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**To**:*Multiple recipients of list LATEX-L <LATEX-L@RELAY.URZ.UNI-HEIDELBERG.DE>***Subject**:**Some comments on Hans Aberg's points****From**:*Johannes Kuester <kuester@MATHEMATIK.TU-MUENCHEN.DE>***Date**: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 14:53:48 +0200- Reply-To: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <LATEX-L@RELAY.URZ.UNI-HEIDELBERG.DE>
- Sender: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <LATEX-L@RELAY.URZ.UNI-HEIDELBERG.DE>

-- Commutative diagrams: This is surely rather hard to do in TeX. But that is because this is rather a picture than math text. It would be desirable too to have an easy way to do some similar things in TeX, e.g. writing in Frege's Begriffsschrift (if only for historical reasons). So TeX is surely confined here or at least complicated to use, but as for diagrams: they could be done in MetaPost quite easily. May be only a set of the needed arrows (arrowheads and arrowtails) is missing here (or at least a standard for them). Anyway this is far better than the approach via TeX directly, as it seems almost impossible to have a set of glyphs for all things demanded here (arrows at the right lenght, with the correct inclination, correct placement of letters relative to the arrows). So this doesn't seem to be a strong point against TeX to me. -- Other systems: Writing with a typewriter doesn't seem to be a serious alternative, and I doubt that it will be faster in most cases. And as for the other systems I can't find any point against TeX here other than "complicated to use" or "too time-comsuming". That is too commonplace as long as no better way is given explicitly. I simply doubt that other systems are superior here when one wishes to get the same quality as with TeX. So please give explicit examples, then these points could be considered. Of course, some mathematicians don't type at all (e.g. Erd"os never did it), but somebody has to do the work, and still seeing books done in typewriter means fear and loathing time for me. I don't know why any publishing house should still allow this. -- Rules for mathematical typography: Hans Abergs arguments here esentially boil down to "most mathematicians don't know about rules for typography, if they would know, they wouldn't like to follow them, and they couldn't care less about typography anyway". This seems rather true to me, but it is certainly nothing to be proud of. And it is nothing that this list should be concerned with in the first place. Typography is not about personal taste (or only to a very limited extent), so the position of most mathematicians always reminds me of someone always setting "j" instead of "e" in plain text, just because he likes it better this way, thus greatly increasing the readability. Of course, a mathematician could use his very own special symbols in his handwriting, even may be in a lecture, but when it comes to printing and publication, he should be well aware of existing standards and rules, only leaving them when appropriate because of a mathematical necessity. If mathematicians prefer systems other than TeX, quite well, as long as they achieve at least equally good typography and readability. If not, this seems to be rather ignorance than better knowledge. What we should be concerned with here is how to make LaTeX easily usable for those mathematicians who would like to follow good rules and traditions, and may be how to trick the unknowing mathematicians to use them rather unwillingly (e.g. by supplying appropriate control sequences, but this doesn't seem very realistic). We can't make TeX foolproof or DAU-proof (Duemmster Anzunehmender User, cf. The New Hacker's dictionary), TeX can't keep mathematicians from misusing it and from misusing their own symbols, but it shouldn't support them in doing so, as far as possible. Johannes Kuester -- Johannes Kuester kuester@mathematik.tu-muenchen.de Mathematisches Institut der Technischen Universitaet Muenchen

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