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IBM OEM Font followup, plus misc. Lout comments

From: Frank Sergeant
Subject: IBM OEM Font followup, plus misc. Lout comments
Date: Tue, 02 Sep 1997 14:53:19 -0500

First, the good news:

Again, I would like to thank everyone, especially Uwe, for
the help in my quest to print IBM PC screen images.

My current solution is to create the screen image figure
as a raw Postscript file.  I wrote the screen capture facility
that I include in the DOS application, so I have full control
of exactly what I write out to the screen image file.  I
have it write out directly the raw Postscript code and the
screen image character codes, with proper (at least workable)
Postscript file header information (especially a Bounding Box),
so the files are includable in a document without further

For anyone else interested in this, I have put my Postscript
code for reencoding the IBM Courier font, for use in raw
Postscript, plus the Lout IBM.LCM file for recoding the font
for use under Lout, on my web site on my Postscript page.


Now for some comments about my experiences with Lout:

     From the start, I _loved_ the idea of Lout.  A year
and a half ago I started trying to use Lout for my master's
thesis.  I was terribly frustrated with it.  I found its
at signs ("@") so much easier to type than LaTeX's backslashes,
I loved the way "where one object can go, any object can go",
the ability to write Lout functions, etc.  But, I hit errors
that I couldn't understand and couldn't work around.  I
almost decided to try to create a minimal Lout file illustrating
the errors and posting it here for your help, but I was
(and still am) under considerable stress and time pressure.
Reluctantly, I abandoned Lout and used LaTeX instead for
my thesis (which is now finished, thank PUF @Footnote{Probably
Unknown Factors}), because I just had to "get on with it!".
I reasoned that TeX and LaTeX had been beat upon by so many
more people that there was a greater chance of TeX/LaTeX being
bug free.  Also, there were books available for TeX/LaTeX.
Also, whenever I got errors in TeX/LaTeX, I could understand
and cure them.  This, although perhaps entirely my fault,
was not my experience with Lout.

     Then, recently, when I agreed to take over converting
this DOS application's user manual, I thought I would once
again try doing it in Lout.  Again, I hit errors I couldn't
understand (I was using Lout 3.08).  This time, I downloaded
the source for Lout 3.10 and compiled it (under Linux), and
the errors went away.  But, I was still getting behavior
that I couldn't make sense of.  In particular, the boxes
that I put the screen image figures into would sometimes
come out right (tightly surrounding the screen image figure),
but other times would take up much more space, more or
less filling a page.  I suppose this problems stems from
me not having a proper conceptual model of how Lout works,
but it was the "straw that broke the camel's back" and I
went back to TeX/LaTeX.  I now have a working document and
a printable manual, complete with the screen images in
boxes the right size.  I haven't completely given up hope
for using Lout some day.  The manual is not my major project,
I just wanted it out of the way so I could get on with other
projects.  Perhaps eventually I will try to put together a
minimal example document to post for your comments.

     I am not a great LaTeX enthusiast.  I find it somewhat
difficult to dig out information from Leslie Lamport's
book.  I have found some helpful information in Norman
Walsh's _Making TeX Work_ (O'Reilly & Associates), but
overall, I don't enjoy that book much.  I am much happier
with Donald Knuth's _The TeX Book_, as far as writing
quality goes.

  -- Frank

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