Floss Latex

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GNUbahn
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Joined: 02/19/2016

I have decided that I want to learn Latex. Amongst other things, I'll use it to write academic articles.

Are there any recommendations? Of course I only want to install floss, but as a beginner I am susceptible to ease and convenience.

inkoia
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Joined: 01/25/2016

You can use Texmaker or Texstudio (I think Texstudio is more actively developed, but not sure).

I personally like to cheat using LyX.

There are thousands of options, of course, but I'd say the ones I've told you are the most suitable and populars.

doolio
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Joined: 12/31/2013

Emacs AucTex mode

farliz
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Joined: 05/24/2015

To start exploring LaTeX you can use gummi editor (https://github.com/alexandervdm/gummi). However, Emacs + AucTeX + RefTeX is the best suite to produce LaTeX documents, but require Emacs intermediate level.

Magic Banana

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Joined: 07/24/2010

Well, yes... but almost nothing more. Once you know Emacs, you can be productive in AUCTeX by learning very few new commands: C-c C-e to insert an environment (whose name is auto-completed, of course), C-c C-s to insert a (sub)(sub)section, M-Enter to insert \item, C-c C-c to compile-recompile-visualize (handles BibTex too) and the C-c C-f C-[ebtcfisra] for the different fonts. I know there is much more but that is basically all I use and it already is very efficient... if you also know Emacs basics (those taught in the "Emacs Tutorial", in the "Help" menu) and a little more (e.g., M-; to comment the selected region).

GNUbahn
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Joined: 02/19/2016

Thanks for your replies. I would like to emphasise though, that I am a total beginner and I am looking for the 'best' place to start. So to rephrase my question:

Which (La)Tex is the easiest to start with? (I don't mind shifting to another application later on)

Legimet
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Joined: 12/10/2013

Install TeX Live (texlive for a decent selection, and texlive-full for the complete distribution). You can use whatever text editor you want. I use Kile.

GNUbahn
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Joined: 02/19/2016

Thanks. So TeX is the backend and I need a frontend like Kile or any other text editor?

Magic Banana

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I will try to explain (probably with many imprecisions: sorry for the purists) making a parallel with programming... so I hope you know the basics of a programming activity.

TeX and LaTeX are typesetting languages. 'tex' and 'latex' are the names of the commands to interpret texts written in the TeX and LaTeX languages. They turn such texts into a DVI files, which are then usually turned into PDF files with 'dvipdf' ('pdflatex' directly produces PDF files). Like a compiler turns source codes into executable binaries.

LaTeX can be considered a superset of TeX, like C++ is a superset of C. You certainly want to learn LaTeX and not TeX. For the same reason that you should styles in LibreOffice: in LaTeX, you write what you want and not how to do it (as in TeX), hence focusing on the content.

LaTeX is extensible with packages, the equivalent of a libraries in a programming language. And there exist many fonts. And independent tools (e.g., BiBTeX for formatting references). The so-called LaTeX distribution group all that in a coherent whole. You want to rely on the "TeX Live" distribution. It is the best LaTeX distribution, it is packaged in Trisquel in many parts. In this way, you do not have to install all "TeX Live" to only use a tiny part of it. The "texlive" meta-package depends on a reasonable subset, i.e., triggers the installation of all the most popular packages. But there is "texlive-full" too, if you want.

To write the text that will be interpreted with 'latex' or 'pdflatex', you can use *any* text editor, like you can use any text editor to write in C++. However there are sorts of IDE or LaTeX. That is what we were discussing.

GNUbahn
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Joined: 02/19/2016

Thanks for your time and explanation. It helped a lot and I think I understand everything until "However there are sorts of IDE or LaTeX."

Do you mean 'sorts' as in variants?

I'm lost about 'IDE'?

Mappack
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Joined: 10/13/2016

I think he meant sorts of IDEs for LaTeX. And sorts as in various, but I'm not quite sure about that.

Anyway, IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment, this basically means an editor specific for one programming or markup language. IDEs commonly have features that make programming easier and/or more efficient in the languages which they are for.

Magic Banana

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I think he meant sorts of IDEs for LaTeX.

That: an "f" was missing. And by "sorts of" I meant "analog to". Kind of. Because writing in LaTeX is not "developing" (the D in IDE). So talking about IDEs for LaTeX is weird.

GNUbahn
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I think I heard somewhere that there exists a LaTeX software that lets you see the actual output of your file in a window next to the editor window. Is that correct and is it any advantage?

Magic Banana

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There is LyX that inkoia mentioned here that follows a WYSIWYM ("what you see is what you mean") approach, where what shows up on the screen is an approximation of what will show up on the page.

You can always open a text editor in one half of the screen and the document viewer in the other half. GNOME's Document Viewer automatically reloads the document when it is modified. With GNOME 3's window manager, just drag the window to left/right border of the screen (and there are keyboard shortcuts too) so that it takes half of the screen. I do not know if it is that simple with other window manager.

Emacs can display DVI (and PDF) too. And it can vertically splits its window with C-x 3, so that the .tex is opened in the left buffer (with the default LaTeX mode or AUCTeX) and the DVI in the right one. The DVI can automatically reload the file when modified. Just add this line in ~/.emacs:
(add-hook 'doc-view-mode-hook 'auto-revert-mode)

Legimet
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Joined: 12/10/2013

Same with Okular. It automatically reloads documents.

There is also a useful feature called SyncTeX which lets you click in your PDF viewer, which will take you to the source corresponding to that part of the document.

ADFENO
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Joined: 12/31/2012

I comment here is my own experimentation and answers and references made
by people answering to others in LaTeX-related support websites. Please
let me know if you find solutions that fix this problems (and the ones
mentioned in references) without needing to apply multiple fixes for a
single document.

First one must understand how TeX and LaTeX work (or how they don't work
in some cases). Basically, these two are awesome as long as you don't:

1. Depend on wraped elements, like:

Parapgrah text could start here and so continue in next line,
and so it goes this way until all [ Some other ]
text is inserted here, without need [ element here ]
for much scripting, calculation, or complex setups.

a. Note for item 1: "Element" can be text, image, table, and any
other thing.

2. Mix multi-column texts (or paralel-column texts) with single-column
text and frames or lists between the columns. Like:

a. First. c. Third.
b. Second. d. Fourth.
e. Fifth.
f. Sixth. [ Framed list and ]
g. Seventh. [ this paragraph. ]
h. Eighth. [ a. First. ]
i. Nineth. [ b. Second. ]

3. Depend on content-aware list balancing inside multi-column
text. Like:

a. This list would... c. as the sole member of...
b. probably have item d... d. column two.

4. Depend on table headings reappearing if the table is broken in
multiple pages (using "longtable" package probably). It works as
expected if you do-not depend on such headings reappearing.

All of this is important to avoid, also considering that there might be
other things that I forgot.

Now for a detailed explanation of why each item don't work well, and
what to do instead (my own suggestions):

When TeX was made, it was made in such a way that even with limited
resources, documents could be made, and it assumes some oddities to make
sure of that (as can be seen in [[http://youtu.be/jcY1zLJNqX0]], from
07:30 to 12:33, from more simple explanation to more advanced
explanation of the assumptions and consequences).

So, as my own suggestions, set documents that all non-text things (or
framed text) are displayed in other pages of their own, or in the next
paragraph where it was referenced (but do-not force it to display in the
sides. Stay with same colums throught the entire document, specially if
the involved paragraphs have lists of some type (like itemization,
enumeration and description lists).

As an addendum: For taking notes of things (even while I'm in collge, so
that I can take notes using mobile devices) and for organizing my life
and agenda, I use Org (Org mode in Emacs, or MobileOrg for mobile
devices), not LaTeX. I prefer Org because, by using GNU Emacs with Org,
I can export my texts to other formats, including LaTeX or even PDF
(passing through LaTeX), and it even allows me to use a mix of LaTeX
inside, and also allows me to use spreadsheets, do some graphic
plotting, and use any other language I have enabled for use inside some
special blocks.