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Old   August 19, 2002, 00:29
Default what is LaTeX ??
  #1
yfyap
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hi there, sorry for this is no directly related to cfd. i'm preparing papers for journal. to submit the manuscripts, the editor requests the documentation be made using LaTeX. What is LateX? something like microsoft word? where can i get it? thanks in advance. regards, yfyap
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Old   August 19, 2002, 02:20
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
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Free_and_SIMPLE
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Google is your friend.If you are preparing a paper for publication you should be able to find information about LaTeX using a search engine.

Hint : Skip the results related to erotica.

Regards.
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Old   August 19, 2002, 05:51
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
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andy
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If you are used to word this is probably a much better place to start than raw latex:

http://www.lyx.org/

It generates latex as output but has a more straightforward front end which can be mastered in an hour or two rather than the days needed to get to grips with latex. (However, if you want to use tex/latex in anger then it is probably not a wise choice). There is a windows version.

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Old   August 19, 2002, 08:51
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
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Axel Rohde
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LaTex is a word processor that turns pseudo-code into formatted text and special characters, for example mathematical equations. You can also use this code to construct graphs and figures. Unlike Microsoft Word, which is very intuitive to use, because it is based on the 'what you see is what you get' principle , LateX can take weeks to learn, to be somewhat proficient. I would stay away from it if I were you. Tell your publisher that you are a scientist and not a secretary, and if he is concerned about special formatting of your paper, he should hire someone.
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Old   August 19, 2002, 09:26
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
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J
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Some chance of an editor taking that kind of reply!
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Old   August 19, 2002, 09:57
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
  #6
Praveen C
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You can get all the software at www.tug.org
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Old   August 19, 2002, 10:12
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
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andy
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Hmmm. I think I can guess the likely response from most publishers and academics to this.

Tex predates word by 15 years at a guess (mid 70s? - confirmation anyone?) and is a language for type setting and formatting text. Latex is a set of macros for tex. Tex and latex were projects funded by scientific publishers to address the problems of producing high quality technical documents. They have been standards for decades and are likely to remain so for quite some time yet.

Many years ago I wrote reports and, particularly, my thesis using IBM's displaywrite wordprocessor (I think that was the name). At that time IBM probably dominated the hardware and software at the company I worked more strongly than Microsoft does today. I turned down the suggestion I should use tex/latex because I was not interested in the nice layout. As is often the case, things move in circles and it would be really useful to access that information today.

I then moved onto using Framemaker in the late 80s (still probably the "best" document processor in terms of convenience for quality of output). After a few machine changes at my end and a few ownership changes at the Framemaker end (Adobe are the current owners) my license does not work. More lost work (although recoverable at a price and foregoing a point of principle).

I have now finally got the point and generate any significant work in tex format. The quality of output is high but, far more importantly, my work is safe.

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Old   August 19, 2002, 10:39
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
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Axel Rohde
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"Tex predates word by 15 years at a guess (mid 70s? - confirmation anyone?) and is a language for type setting and formatting text. Latex is a set of macros for tex. Tex and latex were projects funded by scientific publishers to address the problems of producing high quality technical documents. They have been standards for decades and are likely to remain so for quite some time yet."

I have been in academics for 15 years now. First as a student, now as a professor. During those 15 years I have known only two professors who wrote their papers in LaTeX. I don't argue that it is a powerful package. I just think for most people MS Word is a lot easier to learn and to use.

The difference between using MS Word and LaTex is equivalent to producing web pages with MS FrontPage or writing it directly in HTML. Same thing there! Unless you are an expert, you probably chose FrontPage over HTML coding.

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Old   August 19, 2002, 11:20
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
  #9
alex
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If you have some experience in scripting, it should take you a couple of days to be able to prepare good quality documents (assuming you already have it installed, otherwise this could be painful), most problems would come from graphics formats (I think eps would be best). In my experience LaTeX is very good with equations, graphics, eqs. numbering, never misplaces those unlike word, but do get a good reference book.
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Old   August 19, 2002, 11:22
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
  #10
Axel Rohde
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I think we, as engineers and scientists, should stand up to some of these arrogant publishers and defend our intellectual property better. After all, you no longer need a 'reputable' journal these days to publish something. Anyone can upload a PDF to a web site. And if you make the download free of charge, more people are likely to read it. For example, about a hundred people a month download my dissertation from my website. If I had submitted it to UMI, which charges a considerable fee for downloading even the PDF, I think only a handful of people would have read it over the last 20 months. And the 'royalties' that UMI pays is truly a joke!

The same thing goes for publishing papers. I recently filed a major complaint with AIAA customer service, because they have the audacity to charge $15 to $25 for a PDF download of a single paper (member/non-member fee). And AIAA certainly does not pay their authors any royalties from the money they collect online. I think the least these 'reputable' publishers could do for all this free revenue is do the formatting work.

I have often been thinking about devoting part of my website to 'hassle free' publication for anyone who wants to publish a paper on CFD. Absolutely no formatting requirements, as long as the file is in PDF. For quality assurance of these papers, I could implement a peer review process, where everyone could post their response or fill out a basic questionnaire after reading it. If a paper does not meet peer review standards, it will eventually get deleted. I currently don't have the web software to run this kind of application, but I think this would be a great service. Perhaps I can get some feedback on that.
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Old   August 19, 2002, 11:44
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
  #11
Axel Rohde
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Thanks for the info, but I will stick to MS Word. If you buy the full version of 'MathType' from Design Science (what comes with Word is only the demo version), equation editing and numbering is a cinch. I enjoy using it, and it never 'screws up'. Sorry, but I hate scripting!

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Old   August 19, 2002, 12:12
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
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andy
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Not sure I got my main point across but:

* Of the people currently in this building (not many since it is the middle of August) 3 write or generate latex, 2 use both latex and word and 1 uses just word. I find it very hard to understand your figure of just 2 in 15 years unless the department has made a policy to use Word.

* Directly writing untyped meta-data and data into a file is not a particularly good way of going about things in my opinion (we are in agreement here).

* My experience of Word is not extensive and has been generally poor. It was slow, awkward, intrusive and contained unacceptable bugs for a 10 year old widely used and developed program. Those bugs were the root of a remarkable amount of people's wasted time.

* I do not know what MS Front Page is but presume it is an HTML authoring program. Personally, I generate html from the same source as my paper copies which avoids having to mess about with either native html or MS Front Page (unless I have misguessed its function).

* To end on a provocative statement: when pressed I have found that most people who champion the poorer Microsoft products (as opposed to those simply resigned to using them) have no real experience or understanding of the alternatives. (The same can be said of almost all C/C++ advocates in my experience but that would be another, largely pointless, thread).
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Old   August 19, 2002, 12:58
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
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Axel Rohde
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"To end on a provocative statement: when pressed I have found that most people who champion the poorer Microsoft products (as opposed to those simply resigned to using them) have no real experience or understanding of the alternatives."

I have taken a good look at LaTex source code for relatively simple papers and it is NOT for me. Sorry! On the other hand, I wrote my dissertation and papers with MS Word with relative ease, and the 'bugs' that I have encountered during the past ten years of using Word, I have always found convenient ways to work around them. I am just a WYSIWYG type of person. Just like I prefer Windows point & click over the old DOS command line.
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Old   August 19, 2002, 16:47
Default Re: dealing with journals
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Pete
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While your statement is true that "anyone can upload a PDF file" to publish electronically, the "reputable" journals, like them or not, are what is generally recognized and accepted by the technical community. If you were to apply for a faculty or research position and state "I have 20 publications on Joe Blow's web site" you would likely get laughed out of the room.

As for AIAA papers, even if you retain the copyright, you're giving them permisson to publish your work when you submit the paper, and hence they can charge whatever they wish for it. Other organizations (ASME, SAE, etc.) are similar. SAE charges $10 per paper I believe.

Placing dissertations online, as you have, is a great service to those researching CFD topics and the practice seems to be quite popular. However here again, this publication is from a "reputable" institution, your university. Gaining acceptance of online publications not connected with established journals I imagine will be quite an uphill fight.
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Old   August 19, 2002, 17:41
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
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Wen Long
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I support Axel Rohde. WYSIWYG is much more straight forward than latex scripting. There are some bugs in word, but certainly getting better and better. Unfortunately, my advisor hates MS things and I have to take the pain to use latex now. Think about how powerful PowerPoint is nowadays for presentation. If stick to latex, it's going to be awkward.

longwen
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Old   August 19, 2002, 20:40
Default Re: dealing with journals
  #16
Axel Rohde
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"While your statement is true that "anyone can upload a PDF file" to publish electronically, the "reputable" journals, like them or not, are what is generally recognized and accepted by the technical community. If you were to apply for a faculty or research position and state "I have 20 publications on Joe Blow's web site" you would likely get laughed out of the room."

Absolutely true, but I think that will change in the next ten years. It is much more convenient to do research from your computer terminal than having to travel over 100km (like in my case) to find a full selection of relevant journals that are not available locally. I think libraries, the way we know them, will disappear one day altogether. It is much more economic to store things electronically, both for the provider and the recipient.

"As for AIAA papers, even if you retain the copyright, you're giving them permission to publish your work when you submit the paper, and hence they can charge whatever they wish for it. Other organizations (ASME, SAE, etc.) are similar. SAE charges $10 per paper I believe."

That is not my point. I pay $85 a year for my AIAA membership, and I really don't see why I should be charged $15 for every paper I download from their site. After all, who wrote these papers in the first place, and for whom? - A professional society should serve its members, especially if it considers itself to be 'non-profit'.

"Placing dissertations online, as you have, is a great service to those researching CFD topics and the practice seems to be quite popular. However here again, this publication is from a "reputable" institution, your university. Gaining acceptance of online publications not connected with established journals I imagine will be quite an uphill fight."

Personally, I would much rather have my paper judged by a large group of peers than a small panel of referees. And as far as the uphill battle is concerned I am willing to take the risk. My web space is already paid for; all I need is find someone to develop the software. Unless you have signed over your copyright to AIAA, ASME, etc., nothing stops you from submitting your 'reputably published' paper to a free independent online publisher as well to gain a larger audience.
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Old   August 19, 2002, 22:07
Default Re: dealing with journals
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Pete
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You make some good points. Small panels of referees can sometimes be biased for or against your methods, and that can make manuscript submission luck of the draw.

I agree that additional online journals and other online publication forums will come about eventually. What will be interesting is to see what the process is of how they become accepted as the "traditional" journals have. It would likely take some big recognizable names as reviewers to attract attention and establish credibility in the eyes of the community. That perception I see as being the uphill battle I refer to, but sure, it could be done.

Until then formatting your manuscripts and such is a game we have to play.
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Old   August 19, 2002, 23:09
Default Re: dealing with journals
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Axel Rohde
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I think change will come in due time, perhaps ultimately driven by economics. Look at this forum for instance. It is a great service FOR the community provided BY the community. And it is all paid for by advertising, with no third 'non-profit' parties milking us in the process. Eventually the same thing will happen to journal publishing.

Just take a look at the financial world were things are much more market driven and where people embrace change. Before the advent of the Internet, investors used to spend a fortune every year to get live stock quotes on their computer. Now there are myriad providers who offer the service free of charge through paid advertising.
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Old   August 20, 2002, 03:11
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
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Jonas Larsson
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LaTeX has been a standard in scientific publishing for a long time. I wrote my thesis in LaTeX and I aslo write all my papers in LaTeX. It is an excellent tool for writing scientific texts - produces beatiful eqations and helps you with a lot of buildt in typesetting rules. It is very different from MS Word - much tougher to get started with but a trusted friend once you've got to know it.

LaTeX, builds on TeX, which was developed originally by Donald Knuth (a legend in computer science). You write the text with latex formatting codes in a text-editor and then "compile" to something printable in latex. LaTeX is also a standard in leadiong online publishing sites like http://arxiv.org/ .

I haven't installed latex for some time now but last i checked the best Linux/Unix LaTeX distribution was probably tetex (http://www.tug.org/tetex/). I think that this come pre-installed with most complete linux distributions. For windows MikTex is probably best (http://www.miktex.org/).

For more LaTeX info see http://www.tux.org or http://www.latex-project.org.
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Old   August 20, 2002, 09:15
Default Re: what is LaTeX ??
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yfyap
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thank you.
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