[texhax] Doubts regarding the TeX & Latex

doug waud douglas.waud at umassmed.edu
Wed Jul 23 16:55:28 CEST 2003


stalin nadarajan wrote:
> Hello Sir,

> i seen your site but i cant understood the tex and latex files.
> what is the tex and latex

I suggest you start with
the web site of the TeX User's Group. Start with the History of TeX link.

> difference between (DTP- Tex)

The standard, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, answer is that with WYSIWYG is 
What you see is *all* you get". The point is that TeX produces a far 
more elegant and professional end product especially for mathematics.

The other significant difference is that TeX, like GNU and Linux is 
free, in two contexts. Most importantly, is the sense that the source 
code if free to be seen by everyone. This means that the user is no 
longer dependent upon one company for support and it also means there is 
a large number of people out there making the software work. Like the 
Linux kernel, TeX is rock solid (in fact TeX was the paradigm for such 
behavior; it has not demonstrated a bug for years!). The second sense of 
  free is that the software is available at no cost (you can pay for 
commercial versions; what you then get is some explicit support, 
especially in the case of Linux).

> what is the ratio between them

I don't know exactly what you mean by this but suspect you refer to 
useage. As is usual, and contrary to a lot of popular belief, this is 
determined not by technical merit but by marketting. The wide use of a 
dog like Micro$oft Windows demonstrates that point. Certainly the great 
perponderance of those writing documents appear to use M$Word.

> please send the tex.file format to my e-mail id

You are talking about hundreds of megabytes of files here! TeX is a very 
extensive system. Again start at the TUG site to get a better feel for 

One final word. I am a Pharmacologist professionally and my students 
continually complain about all the detail they have to master. My 
response is that their patients will appreciate the resultant better 
control of drugs! The same thing applies with software. If you want to 
do a good job you have to invest some effort. Unfortunately, for a lot 
of people this means throwing away time spend trying to figure out how 
Windows and Word behave (and misbehave if the pages and pages of advice 
on how to fix bugs is journals like PC Magazine are any indication.) :-)

Don't panic. Take it one step at a time and you'll find there's a 
marvellous world out there you have just stumbled onto!


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