about? (Score:2)

Sure, I know TEX is that monster publishing engine... What's the big deal here, folks? I just don't get it.
\TeX is just the best damn typesetting system out there. Actually, a trained human typesetter will do better, but for us mortals, you can't beat \TeX. (There may be some high-end packages out there that are better, but I don't know of any. MS-Word, WordPerfect, Frame etc. etc. don't even come close.)

And setting math - well, nothing does math like \TeX. Nothing.

Flexibility: it is very easy to define a \TeX (or \LaTeX) package that typesets exactly the way you want. If you're writing your Ph.D. dissertation and live in constant fear of those Inquisitors at the Graduate College throwing out your work because the table of contents isn't just so, \TeX is for you. You just tell it to use the approved style and from that point on it's just high-level markup; out comes a perfectly formatted dissertation. (Things like MS-Word can also do templates and things, but it's so hard to get them right no one uses them.)

I also happen to believe that markup languages like \TeX (or HTML) are better for writing in, because they make you concentrate on the content rather than on how pretty the document looks on the screen. (That's why marketing morons don't like markup languages.) And, of course, with a markup language your hands stay on the home row instead of constantly having to reach for the mouse, pull down some damn menu or click on some damn toolbar button.

The idea of entering equation-like scripts just to get a few well-formatted chars up on the screen...
You use HTML, right? Here's some \TeX:

This is some text with \emph{emphasis}.

\begin{center}
This is the next paragraph, centered.
\end{center}

I recommend that you buy the \LaTeX2e book (The LaTeX Companion -- Mittelbach, Samarin, et al). First, admire the typesetting of the book - all done in \LaTeX. Then learn why it's so cool.

• #### They want money? (Score:1)

Was I the only one who clicked on this story expecting to see "...click here [slashdot.org] to download the Postscript file, here [slashdot.org] for the TeX source..."?

Guess I'm confusing free speech/free beer again...
• #### Re:So its a math-nerd thing then? (Score:1)

Just to add my two cents to the other non-math applications: recently I've been using TeX almost exclusively to typeset music (via GNU Lilypond [gnu.org]). Though I did originally start using TeX to typeset math-heavy CS homework.

Another thing that you can use (La)TeX for is automatic generation of formatted text.

What I mean is something like a Perl script mangling a data file and spitting out TeX source, which can then be piped to either (beautiful) hardcopy or HTML or whatever other filter you fancy.

You could do the same with, say, RTF or the Word file format, but it would be a hell of a lot murkier to do so. (not to mention uglier).

• #### TeX falling by the wayside? (Score:1)

This is as good a place to raise this question as any, I suppose... does TeX really have a future? Don't get me wrong - I love TeX; it is a very good typesetting language for most purposes, but its syntax is decidedly crufty and old-fashioned - in the Brave New World where everyone speaks XML, is a language like this really going to last? There are some very nice renderers coming along for XML-based typesetting systems, and even HTML isn't doing too badly... what do people think?
• #### Re:Sizes changeable? (Score:1)

From personal experience, letter' size makes better airplanes than A4 with the models that I know (4 or so). I'm sure there are some paper airplane designs that are optimised for A4, but letter just seems to be better proportioned for this application. However, it's not so much the exact size, but rather the ratios 22x17 just seems to give better results than 297x210.

However, I generally prefer A4 for printouts, but that's probably because the laser printers I use all use A4 by default (and are only ever loaded with it). I also like that \2 ratio for aesthetic reasons.

Basicly, either standard has its uses. However, I absolutely detest foolscap (legal?), but that's probably do to mis-spent lunch times/after school doing lines' as a kid (I seemed to get them a lot:).

Ob-topic: I wouldn't mind one of these calendars, in any papersize, but I don't think I can spare DM20 just now:(.

• #### Re:So its a math-nerd thing then? (Score:1)

Ugh, I meant its, not it's.

You shouldn't have meant it. You used it correctly. "it's" is the contraction of it is. "its" is the possessive.
• #### Re:Sizes changeable? (Score:1)

Oh come on. Do we really need a standard for everything under the sun? Cant we relish in the sense of individuality our custom sized paper brings us? Do we have to conform with the rest of the world on the "proper" size of paper when we can't even get our measurements figured out? Sheesh...

&lt RANT &gt
Yes we bloody well DO need standards for paper sizes. I work in the UK for a large American corporation. Not only do they set standards for everything from Paper size to word-processing software to use, they then ignore their own standards and use whatever's most convenient for y'all. Which never - I repeat never works here in sunny Euro-land(*).
&lt /RANT &gt

Slightly more on-topic, however, is that this s why TeX, HTML, SGML, Script, Bookmaster (ooh what a giveaway) rule, and WYSIWYG sucks. Send me your TeX and I'll format it for whatever paper I happen to have loaded. Send me your Word document and I'll not only have to translate it into something horrible looking in Lotus Wordpro, but I'll also completely cock-up your references, tables-of-contents and indexes when I change paper sizes on you.

(*) - Yes, the UK is part of the EU. Most of the time. Ignoring political or nationalistic arguments to the contrary, it's single greatest feat - to me - is forcing this 1000-year-old nation state to drag itself kicking and screaming into the 20th century and start adopting some sane standards.

• #### (dis)advantages of LaTeX (Score:1)

the disadvantage of LaTeX is that things that could be simple (like changing font families) are still moderately difficult.
the advantage of LaTeX is that things that could be impossible (like properly typesetting equations) are only moderately difficult.
• #### Count me In!!! (Score:1)

I will definitely get one of these!!! Tex is the most powerful text layout engines ever.
Even better... NO GIF'S on their web sites. PNG only
• #### Re:DM??? (Score:1)

Thats DM, for Deutsche Marks

I think ...
• #### Re:DM??? (Score:2)

DM=Deutsch (German) Marks. They're currently approximately 1.9 to the dollar.
• #### y2k compliant? (Score:4)

on Monday November 01, 1999 @04:14PM (#1571139) Homepage
Ummm what if it weren't y2k compliant? Would it go back to 1900 and have pictures of women in long sleeved bathing suits?

-PovRayMan
• #### Re:DM??? (Score:1)

Oops.. thats DM not DL.
• #### Re:DM??? (Score:1)

Correction: that's 1.9 dollars to the mark. In other words, you're looking at about $68 to purchase the printed version (20 DM + 16 DM postage = 36 DM =$68). Seems a bit excessive for a calendar.

Deutsch Mark
• #### Ahh, TeX strings on T shirts (Score:3)

<rfc2324&yahoo,com> on Monday November 01, 1999 @04:26PM (#1571144) Homepage
The TeX merchandising project? You mean I get to put "Which part of $\frac{\del^2}{\del\phi^2}\Psi(\phi) + m^2\Psi(\phi) = 0$ don't you understand?" on my T-shirt, and it comes out looking perfect? Ahhh, exactly what I need... :-)

Wait, no, they want money for it. And given how slow the site is at 4 am in Europe, I pity its /.ing in the morning...

• #### Limited Edition? (Score:1)

How can this be a limited edition if it's printed on demand? Can't they just print more of them?

• #### Re:Limited Edition? (Score:1)

It's limited to demand, of course :)
• #### (tex = easy to use) != easy to learn (Score:1)

by Anonymous Coward
And, for the command-line impaired, check out LyX or KLyX (http://www.lyx.org/)

Once you figure out *how* to use it (its somewhat of a mind-bender after being taught how to use something like Word) I found it much easier to deal with for actually getting things done, and having them look nice.

• #### I agree that TeX makes for beautiful output. (Score:1)

And that MS Word does not do math -- I've tried it.

But, what do you mean by "female ascendancy"?
• #### Re:What the FUCK are you guys talking about? (Score:5)

on Monday November 01, 1999 @07:00PM (#1571155) Journal

Put simply, TeX brought typesetting to the masses. Knuth invented TeX because he was tired of sending manuscripts with complicated equations to the typesetter and getting back garbage. TeX allows anyone with a little patience and willpower to typeset virtually anything they want. (I use LaTeX, an extension to TeX, so my comments might only be applicable to LaTeX).

There are many advantages of (La)TeX over other document creation systems.

• TeX output looks great. Nothing looks more professional than TeX.
• Once you know the basics it is faster to create complicated documents with LaTeX than with anything else. LaTeX automatically handles hyphenation, line spacing, section title placement, equation numbering, figure placement and numbering, etc. When you want to refer to "equation 5", you refer to it by name. When you later add a new equation before "equation 5", your reference is automatically updated. Some word processors have this feature, but it is more of a "tacked on" thing than in TeX.
• Typing in equations is much faster in TeX. Once you know the names of the symbols, it is possible to type mathematical equations faster than writing them on paper. TeX has every symbol imaginable. With Word (for example), you must hunt-and-peck for symbols on a chart. If your symbol isn't there, you're SOL.
• TeX includes many many packages that other people have written for just about anything you could possibly want TeX to do. Want to typeset some Java code so keywords are bold, comments are italics, and everything else is roman font? There's a package to do it. How about a package to draw graphs? Yes. All this is possible because TeX is a programming language for typesetting. Fortunately, you don't need to use all its features just to produce a document. But the power is there, waiting to be used.
• Customizability. If you find yourself typing "with regard to" over and over, you can define a command \wrt that expands to "with regard to". Suppose you invent some new notation. Then just define a command for it and never worry about how the notation is generated. Then if you ever want to change your notation, you can change the definition. All your notation will instantly change, without any of the bother of searching for each time you used the notation. This is incredibly useful. Before I printed out my thesis, I previewed it with vectors written with an arrow above the vector quantity, and with vectors in boldface type. It was a one-line change.

I think that TeX is most appropriate for creating documents that clearly and simply convey information. It is the ideal tool for writing papers to be published in academic journals. Everything about TeX is designed with communication in mind. The default margins are wider than most other word processors. This is because people have a hard time reading wide columns of text. Look at any good book and count the number of words across a column. It will be the same as the number of words in a default TeX column.

• There is a learning curve. TeX is a deep system. Learning TeX is a never-ending journey. Initially it can be painful and unproductive. Many people get discouraged.
• Using TeX is not interactive. TeX by itself is a "compiler". Given a source file, it produces an output file suitable for printing. Writing TeX can often become more frustrating than programming. Silly syntactic errors can stop the compile from completing. It gets old reTeXing after every change in your file.
• It is often hard to make formatting changes. The formatting system is complex. For example, to change margins or line spacing is not as simple as grabbing a slider.
• It is sometimes hard to tell what a given section of source file produces. \delta is different than seeing the delta symbol.
There are several expensive commercial systems based on TeX that provide an easy-to-use interface. There is also LyX, which is GPL. I do not have much experience with these, so I don't know effective they are.

• #### Hi, my name is Eg0r, and I'm addicted to LaTeX (Score:2)

A while back when I started writing up my thesis, I was faced by the challenge of choosing myself a word processor... Would it be word and its magic paper clip that says 'oh I see you are writing a letter, would you like some help?' or that writes Mhz even though what I meant was MHz... Would it be staroffice, LyX or gee!!! LaTeX?

I started to poll around and came to the conclusion that word95 was definitely getting too intelligent for its own good. (word 2 was the last in the series of microsoft half decent word processors)... Even worse, it seems to start crashing when documents get to big... Oh, and then came word97 with its magic compression that made my med images looking all blurred and crappy... (gee, is that a brain section or is it the pelvis?)

By that time (late 96) I had already switched completely to Linux, and was using vi quite a lot to edit my programs.

So I tried LyX and quite frankly, it's really good, and you can't beat the TeX output. So I started to type a long equation, the way I would have done in word, with the equation editor... a few minutes later, pleased with the result, I thought, so,,,, what does it look like in LaTeX. A click on the 'view LaTeX source' or something showed less than an 80 char long line...
Yep, that just proved me, that if you are willing to spend some time learning LaTeX, it can be much faster to type the equation, rather than clicking on buttons and then being really crossed because the char you wanted is not available (IR in office 95/97 equation editor anyone?)

So by that time I was really confused, and asked on slashdot how people were doing with LaTeX, and got a lot of encouraging answers (flames at that time where not at all common on /.), so I made the jump. All my fears were answered straight from the begining, yes you can spellcheck your document or yes you can include pictures (I'm still working on this one :-) or yes, there are packages to draw stuff and include into your LaTeX document

My mix so far is

• rtf2latex2e to convert some early word stuff over to LaTeX
• vim for the editing
• xfig for sketches
• xmgr for graphs
• ispell for spell checking (haven't tried aspell, is it much better?)
Just a word about xfig, opensource (I'm not sure it's GPLed, but you get the source code and an extensive description of the format) means I can generate most of my drawing directly from IDL (haven't jumped from IDL to PDL yet, though) and obtain great stuff I can put staright into my thesis. Same for xmgr

Do I miss office? no! Is LaTeX great for scientific publications? Hell, yes!! If vi/emacs is already your typing interface for programming, you will have no problem switching to compiling your documents as well. Will LaTeX crash on me when I reach 200 pages? say... what?
Will I stop wasting Rob's diskspace? yeah, okay... :-)

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• #### Re:TeX vs LaTeX (Score:2)

Pretty close. "It" is not an it but a "they". TeX is the engine that does the work of producing ".dvi" files (which are usually dvips'd to ".ps" files). It is a macro-driven programming environment developed by Don Knuth to format text and mathematics in a very controlled, reproducible, efficient manner (the actual processing engine is tiny by today's standards). TeX is also commonly used to refer to "Plain TeX", a format that supplements TeX's primitive (built-in) commands with enough to typeset nice-looking paragraphs, equations, etc, while still remaining flexible enough to tempt TeX hackers (who, me?) to do really strange stuff. LaTeX is a more restrictive TeX format that implements a lot more stuff by default, but is much harder to customise without breaking the built-in stuff.

Okay, that's the one paragraph requested - now a bit more background:

To quote Knuth [from the preface of the TeXbook]:

... a new typeseting system intended for the creation of beautiful books---and especially for books that contain a lot of mathematics. By preparing a manuscript in TeX format, you will be telling a computer exactly how the manuscript is to be transformed into pages whose typographic quality is comparable... etc.
For a mathematician (e.g. me) and anyone wanting to write research articles/books/lecture notes with more than half an equation, TeX is a godsend, as it does mathematics unbelievably well. It can be typed from a keyboard (rodent-free) is fast and efficient to input, and the restriction of tex input files to the uncontroversial 3/8 of ascii makes tex source compact and portable. It is especially useful for international collaborative papers and travelling academics/grad students/postdocs (just need a text editor & one of a few dozen tex engines).

Like Linux, TeX is open source (not "free" in the GPL sense, but Knuth does allow free code forks, such as Omega, pdftex, etex some of which are GPL) and has hoards of evangelists who think that $\TeX \ge \SeX$.

Of course, your opinion of TeX will depend on whether you

1. Write any substatial documents
2. use any equations in those documents
3. have spent the last 20 years hanging out for the long-awaited volume 4 (?) of Knuth's Art of Computer Programming

• #### Because! (Score:2)

But that doesn't mean that TeX is really all that sexy.

Hey, its a lot more sexy than e.g. a kernel (I mean, a kernel manages processes. What's sexy about that?) TeX produces beautiful documents and LaTeX allows you to concentrate on what you want to say, instead of how it is going to look. The combined result is incredibly sexy to intelligent people and to people interested in aestetics.

Stupid people with no taste will of course prefer WordPerfect or MS Word, but what are they doing here?

• #### Good for generating documents (Score:1)

There's a Common Lisp package [cmu.edu] for automatic generation of reference manuals from source code that I once adapted for FrameMaker output (I wasn't using TeX at the time).

There was no way of generating cross references. All those had to be inserted by hand, which meant that every time you regenerated a manual, you had to go though the whole thing again.

So I got into LaTeX (that's what the tool originally supported). And then into improving user-manual.lisp to add support for my language extensions, etc.

What's bad about *TeX is that it's a really yucky programming language. Again somebody went reinventing the wheel instead of building on the (then 20, now 40) years of previous work of other people.

And let's not forget that if TeX used CL, mathematicians would only need to learn 1 language (provided they used one of the CL-based comptuter algebra systems).

• #### Re:Confusing sizes. (further off topic) (Score:1)

To quote the Dice man:

Jack and Jill went up the hill.
Each with a buck and a quarter.
Jill came down with two-fifty.
The whore!

Seriously, I think you're going a little overboard. Besides, many country refer to their money by various names. Like quid/pound. Right?
Right.

And I like A4 paper.

• #### Re:What the FUCK are you guys talking about? (Score:1)

You wrote:
>recommend that you buy the \LaTeX2e book (The LaTeX Companion -- Mittelbach, Samarin, et al). First, admire the typesetting of
the book - all done in \LaTeX. Then learn why it's so cool.

You should start him off on "LaTeX: A Document Preparation System," Leslie Lamport. Somebody stole my Lamport and with only the Companion, I feel lost sometimes.
• #### Re:What the FUCK are you guys talking about? (Score:1)

I was writing my masters thesis in LaTeX. Found out about formulae and found them pretty neat. Concluded that this was better than everything I had ever seen, except perhaps the first-year-calculus book.

Enter: the book. Took the book off the shelf, and checked it against what TeX produces. Hmm. Turns out TeX produces WILDLY better formated formulae than what the calculus book had. hehe.

Roger.
• #### Re:Variant terminology? (Score:1)

I vote for a and c...

Szo
• #### TeX rules (Score:1)

My wife has a Ph.D. in chemistry. Her dissertation is about 700 pages long. Unfortunately, she had already written about 300 pages of it in Microsoft Word before she learned that she could get TeX for her Windows machine. The, er, experience of writing such a long technical document in Word, and moving the file back and forth between her Windows 95 machine at home and the Mac in her advisor's secretary's office, made her eager to get Linux. (And this is someone who "hates computers".)

A friend of mine (who now works at Bitstream) claims to have written a BASIC interpreter in TeX. (TeX has variables, it has conditionals, it has loops -- presto, it's a programming language!) I once asked him if I could see the source code for this intepreter, but he demurred, saying he wants to be known for the high-quality programs he's written.

• #### calenders (Score:1)

by Anonymous Coward
Offtopic, but: do we have a speling-for-Hemos dept.?
• #### How about a Slashdot Calender (Score:1)

It's a great idea, it'll be the best place to find out what will be happening next month, but when you try and access the month, the calender will be so overloaded that you won't be able to see it.

• #### Re:Sizes changeable? (Score:1)

Well, at least it's not offered in some bizarre size like 'letter'!

(I don't mean this as flamebait - just lamenting the lack of globally accepted standards for paper sizes :-P )

And yet another correction: the rate is the other way around (trust me, I am a German living in the US who still has a German credit card). And the most recent exchange rate is 1.863 DM for 1 US Dollar. Thus your total would $19.32. • #### Re:Sizes changeable? (Score:1) Any way to change those sizes from the European standard I think you mean "International Standard" - that is what "ISO A4" means. Perhaps if the US fell into line with the rest of the world . . . . Wishful thinking, I know. • #### Re:Ahh, TeX strings on T shirts (Score:1) Oh, boy. Call me dense, but can someone please translate the above? Yes, programming in Visual Basic has decayed my brain. :) • #### Re:Count me In!!! (Score:1) Well...did you see the HTML 4.0 compliant icon? It's actually a GIF, and comes directly from the W3C. • #### spooky ... (Score:1) Is this a late halloween surprise? I just got spam from bmg music [mailto] (of which ive never been a member) selling y2k calendars ... • #### So, where's the site??? (Score:1) It looks like the site is running high and dry due to the slashdot effect... Time to look on google for a cached copy. • #### Re:Sizes changeable? (Score:1) Oh come on. Do we really need a standard for everything under the sun? Cant we relish in the sense of individuality our custom sized paper brings us? Do we have to conform with the rest of the world on the "proper" size of paper when we can't even get our measurements figured out? Sheesh... • #### Variant terminology? (Score:1) I know the "nabla" (aka "atled") symbol as "del", not the "partial" symbol. Idea for poll: correct name of upside-down triangle is: a. upside-down triangle. b. atled c. nabla d. del e. grad / div / ..., depending how you use it • #### Paste-up boy picks a nit.... (Score:2) Please, please don't confuse typesetting (which is what TeX does) with layout (which TeX doesn't do, AFAIK). These are two very different things, and given that my job frequently revolves around layout, I don't appreciate being confused for a typesetter. Good definitions would be too long for here, but basically typesetting is concerned with the appearance and formatting of text and textual elements (like equations). Layout is concerned with the arrangement of graphic elements and _blocks_ of text, which have already been typeset. True, the lines are blurring now that both typesetting and layout are computerized, but for the sake of helping me to avoid boring typsetting work, please use these two terms properly ;) • #### I'm confused. Why? (Score:1) by Anonymous Coward One: TeX is pretty useful if you're a grad student in Math or CS. Two: Knuth wrote some pretty cool books. Three: But that doesn't mean that TeX is really all that sexy. I mean, it typesets text. There's a whole crowd that walks around feeling superior because their ligatures and kerning make for slightly improved readablity when using a serif font. These are the same people who hogged the Apple II in your elementary school so they could print banners in Print Shop that said, "Smith Elementary School." Trust me, that time would have been better spent playing Kareteka. Four: Now you're proposing I send in money... Five: ...in a currency most Slashdotters won't have... Six: ...to some German dude who's going to just print out something on his DeskJet? Seven: Also, you just got tricked into advertising somebody else's product for free. (The little Angel on my shoulder (who looks sort of like Stallman) is saying, "It should have been released under the GPL!") Somebody got played. Eight: And it's not even a T-shirt! • #### for once it is easier for germans (Score:1) Not only americans get to pay 16DM postage but you need to pay in DM. no credit card. that means international mail order, which as far as i know implies more cost. They may be y2k compliant but i do not see anywhere a price tag in euro... Laurent --- • #### Re:So its a math-nerd thing then? (Score:1) TeX/LaTeX allows you to write stuff you have never dreamt of like \xygraph{ []*++[o][F=]{\omega} :^c[uurr]*++[o][F]{\omega,(c,aa)}:@(ur,ul)^a[rrr]* ++[o][F]{(a,ac),(ca,a)}:@(d,r)_a[dll]*++ [o][F]{(aa,c),\omega}:^c"\omega" :^c[ddrr]*++[o][F]{(c,aa),\omega}:@(dr,dl)^a[rrr]* ++[o][F]{(ca,a),(a,ac)}:@(u,r)_a[ull]*++ [o][F]{\omega,(aa,c)}:^c"\omega" :_b[ddll]*++[o][F]{\omega,(b,a)}:_a[ul]*++[o][F]{( a,b),\omega}:_b"\omega" :_b[uull]*++[o][F]{(b,a),\omega}:_a[dl]*++[o][F]{\ omega,(a,b)}:_b"\omega" } Which produces this beautiful graph [altern.org] (thanks to latex2html for making the gif). It would look less cryptic if slashdot recognized the <PRE> html tag too. Indentation does help us human beings. --- • #### Re:Sizes changeable? (Score:1) Hey, while you're at it, don't miss the chance to b*tch about the weeks beginning with the "wrong" day, i.e. Monday. Perhaps a calendar needs to be localized before being sold all over the world? Ah, the wonders of I18N. ;^) • #### A mirror (Score:2) I have a local [cmu.edu] copy for those who want it. • #### Re:DM??? (Score:1) Ok, it seems to be pretty much agreed on that it is ~$20.00 US? Right?

So that would be, like, \$53,573.00 Canadian?
• #### Printed on demand? (Score:3)

on Monday November 01, 1999 @05:33PM (#1571192) Homepage
Printing on demand, to me means, for instance, tex foo.tex'' followed by dvips foo.dvi''. Where is the TeX source? How about a calendar of which you can roll your own DVI, adjusted to whatever paper size you wish, featuring unencumbered images? Who cares about Bibby drawings? Maybe some nice mathematical formulas, graphs and diagrams would do instead. ;) Or each page featuring some different area of typesetting that one can engage in: music, organic chemistry, mathematics, Klingon, etc. Or some way out there things done up in MetaPost.

I guess we have two months to cook up a freeware TeX calendar.
• #### Re:Limited Edition? (Score:1)

That is the most hilarious thing I have seen all day, and I don't know why.
• #### Re:DM??? (Score:1)

Another minor correction:

DM 1.863 might be USD 1, but USD 1 buys you DM 0.537866.

Hence, DM 36 is USD 19.36 =)

OK, that was pedantic, I admit it.

yahoo [yahoo.com] has a nice exchange rate table/calculator that often comes in handy!

-W
• #### Re:And where would we be.. (Score:1)

Thats how its spelled on their website...
• #### What the FUCK are you guys talking about? (Score:1)

I pride myself on being relatively hip to most of the articles that are posted to Slashdot. Heck, I even often read 'em on memepool before they make it over here. And its not like I'm not hep to some of the other more obscure programming languages out there - I've played with Haskell, and I even know a few Clean tricks. (Okay, so I abhor Perl, but is that so bad? At least I can make awk do its thing, and I'm a C programmer by trade.)

But in this particular case, I have *no* idea what the hell is the big deal. Sure, I know TEX is that monster publishing engine, and yeah, I've rotely clicked the install a few times during a Linux-install-a-thon, with perfectly good intentions to check it and its source tarball out one of these days.

But what is the big deal about a calendar?

Please, oh guru's of text-language fantasia, please enlighten me. What's the big deal here, folks? I just don't get it.

Umm... wait a minute. I just realized that I could just click the link and find out for myself.

But you know what? Okay, okay, I'll admit it. To be totally honest here, TEX scares me. I mean, it *scares* me. I don't wanna have to learn it to do fancy BOFH-style user manuals. Since when does typing 'make' to make a correction to a document feel right?

The idea of entering equation-like scripts just to get a few well-formatted chars up on the screen in the right typeface ready for printing just feels lame to me. And I'm afraid of it because hey, its still around, hey, there are people using it still, and hey, it just got a fancy new article about it on Slashdot. It's hurting my inner leet hacker persona *not* to know about TeX, and that just makes me even more scared of it.

So I haven't checked it out yet.

Someone, please, either flame me so expertly that I dare not defile your TeXiness in the future, or explain it to me in hacker bean-value terms.

What is the big deal with TeX?

What is now proved was once only imagin'd. -- William Blake

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