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Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e, The

AuthorsTobias Oetiker, Hubert Partl, Irene Hyna, Elisabeth Schlegl Entered2001-01-08 12:59:33 by bcrowell
Editedit data record FreedomCopylefted: anyone can read, modify, and sell (disclaimer)
SubjectQ.A - Mathematics. Computer science (applications)
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http://tobi.oetiker.ch/
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Short, sweet, and to the point
by Ben Crowell (crowell09 at stopspam.lightandmatter.com (change 09 to current year)) on 2001-01-12 18:30:04, review #98
http://www.lightandmatter.com
content
better than 80%
writing
better than 80%
The subtitle of this sweet little book is "or LaTeX2e in 87 minutes," but it only took me about 30 minutes to read. I've been a conscientious objector to LaTeX ever since grad school, and I find that if I ever need to liven up a Slashdot discussion, I can always generate a few flames with a remark about how LaTeX would only seem advanced to you if you were used to turning in your work to the Computer Priests on punched cards. Nevertheless, a tool is just a tool, and sometimes even a silly old-fashioned tool is the right tool for the job. I appreciated how Oetiker took the time to explain why LaTeX is the way it is, and did it with a bit of dry humor, without taking it too seriously.

The book gets right down to business, and explains things clearly. Not only does it explain how to do things, it explains why they should be done a certain way. I'd first had to learn to deal with LaTeX because the physics journals I submitted to wouldn't take any other electronic format, but I'd never really learned LaTeX from the ground up. Since then, I've learned a lot about book design both by reading books and from the experience of laying out my own physics textbooks with WYSIWYG software. Although I was a student with a Bad Attitude, I found myself nodding sympathetically as Prof. Oetiker explained what good print design is and how LaTeX encourages it.

As befits a book about how to make beautiful publications, this is a beautifully done book. I didn't notice a single typo, and although the authors apparently aren't native English speakers, the text is nearly always idiomatic is graceful.

Information wants to be free, so make some free information.


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