wyswyg editors for tex (was re: replacement for openoffice)

icantthinkofone icantthinkofone at charter.net
Tue Oct 9 06:20:56 PDT 2007

Frank Jahnke wrote:
>> From what little experience I have with PS and *roff the idea of
>> hacking inline embedded languages just for typesetting sounds stupid
>> beyond belief.... 
> You have to learn one of the troff macro packages.  -ms is the easiest,
> but I agree that a wysiwyg document processor is just easier for this
> purpose.  I'm agnostic about this one, and use Abiword (which I have
> never had any issues compiling, and do install all of the plug-ins),
> TextMaker, OO.o, Word or WP.  For this purpose it does not really matter
> much, and I have all installed, either natively or in a virtual machine.
> For technical or scientific writing, though, there is nothing that can
> replace TeX or troff unless you invest a lot of money into adjunct
> programs for Word.  Even then you still wind up with an ugly document.
> Sometimes that does not matter (like business letters) but hey, I'm a
> perfectionist and want my documents to look good in addition to
> containing good information.
> FWIW, my "typical" scientific article has over 100 references (which
> change as the document is written), a lot of partial differential
> equations and their solutions, graphs, chemistry, tables, images (like
> photomicrographs), and so forth.  For that troff and TeX are the only
> way to go unless you want to spend a considerable amount of money for
> Word add-ins.  By itself Word is not that good, but an ecosystem has
> developed around it to make it workable.  And it is the standard.
> I'll stand by my basic recommendation.  For everyday use and Word
> compatibility, buy TextMaker (and PlanMaker if you use spreadsheets).
> For the heavy lifting use TeX (or LaTeX or LyX) or troff and its
> pre-processors and macro packages.
>> and since all the more "traditional" (sorry I do not think of any
>> inline text language as being "traditional")
> Here you are misguided.  The text formatters *are* the traditional way
> to process documents.  In fact, Unix existed only because its commercial
> justification was the text processing system.  And that was built on
> DEC's runoff (with its embedded codes), which the Unix fellows
> abbreviated to roff, which became nroff for fixed-width character
> devices, and troff for typesetters.
> It took WordStar to change that paradigm (there are many other ones, of
> course, but WS was the gorilla in the late 1970s and early 1980s).
> Frank
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Can you explain the difference between troff and groff.  I thought groff 
is the more useable troff, or do I have that backwards, or is that only 
a fbsd replacement?

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