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Quote by Knuth

From: Christopher Dimech
Subject: Quote by Knuth
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2021 19:57:08 +0200

> Sent: Monday, July 19, 2021 at 1:41 AM
> From: "Jean Louis" <>
> To: "Christopher Dimech" <>
> Cc:, "Emanuel Berg" <>
> Subject: Re: Quote by Knuth
> * Christopher Dimech <> [2021-07-18 16:18]:
> > Knuth is over-rated.  He did not invent anything.  Mathematical type-setting
> > had existed long before Knuth.  Today people have became obsessed with
> > typesetting, even though the most important thing is the information within
> > rather on how nice an alpha can be printed.
> When I see this email, I can read it as I know the expected format and
> I can quickly read and grasp. When I see typographical errors in a
> document which is so often the case with people using proprietary
> Microsoft Word, I tend to slow down and get as if author did not put
> attention on correct writing then it also influences
> understanding. Small things do matter and help in faster reading and
> thus faster learning. Without it, the information within one cannot
> easily understand or one may get difficulties. It just happens that I
> receive various applications written that way. Then I think if author
> did not put attention on proper writing then which other numbers are
> also neglected? This indication discovery method happen to be true all
> of the times. When you see serious formatting mistakes, you should
> know it is a tip of the iceberg. It does relate to literacy.
> > > Project has been programmed, it is finished and years pass, now come
> > > the new generation and that generation of people should be able to
> > > understand all details of the program in general. That understanding
> > > would come from literate programming.

Most are only interested to fix something or add something rather than 
understand it.
Used to work at a number of companies using software that nobody understood 
I was the only mathematician they had, and I have to tell you that my work was 
being funded by public money through some shady deal with the british 

There were a few small companies that developed math composition software 
before tex.
One was Science Typographers, whose program was used at tho American 
Society for about 20 years.

> > Mostly they trash it than trying to understand.  That happened to
> > me.  Simply gave up and done things again as I understand them.
> Is this because they rewrote it in other programming language?

Mostly because they got their own system and know it very well.  It is 
waste of money to have someone spend more than a few weeks going through another
company's code to understand it.  Basically they keep a copy somewhere, but in 
end almost nobody ever looks at the takeover code of other companies after 

The programming language is not so important, but how things work together is.

> Why not recommend Emacs Lisp? It is quite good for many office tasks.
> --
> Jean
> Take action in Free Software Foundation campaigns:
> In support of Richard M. Stallman

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