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Stop using LaTeX, switch to MS Word

A hilarious article appeared in PLOS ONE recently (thanks for the link, Pim). StackOverflow already made some good comments, but here’s my two pennies’ worth.

While I find the study methodologically flawed1 and I have a strong dislike for MS Word for numerous (un)sentimental reasons, I cannot disagree with the fact that LaTeX sucks. It has a complex syntax (take a look at Markdown or reStructuredText for comparison), meaningless error messages, it comes as a ginormous zip file full of obsolete stuff and it’s not exactly easy to customize (even installing new fonts is non-trivial). Yes, it has great syntax for mathematical symbols, very good output file quality by default and good default typographical settings, but it doesn’t stop to amaze me that it’s been around for so long and no one has come up with a better alternative.

Well, I guess we should just embrace MS Word and stop wasting taxpayers’ money, as Markus Knauff and Jelica Nejasmic suggest.

update, Dec. 29th: Also, this:

  1. Copying an already written text is waay different than writing it from scratch, tables are notoriously LaTeX’s weakest point, as is customizing anything, the article doesn’t even touch upon the topic of editing long, complex documents, the list goes on… ↩︎