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Re: Preaching DSSSL (Re: using LOUT)

From: Sean Russell
Subject: Re: Preaching DSSSL (Re: using LOUT)
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 02:50:17 -0700 (PDT)

On  2 Sep, Paul Prescod wrote:
>> I am a newcomer to Lout myself, but it doesn't take very long to
>> realize how much superior it is to {La}TeX.  Just browse through, say,
>> Leslie Lamport's latex book, and the Lout manuals.  The first book is
>> full of exceptions, don't dos, and chicken wavings.
> That's true, and its what attracted me to Lout over LaTeX, but it is
> worth noting that a DSSSL user should never see either Lout or LaTeX so
> Lout's usability advantages become substantially less overwhelming. On
> the other hand, if Lout's usability allowed the Lout back-end to
> progress more quickly than the TeX back-end, then that would be an
> advantage. If it more reliably produced high quality output then that
> would be another advantage.

There are three immediate advantages I can see to using a Lout backend
over a LaTeX backend, the value of each you can decide for yourselves:

1) Lout is a /much/ smaller distribution.  It is much easier to install
and maintain than LaTeX.  Lout fits on a single floppy.  LaTeX won't
fit on most harddrives ;-)

2) Lout translates directly to Postscript, which is what most people
are after.  Using a LaTeX backend requires that you do the LaTeX thing,
deal with any failed dependancies there, and then run it through DVIPS.
This translates into more complication and more opportunity for failure.

3) The LaTeX support in Jade is not a complete solution.  To use the
LaTeX backend, you have to download and install additional packages from
CTAN.  Additionally, (and I'm not saying there isn't a way around this;
I'm not a TeX expert), I've found it difficult to use the required LaTeX
files without having to copy the supporting files into every directory
that I'm trying to produce output from.  Lotsa links, or lotsa copies,
or a very un-structured directory structure (all files in the same

The third point will probably, to some extent, apply to the Lout
backend, but I would expect it to be less severe than the LaTeX

--- SER

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