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2005 Jul 06 15:50

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Re: [vox] Survey: What do YOU use Linux for?
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Re: [vox] Survey: What do YOU use Linux for?



On Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 05:26:03PM -0400, David Hummel wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 02:04:10PM -0700, Norm Matloff wrote:
> > 
> > On Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 04:14:00PM -0400, David Hummel wrote:
> > 
> > > You can add Prosper to the list as one example of a Powerpoint
> > > replacement for creating presentations.
> > 
> > If Bill is going to compile this list, he should probably mention the
> > "why" part.
> > 
> > In the case of Prosper, I would say that the phrase "Powerpoint
> > replacement" is not doing it justice.  Again, if that were all that
> > mattered, one could simply use OpenOffice.  Instead, to me the point
> > is that Prosper (or other similar LaTeX packages) allows me to (more
> > or less) seamlessly convert what I have in document form to
> > presentation form.  This is especially important in that Powerpoint
> > doesn't handle math well at all.
> 
> Right.  LaTeX + Prosper > Powerpoint.

I'm not sure I agree that the above assertion is necessarily true.

In particular, Powerpoint provides a lot of snazzy animation-oriented
features that you or I could probably care less about, but that many
sales teams, etc. could not leave without.

OTOH, Powerpoint obviously does not provide good maths support, and does
not provide a good model for converting content to presentation (as Norm
points out). So it really depends where your values are at. But in
general, I would not consider your inequality to be accurate.

Technically, I believe PDF does support snazzy animations, through the
use of embedded JavaScript, so you could embed the appropriate PDF
information into pdfLaTeX-specific documents, with a lot of effort.
Alternatively (and much better), someone could write a tool that does
this for you, which would probably make

  LateX + Prosper + ??? >> Powerpoint

(double angle brackets being, "much greater than").

> This is a good example of the UNIX philosophy of how using modular
> programs allows you to produce output that is better than what the
> corresponding bloatware can give you ;-)

In general, I heartily agree with this. However, I am noticing a trend
in GUI-based Linux apps to depart from this most excellent philosophy.

I also really think Mac OS X developers should get into this idea.

One of my favorite pipeline examples, though it is now fairly obsolete,
is the one that the Dragon Book claims to have been typeset with. I
don't have the book with me at the moment, but it was something on the
order of

  pic doc-source | tbl | troff

The convention was to embed code in the "pic" and "tbl" languages into
the source troff document. running pic on the troff source would replace
the embedded "pic" statements with corresponding troff code, outputting
the rest as-is. tbl did the same thing with "tbl" code, and then troff
would typeset the results. BTW, TeX users who are not aware of pic
should give it a look; it's a rather ingeneous, though fairly basic,
language for describing technical illustrations in text format.

-- 
Micah J. Cowan
micah@cowan.name
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