[texhax] Latex: dumbing down? (fwd)

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Fri Aug 25 17:45:09 CEST 2006

Barbara's reply was much butter, but thought this should make it into  
the archives:

First, $$...$$ is deprecated (see l2tabu on CTAN for more such).

What you'd actually want to do for this is to define an environment  
which temporarily redefines the setting of the equation # as  
something like (\textasterisk) (assuming you're loading textcomp),  
restoring the previous definition after the environment.

LaTeX is built on top of Plain, 'cause it's what was available ---  
I've often wondered of creating something else on raw TeX would make  
for a better environment, but given the very sturdy and well-tested  
structure of Plain, think it'd take a long time and a lot of  
(duplicated) effort to get something useful. Ideally anything in  
LaTeX is re-defined using Plain TeX in terms of LaTeX primitives  
which are then used for creating the balance of LaTeX (this sort of  
thing will get better w/ LaTeX3).

And there's nothing innately wrong w/ using a \def when the situation  
calls for it --- but it's also very nice to be able to be able to use  
LaTeX's ability to define macros w/ starred versions and optional  

That said, Achim Blumensath's ANT (Ant is Not TeX) looks very useful  
and promising.


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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