Frank Jahnke jahnke at sonatabio.com
Fri Oct 5 15:05:00 PDT 2007

On Fri, 2007-10-05 at 23:34 +0200, michaelgrunewald at yahoo.fr wrote:
> It seems there is no reason to be
> optimistic about the existence of an ``office-like'' program
> that deals smartly with equations. 

The input method from MathType (which is what WP uses) actually is quite
good.  The formatting, however...

> I am always a bit surprised that
> TeX was released in 78 (before my birth!) and---despite its algorithms
> are published---its output quality remains unmatched [1] by common
> programs. Why these programs do not apply TeX's strategies to solve
> their problems? This makes me wonder.

This is a good question.  TeX didn't really hit its stride until about
1989 (with Metafont and the language freeze), and the effort learned a
lot from troff.  Nevertheless, I am always struck by how ugly is the
type that Word produces.  You can always tell.  I've read about how
sophisticated its algorithm for this or that is, but the end result is
terribly inferior to both troff and TeX.

I don't really know why -- and it extends beyond the hyphenation
algorithm to things like inter-word kerning and type face formation --
but I just don't like the way Word documents look.  Maybe one of these
days I'll look into it.  I also find the insistence of the TeX community
to use the dreadful CM font family to be misguided.  There's a reason
that the classical fonts are classics.

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