The One with the Thoughts of Frans

Archive for March, 2013

Some Notes on LaTeX

Because LaTeX offers nice typesetting, bibliography management, and most Linux distributions make it easy to play around with, I decided to experiment with the LaTeX basics. To get started on Debian and derivatives, the easiest option is to install the texlive package, which will pull in all the basics. Here’s a quick list of things that might be useful:

  • texlive: the basics.
  • pandoc, hevea, latex2html: pandoc can convert between a great many formats, the other two merely try to transform LaTeX into HTML.
  • texmaker, texworks: both seem to be good editors. Also of interest are Kile and Gummi.
  • lyx: a what you see is what you mean editor. Could be interesting as an alternative to LibreOffice Writer or Abiword.
  • jabref, biblatex, biber (not on Squeeze): JabRef is a BibLatex editor, something that makes citations easy. Biber is a superior modern Biblatex replacement which uses the same file format.
  • texlive-lang-dutch (Dutch hyphenation patterns): alter for your own languages, or just install texlive-lang-all.
  • texlive-fonts-extra: if you want some extra fonts to play with.

texlive-fonts-extra requires running (sudo) getnonfreefonts-sys -a to actually get most of them to work. Unfortunately it’s missing in Ubuntu 12.10. As a workaround we can get it straight from the horse’s mouth. However, it has some issues logging in as anonymous to the FTP, so we need to use HTTP instead: sudo getnonfreefonts-sys -H -aThe problem seems to have been fixed. sudo getnonfreefonts-sys -a will do.

pandoc and hevea seem to produce the best HTML. Unfortunately HeVeA doesn’t work with BibLaTeX, while pandoc sort of does. However, it needs a little coaxing.

pandoc GNL3-2012-2013.tex -o output.html --bibliography boeken.bib -s --toc

-o outputs to a file
–bibliography specifies the bibliography file to use, which isn’t automatically taken from the LaTeX file
–toc neither is the insertion of the TOC
-s creates a standalone file; is required for the title page and the TOC to be inserted.

It’s not quite ideal though.

Texmaker and modern times

In Texmaker you can simply replace the pdflatex line with luatex and you’ll be good to go.

To replace bibtex with biber, also make sure to remove the file extension. So instead of bibtex %.aux, we use biber %. Something similar applies to TeXworks.

Now that all the software is set up, you can start using LaTeX. There’s a very useful Wikibook about LaTeX. Or you can ignore all of the above and look into ConTeXt, which I understand should be easier to stylistically manipulate.

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