Bill Campbell freebsd at celestial.com
Fri Oct 5 15:32:57 PDT 2007

On Fri, Oct 05, 2007, Frank Jahnke wrote:
>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.

Donald Knuth's objective writing TeX was to ``write pretty books'', and he
spent years on this project.

There's a big difference between sophisticated typesetting programs such as
TeX and groff, and word processors.  TeX and ?roff were designed to do
major, professional quality, publishing projects by people who understood
the intricacies of page design and layout.

One of the first people I met who used TeX extensively was an adjunct
professor of computer science at the University of Washington.  Pierre used
TeX on a Sun workstation to typeset Arabic and Sanskrit.  This was in 1984.

INTERNET:   bill at celestial.com  Bill Campbell; Celestial Software LLC
URL: http://www.celestial.com/  PO Box 820; 6641 E. Mercer Way
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