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Thread: Why LaTeX is such a bloated system?

  1. #1
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    Why LaTeX is such a bloated system?

    Hi,

    I begin to learn LaTeX but I have a question about it. I downloaded the famous "Not so short..." PDF e-book. But to apply the examples, I have to have a LaTeX installation on my system so I looked internet for a lightweight LaTeX software but interestingly after an hour or so I end up with no such a software on my system (I'm looking for Win XP). I saw there is a MikTeX named software and it is the tiniest software about LaTeX on WinXP. Other softwares I found was based on MikTeX. But MikTeX is not lightweight, actually it is huge, even it's "basic setup".

    I understand that TeX is a some kind of language to write books etc. and when we "compile" the "source code" (.tex) our output is a .dvi file. My question is that: Why LaTeX software is such a "huge", "complex" "system"?

    You may ask that "Why are you making this problem?". Because I always use lightweight programmes and LaTeX may be powerful but I feel like it is bloated Just a LaTeX software has thousands of files, hundreds of folders, hundreds of .exe files... During installation it installs 2-3 exclusive softwares like Ghostscript etc. and this is the basic setup. There is also a complete setup option. I cannot understand this. It is one of the biggest software I installed on my computer. I have written by now just "Hello World" examples but I am afraid if it will give hundreds of dependency errors when my document gets complexed

  2. #2
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    Re: Why LaTeX is such a bloated system?

    I recommend using WinEdt if you are doing any reasonable amount of work with Latex. Provides a nice editor and links everything together quite nicely.

    In all I think latex takes up about 100+/- Mb on my windows system. I don't know if that is actually a lot or not, but I find it doesn't take up any significant systems resources when I'm working on my document. Ghostscript is needed to produce postscript files, and with ghostscript viewer is useful for reading postscript files off the net.

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    Re: Why LaTeX is such a bloated system?

    I'm no Tex expert, but it seems to me that there are two main reasons for Tex's bloated size:
    1. It's a powerful, multifaceted typesetting system, and
    2. There's a lot of backward, legacy compatibility built into the system.


    TeX is relatively old software (since 1978!) and thus it seems to carry a lot of baggage. However, the fact that it has survived this long is a testament to its power and versatility.

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    Re: Why LaTeX is such a bloated system?

    I think LaTeX is bloated too. The MikTeX installation is HUGE! It takes at least 150-200 MB. And do you know what was the nastiest thing at the end? LaTeX has very bad support for cyrillic languages like Bulgarian. This means, that you can use it only in English (or German). Very great, really

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    Re: Why LaTeX is such a bloated system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zdravko View Post
    And do you know what was the nastiest thing at the end? LaTeX has very bad support for cyrillic languages like Bulgarian. This means, that you can use it only in English (or German). Very great, really
    LaTeX has had Cyrillic language support since 1998! Bulgarian is supported in the T2A encoding. See the Cyrillic language support in LaTeX guide for more help. The extensive language and font support is one reason LaTeX is so large.
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    Re: Why LaTeX is such a bloated system?

    Yes, LaTeX is a bit big, and on windows it can feel a bit clumsy at times, but it is well worth it. The beauty of the output and ease of formatting technical documents are a dream come true for anyone writing scientific or technical papers, books, etc. I used LaTeX to write my master's thesis, a document containing many extremely ugly equations, and I remain convinced that using this system saved me months of work. LaTeX could be ten times as bloated as it is now, and I would still say it is worth learning and worth using.

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    Re: Why LaTeX is such a bloated system?

    Quote Originally Posted by hod139 View Post
    LaTeX has had Cyrillic language support since 1998! Bulgarian is supported in the T2A encoding. See the Cyrillic language support in LaTeX guide for more help. The extensive language and font support is one reason LaTeX is so large.
    Have you ever tried to create a document with mixed language - both english/german and bulgarian? Do you know what happens?

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    Re: Why LaTeX is such a bloated system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zdravko View Post
    Have you ever tried to create a document with mixed language - both english/german and bulgarian? Do you know what happens?
    You have to use the babel package, which is distributed with texlive and miktex. There is a huge and very detailed user guide (463 page pdf) available. Bulgarian language supports starts on page 293, English page 20.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Why LaTeX is such a bloated system?

    Quote Originally Posted by milton1 View Post
    Yes, LaTeX is a bit big, and on windows it can feel a bit clumsy at times, but it is well worth it. The beauty of the output and ease of formatting technical documents are a dream come true for anyone writing scientific or technical papers, books, etc. I used LaTeX to write my master's thesis, a document containing many extremely ugly equations, and I remain convinced that using this system saved me months of work. LaTeX could be ten times as bloated as it is now, and I would still say it is worth learning and worth using.
    I agree 100%. I started writing a textbook a few years ago using Word on my Macintosh. It was a nightmare. One of the big problems with Word is it does not allow chapters. You can use sections, but these are used for other things. Like changing the number of columns. Then, headers go with the section. So when you change the section to change the number of columns, blah, blah, blah.

    I needed to make some big changes in my book. After fighting with Word's problems, I finally took the time to learn LaTeX. I'm still learning, and still amazed at what I can do with it. It has greatly simplified writing of my book.

    The book, by the way, is over 450 pages and has many program (mostly assembly language) listings. It now looks very professional, something I do not think I could have achieved with Word. (Assuming I could have gotten the headers to behave properly.)

    I now do most of my writing -- business letters, slide presentations, etc. -- with LaTeX. Much better looking output and much easier to compose.

    As for the bloat, disk space is pretty cheap these days. (I realize that "cheap" is relative, so this may not be the case for everyone.)
    Intel i7-920; Nvidia GT 220, 1GB; MSI X58 Pro-E; 6GB DDR; 64-bit mode.

  10. #10
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    Re: Why LaTeX is such a bloated system?

    Thank you all for the comments. Although I still think it is a little bloaty, I will give it a try and finish the e-book and some other tutorials. Maybe like milton1 or rplantz I will be very satisfied about the capabilities of LaTeX

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