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Lout vs. desktop publishing systems

From: Jeffrey H Kingston
Subject: Lout vs. desktop publishing systems
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 1996 16:00:34 +0100

Are there any users of Lout out there who have also had experience
with high-end desktop publishing systems (FrameMaker, Interleaf,
possibly others)?  I would be interested to hear from you, if so;
I am trying to update my knowledge of the "competition" and how it
compares with Lout, since it is several years now since I looked
at them, and I would appreciate hearing of any experiences people
have had.

This prompts me to tell a funny story about an old version of one
of those systems, I forget which now.  There was a problem with
aligned equations such as

    f(x) = sin(x) + cos(y)

         = g(x) + cos(y)

         = g(x) + h(y)

or whatever.  The problem was that boxes could be aligned on their
edges but not on a point in their interior.  Consequently there
was no problem aligning lines 2 and 3 above, but there was no way
to align the first line properly.  So the advice was to zoom in,
do the alignment by eye, and zoom out again.

Another funny one that I saw in a demo was a system that would
"fill shapes with text".  The demo had a circle filled with text,
and you were invited to stretch the circle sideways into an
ellipse.  Sure enough, the text reformatted itself, very impressive.
So I decided to try stretching the circle vertically.  The lines
got further apart.  So I decided to shrink the circle vertically.
The lines got closer together and overstruck one another, creating
a totally unreadable mess.

Anyway, that was several years ago.  I'm not suggesting that the
current versions of these systems have such problems.  To judge
from the blurbs they put on the net, FrameMaker and Interleaf are
the answer to everything.

Jeff Kingston
address@hidden (until December)
address@hidden (still works fine, is being forwarded automatically)

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