[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [seul-edu] Re: perl or......

On 5 Dec 2000, Michael Totschnig wrote:
> your arguments for Latex seem all very convincing for me, but only
> because I already know Latex and use it. If we try to propose Latex
> for education to teachers and students who are not familiar with it
> yet, I think other arguments have to be chosen.  

The best thing any learner can hear is :"it's easy to learn".
LaTeX can be easy if you have been lucky choosing the right
tools: Leslie Lamport books .
Certainly, there's not designed a "marketing" strategy for 
creating a widespread base of users. TeX people like very complex
stuff and frankly, they seem to be in another world. I attended
to the 1st meeting of CervanTeX, Spanish speaking users of TeX,
and in one conference J. Bezos were talking about very specific
uses of periods and apostrophes in Spanish, a bit startling...
But then Yannis Yarambolous talked about his Omega, about Unicode,
and about how to apostrophe mongols characters, I was
mongols character may have up to three kinds of tilde....
Well, TeXperts like these are the sort of things, very "hard"
and "useless" for the most of people.

I've tried many times, many ways to convince them in (comp.text.tex)
or in mailing list to get down to the real people, to develop a
single unified tool where all available knowledge of TeX would be.
Because, that's another advantage of LaTeX, lots of docs, easy,
difficult, beautiful, ugly,... 
If we had such a big tool comprising examples and doc,it'd be
easy to learn. That thing is TeEncontreX, regretfully, TeX community
is not interested in such effort ( they go on looking at their belly).

Comp.text.tex is available for anyone with www access, www.deja.com
The sad story is that most questions you may have have been already
answered. If _any_ marking system of keywords or  whatever would
have been done, we could have that tool generated automatically
from Comp.text.tex. 

I think most people are short-sighted. TeX world ignores newbees.
Non-TeX world uses Word, even if they had Linux, ok, some uses
StarOffice, Kword,.... But while most Linuxers would be happy 
to help in improving, let's say, the gimp or kernel, and many
do get involved, there seems no need to help in improving the 
help systems of LaTeX, and that's the only help needed  because
 from a technical point of view LaTeX is mature and highly advanced. 

I think that we're living in the middle of a process. The Open 
Source mentality is spreading, but even, within converted people
there's no perception that they can become producers, and that 
even small ammounts of the help they can provide can make a lot
of good.

For example, for my TeEncontreX:


It took my 30 hours of my life. It's 200 articles long. The TeX
community is about the 100,000 , probably more, if just a tiny
fraction, 1 % would invest 1 hour of his life. Maybe the definitive
tool for learning TeX could be done. 

And you know, they don't help because they have books, because
they have their problem solved, they are not 100 % open source,
just 50 % or 30 %.

The basics of LaTeX are easy to learn, the difficult stuff is 
to get the most out of it. And that's because the overwhelming
ammount of power and documentation available. 

> Above all you cannot deny that Latex is not accesible for every
> individual on its own, it needs an institutional context, like a local
> user community that provides a well administered system, and helps in
> the burdensome first steps in using Latex,

www.deja.com --> Comp.text.tex , more than enough. They're patient,
nice, intelligent people.

> and shows how to find the
> necessary ressources for answering the questions you keep running into
> even if you are already on an experienced level.  If this context is
> given, I think Latex can be a very intersting tool in education,
> - because it helps to learn principles of structured document
> preparation
> - because a local community can develop its classes of style, which
> are then easily usable by everybody.
> - because it helps to develop an ethics of computing based on open
> standards of communication
> For example educational computing provides many standardized text
> genres like exams, homework, reviews of assigned readings. With Latex
> an educational community can develop styles for this genres that
> improve the logical and typographic quality of these documents.

That's another question lots of university have done such things,
but they don't give it for free in the internet, they think they
own or they own copyright over them. 

I see there's a kind of struggle within TeX guys, they are from
a pre-GNU era, they've lived, they live in some cases, out of the
Linux turmoil, nonetheless the enjoy the benefits of the Openness
(Perestroika ?),  they aren't interested in become active part of it.
They want to own his own stuff.

Every year there're a couple of new books about TeX, probably
they don't add anything new, anything interesting, but the author
certainly wants some bucks or a bigger curriculum. Anyway, it's
unconceivable for them to work for a high-quality piece doc that
is not going to pay them any benefit. 

Frankly, that's the reason I don't have a single book of LaTeX, 
certainly, I've had a harder time with "free" docs than I'd have
had with Lamport book, I don't care, TeX authors are still too
selfish to deserve support from me. 

Of course, I repented myself from not using Word many times, but
 once you
pass it, you can do anything. I've even created "face-shaped" 
paragraphs. Really, TeX is an unconceivable big world, and the 
limits are almost unknown. 

Is this insulting ? or just the ugly, day-by-day reality? it's
not the sun shining in every place of Open-Source-land. In some
regions the darkness prevails, still.

www.ctv.es/USERS/irmina    /TeEncontreX.html   /texpython.htm
/pyttex.htm /cruo/cruolinux.htm ICQ:77697936 (sirve el ICQ para algo?)