The Living Thing / Notebooks : LaΤeΧ (and ΤΕΧ, and ConTeXt and Xetex and…)

See also citation management, text editors, diagrams.

The least worst mathematical typesetting system. The crunchy bit of the academic writing workflow. De facto standard for mathematicians, especially those who are not so impertinent as to insist in writing in non-English languages, or are so shallow as to not not take simple delight in the painstaking handicraft of manually setting linebreaks, or have grad students who will deal with the corner cases for free. That is, a tool that meets the needs of the Tenured Western Academic admirably, and that the rest of us live with.

Other alternatives include

  1. using MS Word, and
  2. stabbing your eyeballs with a pencil

… each of which I regard as equally undesirable, and both marginally less desirable than LaTeX itself.

Oh! and of course,

  1. Acquiring grad students to do the work for you.

And that is my theory about about the whole shambles keeps on shambling forward.

Addendum: Yes, I am aware there are differences between ConTeXT and LaTeX and TeX, and that they are all awful in refreshingly different sub-details of formatting, interoperation, character set handling and compatibility. I believe I can avoid arranging the deckchairs on this sinking boat, however, and I will discrete wait over here near the HTML lifeboats for some amped-up scholarly version of Markdown to come save me.

Things to ease the irritation

mactex wastes your life if you install the whole gigantic thing. But you can install what you need via tlmgr using the minimal version, basictex. Then you install the things you need. For example, to render jupyter notebooks, you’ll need:

tlmgr install \
    adjustbox \
    collectbox \
    enumitem \
    logreq \
    ucs \
    xstring \

To handle biblatex:

tlmgr install biblatex

You keep it up to date in a similar way:

tlmgr update --self
tlmgr update --all
Beautiful typesetting with LaTeX