3.325 PC-TEX (110)

Thu, 3 Aug 89 19:01:39 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 325. Thursday, 3 Aug 1989.

(1) Date: Wed, 2 Aug 89 22:58 EST (31 lines)
Subject: pc-tex

(2) Date: Thu, 3 Aug 89 09:01:58 -0400 (18 lines)
From: lang@PRC.Unisys.COM
Subject: PC-TEX

(3) Date: Thu, 03 Aug 89 10:23:40 EDT (36 lines)
From: Michael Stairs <STAIRS@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: PC-TeX (the good, the bad, and not so ugly)

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 89 22:58 EST
Subject: pc-tex

Pc TeX is public domain and available at simtel20
(see the log files for this list from a fiew weeks ago.)
It is especially intended for text with a lot of scientific
or math symbols (indices, subscripts, superscripts, "standard"
greek letters.) It does a lot of nice things for making text output
look nice, such as proportional spacing, hyphenation (it gets 90%
of the O.E.D. correct by construction, and 90% of the rest correct
by guessing, and you can add exception lists.) If you are going
to be using a lot of symbols or equations it would be worth your
while. If not, it may be overkill to get it. You will need at least
5 meg on a hard disk, and a full 640 k ram. You may also want LaTeX,
which has a lot of facility for doing things like making tables
of contents, reference control and things like that. If you want
to make VERY pretty output (and are willing to buy a good laser
printer) then I recomend it highly.

It is not an editor tho. You will need your own word processor.
Also, you should note that it won't like any of the special characters
your editor may put in for such things as bolding or underscores or
such things. So you must have an editor that can output an ordinary
ascii text file.

The documentation for TeX and LaTeX are The TeX Book by Donald Knuth
(the author of the TeX system) and The LaTeX Book by Leslie Lamport
(the author of the LaTeX system.) These books will be in the area
of $30 dollars each and you pretty much need them to use the systems.
dan evens <evens@utorphys>
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------21----
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 89 09:01:58 -0400
From: lang@PRC.Unisys.COM
Subject: PC-TEX

Vincent Ooi <ELLOOIBY@NUSVM> inquired about PC-TEX:

I assume this is a version of Donald Knuth's TeX typesetting system.
If so, I can heartily recommend TeX, especially when accompanied
by Leslie Lamport's macros, in which case the system is called LaTeX.
Plain TeX is not easy to use, but LaTeX is much less complicated,
block structured, and borrows (or steals*, as Lamport himself says)
many ideas from Brian Reid's Scribe system. LaTeX is a very powerful,
full-blown typesetting system which can (and has) been used to produce
the actual camera-ready copy for professionally published books.
Disclaimer: I know nothing specifically about PC-TEX.
* "Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal." Igor Stravinsky

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------39----
Date: Thu, 03 Aug 89 10:23:40 EDT
From: Michael Stairs <STAIRS@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: PC-TeX (the good, the bad, and not so ugly)

Greetings all,

Willard has asked me to respond to the request for information on the topic of
PC-TeX. Far from being a "word processor", TeX is a powerful
formatting language. It accepts ascii text marked up according to very
strict specifications. This text can be created on your chosen word
processor, but be prepared to spend a lot of time going back and forth between
it and TeX. TeX is extremely picky about the input, so most of your time (at
least at first) will be spent debugging your text. The results are well worth
the effort however! I have been involved in the production of three books here
at the CCH (Toronto). We've produced the Humanities Yearbook which Willard and
Ian Lancashire co-edit as well as the companion volumes associated with the
Dynamic Text Conference held here a few months back. Being the local "TeXpert"
I am familiar with the amount of labour involved in the production of articles
and books using TeX. If you intend to use TeX either find a support person who
would be willing to help (preferably someone with TeX experience) or be
prepared for a long, hard struggle. I would recommend TeX only be used for the
production of books, journals, and possibly newsletters. The amount of labour
involved doesn't justify the use of TeX in anything smaller. If TeX seems too
intimidating (and it might to some), one might consider Ventura Publisher or
Pagemaker both of which are easier to use and produce only marginally worse
copy. The latest version of Ventura appears to have addressed many of the more
serious limitations obvious in earlier versions. I think one has to be clear
on exactly what are the intended uses of the above mentioned packages and make
their decision accordingly.

Michael Stairs
Site Coordinator
Centre for Computing in the Humanities
University of Toronto