University College Cork, Ireland
Abstract: TEX and LATEX systems have proved successful in providing high-quality, affordable typesetting from the desktop. This success has tended to disguise some of the less felicitous design decisions made in good faith in earlier days. These are now making it harder to keep LATEX-based systems in line with user expectations, as the defaults remain rooted in a document model which fails to reflect reality.
Of the thousands of LATEX packages, many have already tackled the allied problems of providing better formatting configuration management, and of adding new formatting features. This paper presents an attempt to tackle two of the more deep-seated problem: providing an improved document model and providing fixes for what many users perceive (wrongly) as bugs.
The document model is compared with current practice elsewhere in the text field; the fixes answer the top dozen or so user requests from the various FAQs and questions asked on comp.text.tex. The changes are presented as a standard LATEX2e package (vulcan) which allows LATEX to match more closely the way that authors write and edit documents, as well as providing improved appearance.