While working on the (still in progress) TAOC, he was unhappy with the quality of typesetting provided by his publishers, and created TeX and Metafont, as well as the concept of Literate Programming and a whack of associated algorithms.
The LaTeX Catalogue Online is an up-to-date reference of TeX and LaTeX tools and packages (mostly available on CTAN). It consists of a simple alphabetic list of entries with brief descriptions of the various tools and packages. Each entry contains a number of links, including a link to the location of the package on the local CTAN, links to any known formatted documentation (in PDF, Postscript and DVI), and a link to download the selected package to your local host.
The Full Catalogue is quite big (over 400K). If you find the Catalogue useful and you regularly access it, you may find it more convenient to download your own copy of it.
Showing off some neat works created using TeX.
Once published by O'Reilly, this book is now freely available.
LaTeX Songbook Style from Chris Rath
My document class for handling 5 1/2" by 8" pages for my Day Planner
tth is supposed to be be better than LaTeX2HTML.
See also SGML Converters
Linking to resources on common paper styles including MLA, APA, Chicago, CSE.
TeX basix - a BASIC implementation written using TeX
This is an ongoing project with the aim of providing a help file for LaTeX (and his friends like ConTeXt, Metapost, Metafont, etc.) using a state-of-the-art source format, aka DocBook/XML.
This excellent TeX reference has been declared out of print, with rights reverted to the authors. The authors have made the book available under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Why is LaTeX and/or TeX more useful than choose random crashy Windows word processor ?
Let me count the ways
TeX was created because Donald E. Knuth got sick of the mangling that his mathematical expressions went through when publishers typeset his (highly acclaimed) works.
Microsoft Word and WordPerfect contain subsystems that essentially emulate the older eqn system which was one of the alternatives that Knuth found inadequate for professional use.
There is no tool better than TeX/ LaTeX for creating mathematical documents that are to be published.
Stability and robustness
The source of TeX has been published for many years now, and there has been a running "bounty" on bug reports; there are no known bugs of any significance.
Based on their architecture, TeX and LaTeX cannot do the typical Word thing, which is to crash and destroy your document.
TeX has been run on practically any kind of computer system in existence that can have 512K or more of memory. MS-DOS, OS/2, Unix, VMS, MVS, Apple Mac, Atari TOS, Amiga, GCOS, MS-Windows, ...
Document portability and longevity
Documents can be moved to all of the kinds of platforms listed above, and platforms that are still to come. LaTeX has been quite good at supporting old documents with newer software.
Documents can be printed to a variety of sorts of printers, and aside from issues that result specifically from resolution changes, where "more is generally better," the output should be identical.
TeX knows how to kern, use ligatures, and has an "optimal hyphenation" algorithm. Output is vastly more attractive than that produced by word processors.
LaTeX does many useful things very easily
It provides robust tools for managing components of complex documents such as figures, references, bibliographies, table of contents, indexes.
Uses "tagged" text files, normally ASCII
It is easy to write programs to turn data into LaTeX or TeX documents.
The use of text also provides improved portability and robustness. Text management tools such as RCS can be used to quite efficiently manage documents.
There is no problem in throwing simply enormous documents at TeX or LaTeX.
Just for grins, I tossed some formatting at start and end of a copy of the Gutenburg Project edition of the King James Bible, and threw it at LaTeX.
About ten minutes later, I had a gi-normous Postscript file several thousand pages long, ready to be "Ghostviewed." That was on an old 486 box with slow disk. It would be significantly faster on more modern hardware. On a 386 box with 2MB of RAM, processing would be slower, but TeX would have no problems handling the document.
No doubt I could do some TeX hacking and make it automagically handle new chapters.
In contrast, I often see PCs with 16MB of RAM fall apart with Word documents a mere ten pages long.
LaTeX is free
LaTeX's files are in a non-proprietary, widely understood format.
Keeping track of citations across documents is a trival task with bibTeX.
You can write programs in virtually any computer language to generate LaTeX files.
Consistant layout, everywhere, all the time.
Proper handling of floating figures.
Non-flaky page, figure, and section numbering schemes.
Automagically generated indices, table-of-contents, and title-pages.
Word Processors: Stupid and Inefficient has a somewhat similar discussion.
<email@example.com> Michael Stutz wrote:
The following is what I normally use to print a 10 envelope; fill in the blanks for FROM and TO addresses, then:
tex envelope.tex; dvips -t landscape -m envelope.dvi
% envelope.tex % Print a #10 envelope \font\cmssa = cmss12 \font\cmssc = cmss14 %setup: \parindent 0 pt\nopagenumbers\parskip 10 pt \hsize 9.5 in\vsize 3.25 in \voffset 3.5 in \cmssc %document: FROM-NAME FROM-STREET ADDRESS FROM-CITY, STATE, \ ZIP \vskip .5 in\vskip 15 pt\parindent 3 in TO-NAME TO-STREET ADDRESS TO-CITY, STATE, \ ZIP \end
Different vendors give the same fonts different names. This list tries to reconcile the differences.
Bitstream sells a very nice set of 500 fonts that are of decent quality in both Apple True Type and Adobe Type 1 form as the "Bitstream 500." The Type 1 fonts include the afm font metric files that are required to use these fonts in conjunction with TeX.