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It is unknown how many people use (La)TeX, and for what purposes. We know,
however, that it is used all over the world, to typset
- scientific documents, exchange and publish such documents
- documents that require special fonts and layout conventions, such as
Japanese, Arabic and Hebrew
- transparencies and slides
- material associated with a hobby (bridge, chess, crosswords, go, music,
and add yours).
The user groups
We also know that many users have organized themselves into user
to start with the original TeX Users Group (tug), and more recently as the so-called
LUGs - local users groups. The Dutch speaking people are organized since 1988 as the
ntg, Nederlandstalige TeX Gebruikersgroep, that is the Dutch language-oriented
TeX Users Group.
World-wide some 7 500-10 000 users are organized.
The benefits of being organized, apart from cooperation and sharing in general,
Moreover, the user groups stimulate and support research and development, such as
the projects: TeXHaX, BibTeX, and more recently LaTeX3, and nts. From the social
side we have the tug and EuroTeX bursary funds, to grant attendence for a tug or
EuroTeX meeting for those who can't afford it, next to tug's Knuth Scholarship
award. The latter is a competition that rewards the winner with attending a tug
meeting for free.
- TUGboat, newsletter, casu quo bulletins, `specials'
- resource directory (information about the (La)TeX working environments
of members, their addresses and similar things)
- (electronic) archives
- electronic mailing lists
- bbs (Bulletin Board Services)
- faqs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- pd sets (Public Domain)
- distributing point books (tutorials), software.
Add-ons have been provided by the user communities. They have also
supplied mutual support, and have provided logistic facilities. The latter is not
restricted to (La)TeX proper. It is about the general use of the electronic
Really, very nice goodies! The proper add-ons concern
- exchange trough e-mail
- electronic digests and list servers
- the file servers (archives) that store macro and style files.
And the end is not yet in sight.
- porting the package to every system, especially the affordable and
- ctans - Comprehesive TeX Archives - with macro and style files
- extra fonts, casu quo font couplings trough virtual font scripts
- WySiWyG user interfaces (commercial)
- (La)TeX-based PD/shareware working environments
- language-specific issues (hyphenation patterns, reserved words, . . . )
- drivers for new printers, in general new devices
- PostScript etc. inclusion at the dvi level.
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