TEX -- a mass-market product?
Or just an image in need of a makeover?


Abstract: If TEX systems are so good at typographics, why does the documentation look so Despite widespread acceptance in the scientific field and with some publishers, and recent advances in the Humanities, TEX systems have largely been publicised by word of mouth, and no-one can tell how many users there are. The commercial versions advertise in the relevant places but generic publicity for TeX is not common.

Users can be TEX's best advocates, but formal training is rare. Users learn mostly from colleagues -- themselves often ill-taught -- and acquire bad habits which are hard to overcome. The results are often responsible for the poor image TEX has had among most printers and publishers. Although TUG runs courses, it is hard to cover a geographically dispersed user population.

Support for TEX via the Internet is excellent, usually far in advance of any commercial system, but there is always a need for more introductory documentation aimed at the non-scientific user. Some installation help is also still needed, especially for the first-timer: the assumption that everyone is already a skilled computer user no longer holds.

This paper argues that the biggest need is for distributable publicity targeted at identifiable markets backed up by readable and presentable documentation. More of the power of TEX systems should be made use of in creating these documents.