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Where we stand

    Date: Tue, 27 May 1986  18:16 EDT
    From: "Scott E. Fahlman" <Fahlman@C.CS.CMU.EDU>

    My view is that at least half the time I'm going to be looking at the
    paper version of this stuff, and I want that to look halfway decent.
    The rest of the time I'll be looking at it on a workstation with a
    hi-res screen, and if I don't like the way the TeX input looks there,
    it's easy enough to whip up some kludge that display TeX files in some
    approximation to how they will look on paper.

And how much of the time will you be spending editing it?

I wonder if I could get you to commit to "whipping up some kludge" that
you will run over the text every time you send stuff to me to read so I
can read it, and every time I send edited stuff to you, you will run it
over it again to turn it back into the format that you like.  I doubt
that I could.  I hope you get my point, which is not at all "Fahlman is
intransigent and uncooperative" (or substitute "Moon" for "Fahlman" if
you like).  My point is that we ought to be concentrating on the content
of this stuff, not the appearance.  If the appearance won't take care of
itself, it at least does not require the specialized skills of
high-powered language designers.

Two related points: (1) If I have to wade through a sea of backslashes,
curly brackets, atsigns, or any other garbage, I'm a lot less likely to
notice that we forgot to say whether or not FORMAT ~A is affected by the
value of *PRINT-PRETTY*.  (2) People like you and I are very easily
distracted into debugging our Tex macros or making the "last" tweak so
something looks pretty on paper, instead of doing what we are supposed
to be doing.  Let's leave the book design to the book designers and the
typography to the typographers (and for God's sake let's leave the
litigation to the lawyers) and not erect unnecessary obstacles to getting
the language design accomplished by the language designers.  And, oh yes,
I promise to take the ε1character-style shiftsε0 off before I send anything
to you; everybody has their own garbage that somebody else doesn't want
to wade through.