Linux Journal: LaTeX for Linux [Review]

“Anyone who has worked with Donald Knuth’s TeX (pronounced
“teck”) or Leslie Lamport’s LaTeX (“lay-teck”) can tell you
that both are extremely powerful but rather intimidating. LaTeX
makes things easier but it’s still hard for a beginner to grasp the
connection between the marked-up text and the final, printed
output. Enter Bernice Sacks Lipkin’s LaTeX for Linux.”

“For those of you scratching your heads wondering what all this
TeX and LaTeX stuff is, read on. Donald Knuth wrote TeX so he would
be able to format his book, The Art of Computer Science, the way he
wanted to. Rather than focusing on the aesthetics of the printed
output, Knuth wanted authors to concentrate on the content of the
material. As such, TeX is not a word processor where you say, “The
section heading should be larger than the other text, so I want
font Becker at 14pt, and I want it centered.” Instead, you tell
TeX you want a section heading, and it automatically formats and
numbers it for you. TeX is still low-level, so Leslie Lamport wrote
LaTeX, a collection of higher-level TeX macros, to group some of
the more common TeX commands together.”

Lipkin’s book is a well-written guide to the narrow,
twisting path of learning LaTeX. First, I must say that the entire
book was typeset using LaTeX, and as such, it provides an excellent
real-life example of the various techniques within. This is a
definite boon when you’re trying to figure out exactly what a
certain command does.


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