Time Magazine: Man of the Millennium

Bernd Paysan bernd.paysan at gmx.de
Tue Sep 29 18:05:12 EST 1998


Matthias Warkus wrote:
> So what about TeX?
> It took a professor 7 (or was that 9?) years to develop, so I wonder whether a
> talented undergraduate can do it in his spare time, really, and don't tell me
> you don't need a text formatter.

If you compare Minix with Linux, you see what talented undergrads can do
in their spare time, and how they do compared with professors ;-). TeX
is fine, Don just made the fault not designing TeX as a general purpose
language from start (he admitted that - it got turing complete by
accident).

I think the problem of text formatters in Unix is as any other problem
in Unix: you just have too many formats (groff/troff, TeX, HTML, next
XML). What if the inventors of HTTP had chosen LaTeX as markup language
instead of developing their own? There would have been high quality
formatters (for printout) from start, there would have been
programmability (as in XML), and the few new \specials you have to learn
xdvi to become a browser wouldn't have been to difficult, either ;-).

-- 
Bernd Paysan
"Late answers are wrong answers!"
http://www.jwdt.com/~paysan/



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