scruss wrote: ↑
Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:38 pm
The major downside of TeX is the sheer size of the installation. I remember when the late Sebastian Rahtz announced TeX Live as a way of distributing a very useful TeX installation on one CD. It's now a couple of gigabytes.
The Klingon and Elvish fonts use too much space.
I remember running a version of plain TeX that included a quick previewer for the Hercules graphics card on an original IBM PC with a 20MB hard disk and 576K of RAM. It ran surprisingly well. There were also versions of LaTeX that used overlays for that same machine but the edit, format, preview cycle was too slow for me.
One advantage of using plain-text files is that this allows for easy processing by standard tools including git, diff, sed, grep and ispell. At the same time, just like C serves as a backend for other compilers because it is suitable and programmers are already familiar with it, so TeX serves as a backend for many printing and automatic report generating facilities because it is suitable and people who use it are already familiar with it. Creating mouse interfaces in front of it is tempting, but results in fewer people learning a general tool that can be useful for many other things. Using a mouse interface is also much slower compared to an experienced typist using vi.
As I get older I also appreciate more and more the visual advantage of being able to edit my documents in an xterm with a large font compared to squinting at a what-you-see-is-what-you-get representation of the printed page. At the same time, having a previewer open while editing in the xterm allows me to verify the formatting is reasonable.
It is also worth mentioning that reading a paragraph in the editor where the line breaks occur in grammatically logical places and then rereading the same paragraph after it has been flowed to fill up the margins on a sheet of paper allow many people to catch errors that they otherwise wouldn't.
I guess everyone has different needs and preferences.