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Postscript, Copyrights and other Technion Annoyances

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  • Shlomi Fish
    This is going to be a rather long discussion on one of the pseudo-beurocratic annoyances I encounter as being a Technion Student. It involves general
    Message 1 of 22 , Jun 12, 2001
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      This is going to be a rather long discussion on one of the
      pseudo-beurocratic annoyances I encounter as being a Technion Student. It
      involves general discussion of copyrights issues and cross-platform
      standard, so it may interest the general Hackers-IL public.

      The course in question is called "Image Processing and Analysis" (046200)
      . It is given by the Electrical Engineering Department which I am a
      student of, and its homepage is http://tiger.technion.ac.il/~ee046200/.

      The course book is not available in the "Library of a Dican" which rents
      books for the course of an entire semester, and there is a very small
      number of its copies around the Technion. Thus, all we have beside the
      T.A. sessions (which are given in MS-Word format) are the Class Lectures.
      There is a booklet containing them available for sale at the faculty's
      "Dalpak", but we were told the material on-line is more up-to-date.

      The caveat is that it is also an MS-Word document in origin, but was
      converted to Postscript by defining an "Apple LaserWriter" printer and
      printing it to a file. However, those who had experience with producing
      PostScript documents from a Windows Application using this method will
      know that the documents it produces are not well-formed PostScript
      documents. (Some of them do not even begin with the string "%!PS" !)

      Because of that, some configurations of ghostscript for Windows and Linux
      do not render them and/or print them well. My partner could not print them
      at his account on the faculty's NT Farm. I managed to do that, but I could
      not do that at home with my ghostscript for Windows configuration. Since
      my printer does not work with Linux ( a long story but that's a fact) I
      was almost stuck with no way to print them.

      What I eventaully did was convert them to PDF while running Linux, and
      then print them using Adobe Acrobat for Win32, which is generally a more
      stable program than ghostscript. However, I realized that several of the
      formulae were lost somewhere along the way and I could not find them
      printed on the page.

      There are now two questions which should be answered:

      1. Why are the files not distributed in MS-Word format in the first place?

      2. Why were not they converted directly to PDF using the more stable Adobe
      Acrobat? (The renderer not the reader).

      The answer to question #2 is probably ignorance. The answer to question
      #1 is more complex from what I learned from one of the T.A's. Apparently
      the lecturer who wrote the lecture notes wish to publish them as a book or
      something like that and does not want this material to be pyrated without
      his permission. Thus, he figured that not publishing their Word source
      will prevent that. In fact, the T.A. told me that he himself does not have
      the Word original.

      This is all very well, only that students like me and my partner directly
      suffer from it. This seems silly considering the following facts:

      1. The MIT university has began implementing the "Open Courseware"
      initiative which will make all of its courses' material avaialble on-line
      under an Open Content license. I would not go so far as to suggest the
      Technion should make its material Open Content (it's not a bad idea, IMO,
      but not compulsary) but at least make the source or something else which
      is usable available. Especially, if it does not have handy copies of the
      course's book for the students' body.

      For more information regarding "MIT Open Courseware" consult the following
      page:

      http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/nr/2001/ocw-facts.html

      2. Some parallel technion courses already supply their material in
      Microsoftish formats:

      * Linear Electronic Circuits:
      http://tiger.technion.ac.il/~linear/

      which has Word lecture notes by Dr. Daniel Lubzens. (and also has a book
      avaialble in the "Library of the Dikan")

      * Strcuture of Operating Systems:

      http://tiger.technion.ac.il/courses/046209/

      Again, the exercise MS-Word files and the PowerPoint lecture notes are
      avaialble on-line and both of its books is available in the "Library of
      the Dican".

      * In the CS front, Prof. Shimon Even has made his book about Graph
      Algorithms publicly avaialble online in Word format.

      3. I do not think making the files available in Word format will enable
      pyrating them. They are still copyrighted material, and most Technion
      Students are aware of copyright laws. I can't imagine any situation, in
      which a student will do anything with them beside viewing them on-line,
      printing them, or quoting them.

      At present, their figures can be retrieved using a screen capture program
      (assuming ghostview works properly ...) and the text can be copied letter
      by letter, so it should not be a major concern.


      If you ask me, a course without up-to-date usable material cannot be
      considered a 21st century course, and "Image Processing and Analysis" aims
      to be one. Meanwhile, the students suffer from the incorrect PostScript
      and a they spend a lot of time and energy on what could have been their
      studies.

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
      Home E-mail: shlomif@...

      A more experienced programmer does not make less bugs. He just realizes
      what went wrong more quickly.
    • Tzafrir Cohen
      Hi ... The printer driver adds some PJL (in the case of HP laserjets) or whatever instaructions, so this is not a pure postscript file. Those can be easily
      Message 2 of 22 , Jun 12, 2001
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        Hi

        On Tue, 12 Jun 2001, Shlomi Fish wrote:

        >
        > This is going to be a rather long discussion on one of the
        > pseudo-beurocratic annoyances I encounter as being a Technion Student. It
        > involves general discussion of copyrights issues and cross-platform
        > standard, so it may interest the general Hackers-IL public.
        >
        > The course in question is called "Image Processing and Analysis" (046200)
        > . It is given by the Electrical Engineering Department which I am a
        > student of, and its homepage is http://tiger.technion.ac.il/~ee046200/.
        >
        > The course book is notavailable in the "Library of a Dican" which rents
        > books for the course of an entire semester, and there is a very small
        > number of its copies around the Technion. Thus, all we have beside the
        > T.A. sessions (which are given in MS-Word format) are the Class Lectures.
        > There is a booklet containing them available for sale at the faculty's
        > "Dalpak", but we were told the material on-line is more up-to-date.
        >
        > The caveat is that it is also an MS-Word document in origin, but was
        > converted to Postscript by defining an "Apple LaserWriter" printer and
        > printing it to a file. However, those who had experience with producing
        > PostScript documents from a Windows Application using this method will
        > know that the documents it produces are not well-formed PostScript
        > documents. (Some of them do not even begin with the string "%!PS" !)

        The printer driver adds some PJL (in the case of HP laserjets) or whatever
        instaructions, so this is not a pure postscript file. Those can be easily
        removed. This is the least of your problems.

        Try a more recent ghostscript.

        Aladin ghostscript 7 is now availble. And also , 6.51 is now availble
        under GPL. Note that Aladin ghostscript can be freely used and modified.
        Linux distros don't include it because it has limitations on commercial
        distribution.

        More recent versions of ghostscript can better handle the postscript
        produced by windows' postscript drivers.

        >
        > Because of that, some configurations of ghostscript for Windows and Linux
        > do not render them and/or print them well. My partner could not print them
        > at his account on the faculty's NT Farm. I managed to do that, but I could
        > not do that at home with my ghostscript for Windows configuration. Since
        > my printer does not work with Linux ( a long story but that's a fact) I
        > was almost stuck with no way to print them.
        >
        > What I eventaully did was convert them to PDF while running Linux, and
        > then print them using Adobe Acrobat for Win32, which is generally a more
        > stable program than ghostscript. However, I realized that several of the
        > formulae were lost somewhere along the way and I could not find them
        > printed on the page.

        How do you convert them from postscript to PDF on linux? through
        shostscript's ps2pdf?

        windows' ghostview uses the same backend basically (ghostscript), so it
        can surely be tweaked to view the file.

        >
        > There are now two questions which should be answered:
        >
        > 1. Why are the files not distributed in MS-Word format in the first place?
        >
        > 2. Why were not they converted directly to PDF using the more stable Adobe
        > Acrobat? (The renderer not the reader).

        Acrobat/distiller costs money.

        You can try to use ghostscript's ps2pdf, but in the case of
        windows-originated documents, it will probably not produce good results.

        >
        > The answer to question #2 is probably ignorance. The answer to question
        > #1 is more complex from what I learned from one of the T.A's. Apparently
        > the lecturer who wrote the lecture notes wish to publish them asa book or
        > something like that and does not want this material to be pyrated without
        > his permission. Thus, he figured that not publishing their Word source
        > will prevent that. In fact, the T.A. told me that he himself does not have
        > the Word original.
        >
        > This is all very well, only that students like me and my partner directly
        > suffer from it. This seems silly considering the following facts:
        >
        > 1. The MIT university has began implementing the "Open Courseware"
        > initiative which will make all of its courses' material avaialble on-line
        > under an Open Content license. I would not go so far as to suggest the
        > Technion should make its material Open Content (it's not a bad idea, IMO,
        > but not compulsary) but at least make the source or something else which
        > is usable available. Especially, if it does not have handy copies of the
        > course's book for the students' body.
        >
        > For more information regarding "MIT Open Courseware" consult the following
        > page:
        >
        > http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/nr/2001/ocw-facts.html
        >
        > 2. Some parallel technion courses already supply their material in
        > Microsoftish formats:
        >
        > * Linear Electronic Circuits:
        > http://tiger.technion.ac.il/~linear/
        >
        > which has Word lecture notes by Dr. Daniel Lubzens. (and also has a book
        > avaialble in the"Library of the Dikan")
        >
        > * Strcuture of Operating Systems:
        >
        > http://tiger.technion.ac.il/courses/046209/
        >
        > Again, the exercise MS-Word files and the PowerPoint lecture notes are
        > avaialble on-line and both of its books is available in the "Library of
        > the Dican".
        >
        > * In the CS front, Prof. Shimon Even has made his book about Graph
        > Algorithms publicly avaialble online in Word format.
        >
        > 3. I do not think making the files available in Word format will enable
        > pyrating them. They are still copyrightedmaterial, and most Technion
        > Students are aware of copyright laws. I can't imagine any situation, in
        > which a student will do anything with them beside viewing them on-line,
        > printing them, or quoting them.
        >
        > At present, their figures can be retrieved using a screen capture program
        > (assuming ghostview works properly ...) and the text can be copied letter
        > by letter, so it should not be a major concern.

        Text can generally be extracted from PS/PDF files (although for hebrew
        this is not so simple, and this is also visual hebrew text, I believe)

        The main concern is usually not of other students pirating the material,
        but of other course authors etc.

        I have tried making the same arguments in the course I am a TA of, but
        this was the main argument that the others used against supplying the
        "sources".

        >
        > If you ask me, a course without up-to-date usable material cannot be
        > considered a 21st century course, and "Image Processing and Analysis" aims
        > to be one. Meanwhile, the students suffer from the incorrect PostScript
        > and a they spend a lot of time and energy on what could have been their
        > studies.

        Hmmm...

        PDF is close to optimal in terms of "spend less time". Good PDF readers
        are widely availble for many platfoms, and it is generally possible to
        assume that a PDF docukment can be read by anyone.

        Postscript is slightly less portable (and takes up more space, at least
        the one pruduced by windows: does it contain bitmaps of the whole pages
        ? ;) ).

        But source formats take more effort to produce a readable copy: with
        MS-Word you have the usual versions-mixup. With Latex you'll find out that
        you're using some non-standard package, etc.

        --
        Tzafrir Cohen
        mailto:tzafrir@...
        http://www.technion.ac.il/~tzafrir
      • Omer Zak
        There is another considration - accessibility of the course material to deaf students. Deaf students cannot benefit from the oral part of the lectures, without
        Message 3 of 22 , Jun 12, 2001
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          There is another considration - accessibility of the course material to
          deaf students.
          Deaf students cannot benefit from the oral part of the lectures, without
          using also the written materials.

          On Tue, 12 Jun 2001, Shlomi Fish wrote:

          [... snipped ...]
          > The course in question is called "Image Processing and Analysis" (046200)
          > . It is given by the Electrical Engineering Department which I am a
          > student of, and its homepage is http://tiger.technion.ac.il/~ee046200/.
          >
          > The course book is not available in the "Library of a Dican" which rents
          > books for the course of an entire semester, and there is a very small
          > number of its copies around the Technion. Thus, all we have beside the
          > T.A. sessions (which are given in MS-Word format) are the Class Lectures.
          > There is a booklet containing them available for sale at the faculty's
          > "Dalpak", but we were told the material on-line is more up-to-date.

          [... snipped ...]

          > There are now two questions which should be answered:
          >
          > 1. Why are the files not distributed in MS-Word format in the first place?
          >
          > 2. Why were not they converted directly to PDF using the more stable Adobe
          > Acrobat? (The renderer not the reader).
          >
          > The answer to question #2 is probably ignorance. The answer to question
          > #1 is more complex from what I learned from one of the T.A's. Apparently
          > the lecturer who wrote the lecture notes wish to publish them as a book or
          > something like that and does not want this material to be pyrated without
          > his permission. Thus, he figured that not publishing their Word source
          > will prevent that. In fact, the T.A. told me that he himself does not have
          > the Word original.

          [... snipped ...]

          > If you ask me, a course without up-to-date usable material cannot be
          > considered a 21st century course, and "Image Processing and Analysis" aims
          > to be one. Meanwhile, the students suffer from the incorrect PostScript
          > and a they spend a lot of time and energy on what could have been their
          > studies.

          --- Omer
          There is no IGLU Cabal. Material, which was needed by the former Cabal
          members, turned out to be inaccessible to them due to various silly
          reasons, such as excessive colorfulness (color blindness), sound
          (deafness), blinking stuff (people sensitive to epilepsy attacks),
          specialized formats (no open source software to process those formats).

          WARNING TO SPAMMERS: see at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
        • Shlomi Fish
          ... I believe the ghostscript I have at home is more or less up to date. I don t know if it s the version 7 or not, but it s there. In any case, like I said,
          Message 4 of 22 , Jun 12, 2001
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            On Tue, 12 Jun 2001, Tzafrir Cohen wrote:

            > Hi
            >
            > On Tue, 12 Jun 2001, Shlomi Fish wrote:
            >
            > >
            > > This is going to be a rather long discussion on one of the
            > > pseudo-beurocratic annoyances I encounter as being a Technion Student. It
            > > involves general discussion of copyrights issues and cross-platform
            > > standard, so it may interest the general Hackers-IL public.
            > >
            > > The course in question is called "Image Processing and Analysis" (046200)
            > > . It is given by the Electrical Engineering Department which I am a
            > > student of, and its homepage is http://tiger.technion.ac.il/~ee046200/.
            > >
            > > The course book is notavailable in the "Library of a Dican" which rents
            > > books for the course of an entire semester, and there is a very small
            > > number of its copies around the Technion. Thus, all we have beside the
            > > T.A. sessions (which are given in MS-Word format) are the Class Lectures.
            > > There is a booklet containing them available for sale at the faculty's
            > > "Dalpak", but we were told the material on-line is more up-to-date.
            > >
            > > The caveat is that it is also an MS-Word document in origin, but was
            > > converted to Postscript by defining an "Apple LaserWriter" printer and
            > > printing it to a file. However, those who had experience with producing
            > > PostScript documents from a Windows Application using this method will
            > > know that the documents it produces are not well-formed PostScript
            > > documents. (Some of them do not even begin with the string "%!PS" !)
            >
            > The printer driver adds some PJL (in the case of HP laserjets) or whatever
            > instaructions, so this is not a pure postscript file. Those can be easily
            > removed. This is the least of your problems.
            >
            > Try a more recent ghostscript.
            >
            > Aladin ghostscript 7 is now availble. And also , 6.51 is now availble
            > under GPL. Note that Aladin ghostscript can be freely used and modified.
            > Linux distros don't include it because it has limitations on commercial
            > distribution.
            >
            > More recent versions of ghostscript can better handle the postscript
            > produced by windows' postscript drivers.
            >

            I believe the ghostscript I have at home is more or less up to date. I
            don't know if it's the version 7 or not, but it's there. In any case, like
            I said, my partner and I have the same version of PostScript installed on
            the NT farms computers, yet I can print them and he cannot.

            > >
            > > Because of that, some configurations of ghostscript for Windows and Linux
            > > do not render them and/or print them well. My partner could not print them
            > > at his account on the faculty's NT Farm. I managed to do that, but I could
            > > not do that at home with my ghostscript for Windows configuration. Since
            > > my printer does not work with Linux ( a long story but that's a fact) I
            > > was almost stuck with no way to print them.
            > >
            > > What I eventaully did was convert them to PDF while running Linux, and
            > > then print them using Adobe Acrobat for Win32, which is generally a more
            > > stable program than ghostscript. However, I realized that several of the
            > > formulae were lost somewhere along the way and I could not find them
            > > printed on the page.
            >
            > How do you convert them from postscript to PDF on linux? through
            > shostscript's ps2pdf?
            >

            Yes.

            > windows' ghostview uses the same backend basically (ghostscript), so it
            > can surely be tweaked to view the file.
            >

            Well, whatever. I know the "ps2pdf" method works and the other does not.

            > >
            > > There are now two questions which should be answered:
            > >
            > > 1. Why are the files not distributed in MS-Word format in the first place?
            > >
            > > 2. Why were not they converted directly to PDF using the more stable Adobe
            > > Acrobat? (The renderer not the reader).
            >
            > Acrobat/distiller costs money.
            >

            Can't the Technion afford to buy a global license so it will be a
            compromise between the needs of the Students and the copyrights "needs"
            of the lecturers'?

            Adobe used to publicize Acrobat/Distiller in the splash screen of
            their reader, which means they intend it for the general audience. Thus,
            it should not cost too much. (my guess is $500 or so).

            I know of another lecturer (in "Computer Networks Design") who rendered
            his PowerPoint lectures into PDF. I'm not sure what methodology he used to
            do it.

            > You can try to use ghostscript's ps2pdf, but in the case of
            > windows-originated documents, it will probably not produce good results.
            >

            Like I said, I lost a couple of formulae in the process.

            > >
            > > The answer to question #2 is probably ignorance. The answer to question
            > > #1 is more complex from what I learned from one of the T.A's. Apparently
            > > the lecturer who wrote the lecture notes wish to publish them asa book or
            > > something like that and does not want this material to be pyrated without
            > > his permission. Thus, he figured that not publishing their Word source
            > > will prevent that. In fact, the T.A. told me that he himself does not have
            > > the Word original.
            > >
            > > This is all very well, only that students like me and my partner directly
            > > suffer from it. This seems silly considering the following facts:
            > >
            > > 1. The MIT university has began implementing the "Open Courseware"
            > > initiative which will make all of its courses' material avaialble on-line
            > > under an Open Content license. I would not go so far as to suggest the
            > > Technion should make its material Open Content (it's not a bad idea, IMO,
            > > but not compulsary) but at least make the source or something else which
            > > is usable available. Especially, if it does not have handy copies of the
            > > course's book for the students' body.
            > >
            > > For more information regarding "MIT Open Courseware" consult the following
            > > page:
            > >
            > > http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/nr/2001/ocw-facts.html
            > >
            > > 2. Some parallel technion courses already supply their material in
            > > Microsoftish formats:
            > >
            > > * Linear Electronic Circuits:
            > > http://tiger.technion.ac.il/~linear/
            > >
            > > which has Word lecture notes by Dr. Daniel Lubzens. (and also has a book
            > > avaialble in the"Library of the Dikan")
            > >
            > > * Strcuture of Operating Systems:
            > >
            > > http://tiger.technion.ac.il/courses/046209/
            > >
            > > Again, the exercise MS-Word files and the PowerPoint lecture notes are
            > > avaialble on-line and both of its books is available in the "Library of
            > > the Dican".
            > >
            > > * In the CS front, Prof. Shimon Even has made his book about Graph
            > > Algorithms publicly avaialble online in Word format.
            > >
            > > 3. I do not think making the files available in Word format will enable
            > > pyrating them. They are still copyrightedmaterial, and most Technion
            > > Students are aware of copyright laws. I can't imagine any situation, in
            > > which a student will do anything with them beside viewing them on-line,
            > > printing them, or quoting them.
            > >
            > > At present, their figures can be retrieved using a screen capture program
            > > (assuming ghostview works properly ...) and the text can be copied letter
            > > by letter, so it should not be a major concern.
            >
            > Text can generally be extracted from PS/PDF files (although for hebrew
            > this is not so simple, and this is also visual hebrew text, I believe)
            >
            > The main concern is usually not of other students pirating the material,
            > but of other course authors etc.
            >

            The lecture notes are in Hebrew, so it would not be realistic to assume
            that course authors abroad will pirate it. So, are they afraid of
            lecturers from TAU, BGU or HUJI or Bar-Ilan (or any of the colleges in
            Israel which teach EE) copying it? If I were a lecturers, I would be glad
            if my lectures could be useful like that. But I understand why some people
            are paranoid regarding their intellectual property.

            Too bad the students suffer from that.

            > I have tried making the same arguments in the course I am a TA of, but
            > this was the main argument that the others used against supplying the
            > "sources".
            >

            I can suggest you that if you have the time, you should write your own
            material and make its source publicly avaialble. I'm not a T.A. at the
            moment, but I follow this Scheme for the Haifux lectures.

            > >
            > > If you ask me, a course without up-to-date usable material cannot be
            > > considered a 21st century course, and "Image Processing and Analysis" aims
            > > to be one. Meanwhile, the students suffer from the incorrect PostScript
            > > and a they spend a lot of time and energy on what could have been their
            > > studies.
            >
            > Hmmm...
            >
            > PDF is close to optimal in terms of "spend less time". Good PDF readers
            > are widely availble for many platfoms, and it is generally possible to
            > assume that a PDF docukment can be read by anyone.
            >
            > Postscript is slightly less portable (and takes up more space, at least
            > the one pruduced by windows: does it contain bitmaps of the whole pages
            > ? ;) ).
            >

            No, but there are plenty of bitmaps as it is an "Image Processing and
            Analysis" course.

            > But source formats take more effort to produce a readable copy: with
            > MS-Word you have the usual versions-mixup. With Latex you'll find out that
            > you're using some non-standard package, etc.
            >

            The best is to have both the source (MS-Word or LaTeX or HTML or whatever)
            and a final document in a well-formed PDF document. Naturally, I am a
            little distressed that in some courses, I only have the Word document,
            which I cannot view on Linux. (I have Windows at home, but I sometimes use
            Linux)

            Until then - may the source be with you.

            Regards,

            Shlomi Fish


            There is no IGLU Cabal. Its members now spend its time trying to
            reverse-engineer a non well-formed PostScript file back into its Word
            source.



            > --
            > Tzafrir Cohen
            > mailto:tzafrir@...
            > http://www.technion.ac.il/~tzafrir
            >
            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
            >
            >
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >
            >



            ----------------------------------------------------------------------
            Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
            Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
            Home E-mail: shlomif@...

            A more experienced programmer does not make less bugs. He just realizes
            what went wrong more quickly.
          • Oleg Goldshmidt
            ... I still fail to understand how Word files will help them in that. making it easier to cut n paste paragraphs from this lecturer s notes directly into
            Message 5 of 22 , Jun 12, 2001
            • 0 Attachment
              Tzafrir Cohen <tzafrir@...> writes:

              > The main concern is usually not of other students pirating the material,
              > but of other course authors etc.

              I still fail to understand how Word files will help them in that.
              making it easier to cut'n'paste paragraphs from this lecturer's notes
              directly into theirs? I find it rather pathetic.

              As you mentioned yourself, any pirate who has a graduate student with
              half a brain working for him will learn how to use ps2ascii (not
              perfect, but helps) quickly enough.

              > PDF is close to optimal in terms of "spend less time". Good PDF readers
              > are widely availble for many platfoms, and it is generally possible to
              > assume that a PDF docukment can be read by anyone.
              >
              > Postscript is slightly less portable

              In what sense? In the sense that PS produced on Windows is not
              guaranteed to be a real PS?

              Last time I checked on Windows neither a PDF reader or a PostScript
              reader comes with the system (maybe I am not up-to-date), Linux comes
              with both, in a few incarnations, and acroread is also downloadable.

              > (and takes up more space, at least
              > the one pruduced by windows: does it contain bitmaps of the whole pages
              > ? ;) ).\

              The only explanation. In my experience, PDF files, especially those
              with not very fancy text, are *many times*, sometimes 50 times larger
              than PostScript, with the same text. Word files are usually the
              bulkiest (and don't even think of including a figure produced with
              Visio!). Converting .doc to .pdf to .ps you are likely to save disk
              space and download time progressively.

              > But source formats take more effort to produce a readable copy: with
              > MS-Word you have the usual versions-mixup.

              Of add-on inconsistencies. Produce a doc with MS Equation Editor and
              send it to someone who does not have it. Bummer.

              > With Latex you'll find out that you're using some non-standard
              > package, etc.

              That is usually not a big issue as these packages are readily
              available. You can include non-standard stuff with your sources, and
              if you distribute postscript, the problem goes away.

              An important, IMHO, point is that there is no comparison whatsoever in
              the quality of output produced by TeX and Word - they are in completely
              different leagues.

              --
              Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
              If it ain't broken, it hasn't got enough features yet.
            • Tzafrir Cohen
              ... It is accessible. You can always send this file to a postscript printer, and it will be printed properly. It _should_ also be availble for viewing with
              Message 6 of 22 , Jun 12, 2001
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                On Wed, 13 Jun 2001, Omer Zak wrote:

                > There is another considration - accessibility of the course material to
                > deaf students.
                > Deaf students cannot benefit from the oral part of the lectures, without
                > using also the written materials.

                It is accessible. You can always send this file to a postscript printer,
                and it will be printed properly.

                It _should_ also be availble for viewing with ghostview. And it generally
                is, after some tweaking.

                --
                Tzafrir Cohen
                mailto:tzafrir@...
                http://www.technion.ac.il/~tzafrir
              • Tzafrir Cohen
                [ A bit technical and off-topic ] ... Linux distors come with GNU ghostscript. Until recently the most up-to-date version of ghostscript availble under the GPL
                Message 7 of 22 , Jun 13, 2001
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                  [ A bit technical and off-topic ]

                  On Wed, 13 Jun 2001, Shlomi Fish wrote:

                  > On Tue, 12 Jun 2001, Tzafrir Cohen wrote:

                  > > Try a more recent ghostscript.
                  > >
                  > > Aladin ghostscript 7 is now availble. And also , 6.51 is now availble
                  > > under GPL. Note that Aladin ghostscript can be freely used and modified.
                  > > Linux distros don't include it because it has limitations on commercial
                  > > distribution.
                  > >
                  > > More recent versions of ghostscript can better handle the postscript
                  > > produced by windows' postscript drivers.
                  > >
                  >
                  > I believe the ghostscript I have at home is more or less up to date. I
                  > don't know if it's the version 7 or not, but it's there. In any case, like
                  > I said, my partner and I have the same version of PostScript installed on
                  > the NT farms computers, yet I can print them and he cannot.

                  Linux distors come with GNU ghostscript. Until recently the most
                  up-to-date version of ghostscript availble under the GPL was 5.50, which
                  is quite old.

                  Generally Aladin release new versions under their own Aladin license
                  (which is rather permissive, BTW. You can surely install it on your home
                  system) and release older versions under the GNU GPL. Those are known as
                  GNU Ghostscript.

                  >
                  > > >
                  > > > Because of that, some configurations of ghostscript for Windows and Linux
                  > > > do not render them and/or print them well. My partner could not print them
                  > > > at his account on the faculty's NT Farm. I managed to do that, but I could
                  > > > not do that at home with my ghostscript for Windows configuration. Since
                  > > > my printer does not work with Linux ( a long story but that's a fact) I
                  > > > was almost stuck with no way to print them.
                  > > >
                  > > > What I eventaully did was convert them to PDF while running Linux, and
                  > > > then print them using Adobe Acrobat for Win32, which is generally a more
                  > > > stable program than ghostscript. However, I realized that several of the
                  > > > formulae were lost somewhere along the way and I could not find them
                  > > > printed on the page.
                  > >
                  > > How do you convert them from postscript to PDF on linux? through
                  > > shostscript's ps2pdf?
                  >
                  > Yes.
                  >
                  > > windows' ghostview uses the same backend basically (ghostscript), so it
                  > > can surely be tweaked to view the file.
                  > >
                  >
                  > Well, whatever. I know the "ps2pdf" method works and the other does not.
                  >

                  Try using ps2pdf.bat from the ghostscript directory on the NT
                  workstation...

                  --
                  Tzafrir Cohen
                  mailto:tzafrir@...
                  http://www.technion.ac.il/~tzafrir
                • Nadav Har'El
                  ... Most of these problems can be fixed with relative ease, by someone with enough Postscript knowledge. Don t you have any such person in the EE department?
                  Message 8 of 22 , Jun 13, 2001
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                    On Tue, Jun 12, 2001, Shlomi Fish wrote about "[hackers-il] Postscript, Copyrights and other Technion Annoyances":
                    > The caveat is that it is also an MS-Word document in origin, but was
                    > converted to Postscript by defining an "Apple LaserWriter" printer and
                    > printing it to a file. However, those who had experience with producing
                    > PostScript documents from a Windows Application using this method will
                    > know that the documents it produces are not well-formed PostScript
                    > documents. (Some of them do not even begin with the string "%!PS" !)

                    Most of these problems can be fixed with relative ease, by someone with
                    enough Postscript knowledge. Don't you have any such person in the EE
                    department?
                    Postscript isn't dark magic, it's a programming language, and a nice and
                    simple one at that (once you've read the book), and if there are errors
                    they can be corrected. Correcting the well-formedness, as you call it (these
                    "%!PS" and other %% comments) is even simpler - you just have to follow
                    Adobe's EPSF (encapsulated postscript file) guidelines (these are available
                    freely on the web, if I remember correctly), and all they do is help programs
                    like ghostview know where pages start, and so on (the printer just ignores
                    them).

                    > There are now two questions which should be answered:
                    >
                    > 1. Why are the files not distributed in MS-Word format in the first place?

                    I always find myself fighting the opposite battle: people are distributing
                    documents for me to read in MS-Word, and I insist that I be sent postscript
                    (or PDF) files. It's not only that fact that it is a hated Microsoft format
                    (it is part of the problem, but not all of it) - I also prefer to get a
                    postscript file over some TeX file I need to compile on my own.

                    Why? Because unlike the case in software, in documents you rarely want to
                    get the source of a document. You want to read it as the author has intented
                    for it to look, not modify it yourself. You don't want to worry whether you
                    have the same version of MS-Word as the author (this is *always* a problem
                    with MS-Word). You don't want to worry whether you have the appropriate fonts
                    and/or software installed. When somebody sends me a document I want to only
                    read, I want it to be in a hardcopy format, like Postscript (though pdf,
                    dvi, etc., are also fine in decreasing order of preferance).

                    > 2. Why were not they converted directly to PDF using the more stable Adobe
                    > Acrobat? (The renderer not the reader).
                    >
                    > The answer to question #2 is probably ignorance. The answer to question

                    I completely disagree.

                    Postscript is an excellent and very flexible format. It is very stable.
                    I see absolutely no preference to PDF over Postscript in this regard - Windows
                    could botch up the creation of files in either of these formats, and it
                    shouldn't botch up any of them (I have postscript files I created years ago
                    and they still work - there's no reason why a ghostscript should have trouble
                    reading a certain postscript file).

                    PDF has certain advantages over Postscript, roughly in the following areas:
                    1. Simpler and much less flexible language, meaning that PDF readers can
                    be simpler than Postscript readers (but once a free Postscript reader
                    exists, I consider this irrelevant).
                    2. Better document layout (specifying where individual pages are, etc., so
                    that in a 1000 page document one can jump to page 456 without reading the
                    entire file)
                    3. Interactive features, like hyperlinks.
                    4. Better support for making modifications to documents (but this is still
                    not a word processor format!)

                    I think none of these issues are at all relevant in the case at hand, so
                    I don't see how not choosing PDF means ignorance...

                    > #1 is more complex from what I learned from one of the T.A's. Apparently
                    > the lecturer who wrote the lecture notes wish to publish them as a book or
                    > something like that and does not want this material to be pyrated without
                    > his permission. Thus, he figured that not publishing their Word source
                    > will prevent that. In fact, the T.A. told me that he himself does not have
                    > the Word original.

                    This is rather silly - who is he afraid of? If he's afraid of other authors
                    copying his work, they can still do it from the Postscript (or even a single
                    printout!), perhaps with slightly more work. If he's afraid of students
                    printing the free file instead of buying the book, why isn't he afraid that
                    they will print the PS file? I think someone thinking like you assume this
                    lecturer thinks would not have published the PS file at all, and instead
                    sold the printouts at Michlol or something.

                    I think is quite possible that this lecturer is less sinister than you think.
                    He wanted to provide the document in a single format that anyone could read
                    without needing to buy special software (and didn't really want people to
                    modify the text), and Postscript simply fit the bill.

                    > 2. Some parallel technion courses already supply their material in
                    > Microsoftish formats:
                    >
                    > * Linear Electronic Circuits:
                    > http://tiger.technion.ac.il/~linear/
                    >
                    > which has Word lecture notes by Dr. Daniel Lubzens. (and also has a book
                    > avaialble in the "Library of the Dikan")

                    Again, I don't see how this is better than supplying Postscript, unless you
                    really intend to edit his book, change its font, or stuff like that. Most
                    (if not all) people just want to read the book as the author intended.

                    Last time I checked, owning a copy of Microsoft Word wasn't a prerequisite
                    in registering to the Technion... (don't tell me about going to the Technion's
                    lab to read it - if I wanted to sit in the technion and read a book, why
                    not just go to the Library and do it?)

                    > * In the CS front, Prof. Shimon Even has made his book about Graph
                    > Algorithms publicly avaialble online in Word format.

                    Really?? Where can I get it?
                    I've been trying to buy his book (I don't even mind paying the $50), but it
                    (ISBN 0914894218) is out of print. I'd kill to have that Word file :)

                    > If you ask me, a course without up-to-date usable material cannot be
                    > considered a 21st century course, and "Image Processing and Analysis" aims
                    > to be one. Meanwhile, the students suffer from the incorrect PostScript
                    > and a they spend a lot of time and energy on what could have been their
                    > studies.

                    When I was studying math in the Technion (I finished my BA about 7 years ago),
                    almost none of the courses had materials like you describe. We would go to
                    the lectures and write down what the teacher said (I realise how this could
                    be problematic for deaf students...), and if we needed more information
                    (usually we didn't!) we would go to the library and look at the text-books,
                    usually not in Hebrew and not written in the Technion. Actually, it wasn't
                    so bad... We managed...

                    --
                    Nadav Har'El | Wednesday, Jun 13 2001, 22 Sivan 5761
                    nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                    Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Drink varnish and you'll get a lovely
                    http://nadav.harel.org.il |finish.
                  • Shlomi Fish
                    ... I suppose there are several members or students of the EE faculty who know PostScript well enough to do that. I just started learning PostScript a few
                    Message 9 of 22 , Jun 13, 2001
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                      On Wed, 13 Jun 2001, Nadav Har'El wrote:

                      > On Tue, Jun 12, 2001, Shlomi Fish wrote about "[hackers-il] Postscript, Copyrights and other Technion Annoyances":
                      > > The caveat is that it is also an MS-Word document in origin, but was
                      > > converted to Postscript by defining an "Apple LaserWriter" printer and
                      > > printing it to a file. However, those who had experience with producing
                      > > PostScript documents from a Windows Application using this method will
                      > > know that the documents it produces are not well-formed PostScript
                      > > documents. (Some of them do not even begin with the string "%!PS" !)
                      >
                      > Most of these problems can be fixed with relative ease, by someone with
                      > enough Postscript knowledge. Don't you have any such person in the EE
                      > department?

                      I suppose there are several members or students of the EE faculty who know
                      PostScript well enough to do that. I just started learning PostScript a
                      few weeks ago (out of necessity) and I'm not sure if I know how to do
                      that.

                      The common "Joe Random Technion EEer" cannot do that on his own as most
                      EE Students are only familiar with C and Matlab. (and some even have
                      problems with either or both of these languages).

                      > Postscript isn't dark magic, it's a programming language, and a nice and
                      > simple one at that (once you've read the book), and if there are errors
                      > they can be corrected. Correcting the well-formedness, as you call it (these
                      > "%!PS" and other %% comments) is even simpler - you just have to follow
                      > Adobe's EPSF (encapsulated postscript file) guidelines (these are available
                      > freely on the web, if I remember correctly), and all they do is help programs
                      > like ghostview know where pages start, and so on (the printer just ignores
                      > them).
                      >

                      Yet another thing to learn, which everyday students don't know.

                      > > There are now two questions which should be answered:
                      > >
                      > > 1. Why are the files not distributed in MS-Word format in the first place?
                      >
                      > I always find myself fighting the opposite battle: people are distributing
                      > documents for me to read in MS-Word, and I insist that I be sent postscript
                      > (or PDF) files. It's not only that fact that it is a hated Microsoft format
                      > (it is part of the problem, but not all of it) - I also prefer to get a
                      > postscript file over some TeX file I need to compile on my own.
                      >

                      I did not say he should not distribute it as PostScript or PDF. I said,
                      just that it would be better if:

                      1. They were also available as Word files.
                      2. They are well-formed ones.

                      > Why? Because unlike the case in software, in documents you rarely want to
                      > get the source of a document. You want to read it as the author has intented
                      > for it to look, not modify it yourself. You don't want to worry whether you
                      > have the same version of MS-Word as the author (this is *always* a problem
                      > with MS-Word). You don't want to worry whether you have the appropriate fonts
                      > and/or software installed. When somebody sends me a document I want to only
                      > read, I want it to be in a hardcopy format, like Postscript (though pdf,
                      > dvi, etc., are also fine in decreasing order of preferance).
                      >

                      Actually, I usually like to have the source to the document and most
                      everyday people (who distribute files as MS-Word between them and
                      themselves) agree with me. Why? Let's assume that I'm working on an
                      assignment along with my course's partner. If he gave it to me as a
                      PostScrtipt file, I would not be able to change it: correct typos and
                      mistakes, add new sections, fix the style and alignment, etc.

                      On the other hand with a Word file (I'll use Word files as an example but
                      it also appplies to LaTeX or whatever) I can do all that extrafine.
                      Moreover, it is more easier to copy and paste portions out of the source
                      document, and it is generally easier to handle. Business People and Common
                      Folks also find the sources better from similar reasons. If for example,
                      you wish to report typos to the author, you can mark it as RED and add a
                      comment. Then, the author can look for a RED marking and then correct the
                      typos. I could go on, but I think you got the point.

                      > > 2. Why were not they converted directly to PDF using the more stable Adobe
                      > > Acrobat? (The renderer not the reader).
                      > >
                      > > The answer to question #2 is probably ignorance. The answer to question
                      >
                      > I completely disagree.
                      >
                      > Postscript is an excellent and very flexible format. It is very stable.
                      > I see absolutely no preference to PDF over Postscript in this regard - Windows
                      > could botch up the creation of files in either of these formats, and it
                      > shouldn't botch up any of them (I have postscript files I created years ago
                      > and they still work - there's no reason why a ghostscript should have trouble
                      > reading a certain postscript file).
                      >

                      I did not say PostScript is not a good format, but it is a well-known fact
                      that the Windows' PostScript printer driver abuses it. Do you care to
                      write a decent PostScript printer driver for Windows? If such a thing
                      existed, the world would have been a much better place.

                      > PDF has certain advantages over Postscript, roughly in the following areas:
                      > 1. Simpler and much less flexible language, meaning that PDF readers can
                      > be simpler than Postscript readers (but once a free Postscript reader
                      > exists, I consider this irrelevant).
                      > 2. Better document layout (specifying where individual pages are, etc., so
                      > that in a 1000 page document one can jump to page 456 without reading the
                      > entire file)
                      > 3. Interactive features, like hyperlinks.
                      > 4. Better support for making modifications to documents (but this is still
                      > not a word processor format!)
                      >
                      > I think none of these issues are at all relevant in the case at hand, so
                      > I don't see how not choosing PDF means ignorance...
                      >

                      The reason I prefer PDF is because Acrobat Reader is much more stable and
                      reliabe than ghostscript, and I'm not aware of any other PostScript viewer
                      for Windows. Or at least not one that is free (as in free beer). PDF is
                      the standard for distributing hard-copy documents, and I can send it to
                      somebody working on a Windows, a Mac or UNIX without encountering too many
                      problems, and without him asking me what to do with this file.

                      PostScript on the other hand is something most Windowish people will have
                      no idea what to do with, as they never heard about it.

                      > > #1 is more complex from what I learned from one of the T.A's. Apparently
                      > > the lecturer who wrote the lecture notes wish to publish them as a book or
                      > > something like that and does not want this material to be pyrated without
                      > > his permission. Thus, he figured that not publishing their Word source
                      > > will prevent that. In fact, the T.A. told me that he himself does not have
                      > > the Word original.
                      >
                      > This is rather silly - who is he afraid of? If he's afraid of other authors
                      > copying his work, they can still do it from the Postscript (or even a single
                      > printout!), perhaps with slightly more work. If he's afraid of students
                      > printing the free file instead of buying the book, why isn't he afraid that
                      > they will print the PS file?

                      Actually, the PS files are intended for students to print. Whether, they
                      can be printed easily is a different question, but they are meant to be
                      printed.

                      > I think someone thinking like you assume this
                      > lecturer thinks would not have published the PS file at all, and instead
                      > sold the printouts at Michlol or something.
                      >

                      It is possible that there are Technion-wide or EE Faculty-wide regulations
                      which specify that if a book is available in an electronic format, then it
                      should be made available on-line.

                      Some of the courseware of the EE faculty is written in hand (E.g: That of
                      "Intro to DSP", which is the pre-requisite for "Image Processing and
                      Analysis"), in which case it cannot be distributed on the web. But if it
                      is, then maybe it has to be.

                      > I think is quite possible that this lecturer is less sinister than you think.
                      > He wanted to provide the document in a single format that anyone could read
                      > without needing to buy special software (and didn't really want people to
                      > modify the text), and Postscript simply fit the bill.
                      >

                      Why not PDF then? And why not a well-formed document of either format?

                      If he had been such a benevolent person, he would have gone the trouble of
                      providing us with a valid document, not one that we have to deal with so
                      many idiosyncrecies just to print.

                      > > 2. Some parallel technion courses already supply their material in
                      > > Microsoftish formats:
                      > >
                      > > * Linear Electronic Circuits:
                      > > http://tiger.technion.ac.il/~linear/
                      > >
                      > > which has Word lecture notes by Dr. Daniel Lubzens. (and also has a book
                      > > avaialble in the "Library of the Dikan")
                      >
                      > Again, I don't see how this is better than supplying Postscript, unless you
                      > really intend to edit his book, change its font, or stuff like that. Most
                      > (if not all) people just want to read the book as the author intended.
                      >
                      > Last time I checked, owning a copy of Microsoft Word wasn't a prerequisite
                      > in registering to the Technion... (don't tell me about going to the Technion's
                      > lab to read it - if I wanted to sit in the technion and read a book, why
                      > not just go to the Library and do it?)
                      >

                      The EE faculty of the Technion has an NT farm, which is publicly available
                      to all undergraduate students, and Word is installed there. So, in the
                      event that you don't have word, you can use it there.

                      I too don't like the fact that the files are not available in
                      PostScript/PDF format from the course's site, because that way I can't
                      view them when I'm working on a UNIX workstation. But that is a different
                      issue.

                      > > * In the CS front, Prof. Shimon Even has made his book about Graph
                      > > Algorithms publicly avaialble online in Word format.
                      >
                      > Really?? Where can I get it?
                      > I've been trying to buy his book (I don't even mind paying the $50), but it
                      > (ISBN 0914894218) is out of print. I'd kill to have that Word file :)
                      >

                      http://www.cs.technion.ac.il/~algs/EvenBook/evenbook.html

                      You can find the link at the "Intro to Graph Algorithms" course web-site.

                      Actually, every chapter is distributed as a separate word-file. Or a
                      PostScript file for that matter.

                      The funny thing is that I don't think he wrote it in Word, but the Word is
                      fully functional and has embedded pictures and equations.

                      Is there a functional LaTeX to Word coverter out there? I'd kill to have
                      it. (;-))

                      > > If you ask me, a course without up-to-date usable material cannot be
                      > > considered a 21st century course, and "Image Processing and Analysis" aims
                      > > to be one. Meanwhile, the students suffer from the incorrect PostScript
                      > > and a they spend a lot of time and energy on what could have been their
                      > > studies.
                      >
                      > When I was studying math in the Technion (I finished my BA about 7 years ago),
                      > almost none of the courses had materials like you describe. We would go to
                      > the lectures and write down what the teacher said (I realise how this could
                      > be problematic for deaf students...), and if we needed more information
                      > (usually we didn't!) we would go to the library and look at the text-books,
                      > usually not in Hebrew and not written in the Technion. Actually, it wasn't
                      > so bad... We managed...
                      >

                      So you studied starting 11 years ago and finisihed 7 years ago? Well,
                      welcome to the standard of 2001:

                      I require a course to fullfill at least one of those criteria:

                      1. To have written material available at the site.
                      2. Ditto for a leaflet that we can buy at the counter.
                      3. To have a book in the Dican Library.
                      4. To have a book that can be bought in Mikhlol for a reasonable price.
                      5. To be handed leaflets that summarize the course, in the course of the
                      semester.

                      Otherwise, I don't see how I can study in a course like that, purely out
                      of my lecture and exercise notes. It was done, but I'd rather have some
                      hard material at hand, too.


                      There is a reason why MIT initiated the "Open Courseware" initiative and
                      that is because they saw that courses all around the world where going in
                      such a direction anyways. And to have a wealth of information available to
                      students from the web-sites of courses all around the world is a good idea
                      <tm>.

                      I realize things were different in the past, but I think the situation
                      today, that everything is going to be available in an Electronic format,
                      is a very good development, and soon students will expect to have it so.

                      People used to survive without electricity or running water, but unless
                      you are going on a hiking trip, one usually expects to have them. So
                      progress is not all bad. ;-)

                      Regards,

                      Shlomi Fish


                      > --
                      > Nadav Har'El | Wednesday, Jun 13 2001, 22 Sivan 5761
                      > nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                      > Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Drink varnish and you'll get a lovely
                      > http://nadav.harel.org.il |finish.
                      >
                      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                      > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                      >
                      >



                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                      Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
                      Home E-mail: shlomif@...

                      A more experienced programmer does not make less bugs. He just realizes
                      what went wrong more quickly.
                    • Oleg Goldshmidt
                      ... Shlomi, it s a different issue. You are talking about co-operative development (code or docs, doesn t matter). It does not apply to documents that are
                      Message 10 of 22 , Jun 14, 2001
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> writes:

                        > Actually, I usually like to have the source to the document and most
                        > everyday people (who distribute files as MS-Word between them and
                        > themselves) agree with me. Why? Let's assume that I'm working on an
                        > assignment along with my course's partner. If he gave it to me as a
                        > PostScrtipt file, I would not be able to change it: correct typos and
                        > mistakes, add new sections, fix the style and alignment, etc.

                        Shlomi, it's a different issue. You are talking about co-operative
                        development (code or docs, doesn't matter). It does not apply to
                        documents that are distributed for imformation only, such as papers
                        that you download from the 'net, or the lecture notes in question.
                        There is no reason why you should modify those. Moreover, the document
                        author may want to prevent you from modifying it (easily).

                        > On the other hand with a Word file (I'll use Word files as an example but
                        > it also appplies to LaTeX or whatever) I can do all that extrafine.

                        Word is, in my experience, very poorly suited for collaboration. Too
                        many things depend on the exact version and configuration. I often
                        can't read (let alone modify) Word files that my colleagues send me,
                        for all sorts of weird reasons. LaTeX is very portable, on the other
                        hand. I haven't seen an unreadable LaTeX/dvi/ps file for years.

                        I consider Word maybe a suitable tool to write an informal
                        letter. It's totally unsuitable for serious documents (for lack of
                        usability, modularity, compatibility, quality of output). I am not
                        saying it cannot be used at all for that purpose, just that it causes
                        too much pain.

                        > http://www.cs.technion.ac.il/~algs/EvenBook/evenbook.html

                        Are you sure it is the whole book? Was the book 64 pages?

                        > Is there a functional LaTeX to Word coverter out there? I'd kill to have
                        > it


                        I could not make latex2rtf work properly. latex2html seems to be
                        partly functional, and html files can be opened by Word and then saved
                        as .doc.


                        > Otherwise, I don't see how I can study in a course like that, purely out
                        > of my lecture and exercise notes.

                        Generations of students, including Nadav and myself (I am probably
                        quite a bit older - my BSc/MSc years were in the 80ties) studied like
                        that. I consider myself quite well educated, and judging by Nadav's
                        postings (we've never met, have we?), so was he. Of course, besides
                        lecture and exercise notes there were always books and papers.

                        For your sake, and that of your course mates, I hope you do write
                        notes at the lectures, not relying on the published notes
                        entirely. And you do attend the lectures, right? Students' notes are
                        highly individual, and there is usually ample time during a lecture to
                        think and write down your thoughts. That does help later on.

                        > I realize things were different in the past, but I think the situation
                        > today, that everything is going to be available in an Electronic format,
                        > is a very good development, and soon students will expect to have it
                        > so.

                        I agree with that. The danger is that reliance on new technology
                        should not come at the expense of "hands-on" knowledge and skills.

                        --
                        Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                        If it ain't broken, it hasn't got enough features yet.
                      • Nadav Har'El
                        ... But the case of working on a file with a partner is obviously very different from getting a book from your teacher, isn t it? Would you make corrections
                        Message 11 of 22 , Jun 14, 2001
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                          On Thu, Jun 14, 2001, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] Postscript, Copyrights and other Technion Annoyances":
                          > Actually, I usually like to have the source to the document and most
                          > everyday people (who distribute files as MS-Word between them and
                          > themselves) agree with me. Why? Let's assume that I'm working on an
                          > assignment along with my course's partner. If he gave it to me as a
                          > PostScrtipt file, I would not be able to change it: correct typos and
                          > mistakes, add new sections, fix the style and alignment, etc.

                          But the case of working on a file with a partner is obviously very different
                          from getting a book from your teacher, isn't it? Would you make "corrections"
                          in your teacher's book, or fix his style? You may, but usually you wouldn't
                          even consider it.
                          It's similar to the way the beaurocrats in the company I work for send me
                          files in Microsoft Office formats. I get official mails and even advertising
                          brochures (e.g., a new Orange deal) in such formats. Why? Whould I want to
                          change Orange's brochure to fit my style? I doubt it :)

                          Surely the best thing is to have multiple formats, such as having both
                          Word and Postscript (or Latex and PDF, or whatever), so we can have the
                          best of both worlds.

                          > The reason I prefer PDF is because Acrobat Reader is much more stable and
                          > reliabe than ghostscript, and I'm not aware of any other PostScript viewer
                          > for Windows. Or at least not one that is free (as in free beer). PDF is
                          > the standard for distributing hard-copy documents, and I can send it to
                          > somebody working on a Windows, a Mac or UNIX without encountering too many
                          > problems, and without him asking me what to do with this file.
                          >
                          > PostScript on the other hand is something most Windowish people will have
                          > no idea what to do with, as they never heard about it.

                          I have no idea about the stability of ghostscript on Windows (in Linux it's
                          prety stable...) but note that as far as I know neither PDF nor Postscript
                          are supported in Windows unless you install some additional software (Acroread
                          or Ghostscript) - so typical Windows users will have not heard of neither
                          format, actually.

                          > Why not PDF then? And why not a well-formed document of either format?
                          >
                          > If he had been such a benevolent person, he would have gone the trouble of
                          > providing us with a valid document, not one that we have to deal with so
                          > many idiosyncrecies just to print.

                          PDF is a newer format, and the lecturer may not have even heard of it. He
                          might not have known how to output it from his Word source (how do you do
                          it, by the way? Is there a PDF printer driver for Windows? I honestly wouldn't
                          know how to do it myself, other than using ghostscript's pdf2ps...)

                          I think the fact that his Postscript document is buggy is something he
                          obviously didn't intend. Perhaps contacting him and asking him to fix it
                          (e.g., by "printing" it again with a newer Windows), would do the trick.

                          > > in registering to the Technion... (don't tell me about going to the Technion's
                          > > lab to read it - if I wanted to sit in the technion and read a book, why
                          > > not just go to the Library and do it?)
                          > >
                          >
                          > The EE faculty of the Technion has an NT farm, which is publicly available
                          > to all undergraduate students, and Word is installed there. So, in the
                          > event that you don't have word, you can use it there.

                          Exactly my point - if someone wants to go to a certain specific place to
                          read a book, the library is already available ;) The benefit of reading an
                          online book should be in being able to reading it in your own home without
                          having to pay a fortune for actual books.

                          > http://www.cs.technion.ac.il/~algs/EvenBook/evenbook.html
                          >
                          > You can find the link at the "Intro to Graph Algorithms" course web-site.

                          Wow :)

                          > The funny thing is that I don't think he wrote it in Word, but the Word is
                          > fully functional and has embedded pictures and equations.
                          >
                          > Is there a functional LaTeX to Word coverter out there? I'd kill to have
                          > it. (;-))

                          According to the Postscript file, it was generated from "whole.dvi",
                          implying that it was written in LaTeX. It also has the "LaTeX Look". So
                          they either have a converter, or a converter from a third format, or
                          somebody worked hard on manual conversion.


                          --
                          Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Jun 14 2001, 23 Sivan 5761
                          nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                          Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Promises are like babies: fun to make,
                          http://nadav.harel.org.il |but hell to deliver.
                        • Nadav Har'El
                          ... Just a correction: it appears that the All these chapters together Postscript file was generated from the TeX, while the individual chapter Postscript
                          Message 12 of 22 , Jun 14, 2001
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                            On Thu, Jun 14, 2001, Nadav Har'El wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] Postscript, Copyrights and other Technion Annoyances":
                            > According to the Postscript file, it was generated from "whole.dvi",
                            > implying that it was written in LaTeX. It also has the "LaTeX Look". So
                            > they either have a converter, or a converter from a third format, or
                            > somebody worked hard on manual conversion.

                            Just a correction: it appears that the "All these chapters together"
                            Postscript file was generated from the TeX, while the individual chapter
                            Postscript files were generated from Word. Strange...

                            Guess which of the Postscript file sets looks better :)

                            P.S. I don't have the printed book here, so I wonder if someone has the
                            book and can check: This postscript file only contains 6 chapters and 64
                            pages. I remember the book wasn't very fat, but not that it was so short...
                            Is it really the entire book?

                            --
                            Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Jun 14 2001, 23 Sivan 5761
                            nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                            Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |A computer program does what you tell it
                            http://nadav.harel.org.il |to do, not what you want it to do.
                          • Tzafrir Cohen
                            ... When you have the published notes, you can always add your own remarks on them at the time of the class. Actually, having the course notes (or at least
                            Message 13 of 22 , Jun 14, 2001
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                              On 14 Jun 2001, Oleg Goldshmidt wrote:

                              > Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> writes:

                              > > Otherwise, I don't see how I can study in a course like that, purely out
                              > > of my lecture and exercise notes.
                              >
                              > Generations of students, including Nadav and myself (I am probably
                              > quite a bit older - my BSc/MSc years were in the 80ties) studied like
                              > that. I consider myself quite well educated, and judging by Nadav's
                              > postings (we've never met, have we?), so was he. Of course, besides
                              > lecture and exercise notes there were always books and papers.
                              >
                              > For your sake, and that of your course mates, I hope you do write
                              > notes at the lectures, not relying on the published notes
                              > entirely. And you do attend the lectures, right? Students' notes are
                              > highly individual, and there is usually ample time during a lecture to
                              > think and write down your thoughts. That does help later on.

                              When you have the published notes, you can always add your own remarks on
                              them at the time of the class.

                              Actually, having the course notes (or at least slides) in advance helps
                              very much, because the student can focus on listening, instead of on
                              writing.

                              Having the notes in advance is good, because in the time of the lecture
                              you can write your personal notes on them.

                              The downside is that if you don't write anything, there is a better chance
                              that you become a passive listener. But that can also happen if you are
                              busy writing.

                              >
                              > > I realize things were different in the past, but I think the situation
                              > > today, that everything is going to be available in an Electronic format,
                              > > is a very good development, and soon students will expect to have it
                              > > so.
                              >
                              > I agree with that. The danger is that reliance on new technology
                              > should not come at the expense of "hands-on" knowledge and skills.

                              What skill are you refering to? handwriting?

                              Actually, I find it quite a relief when I can actually spend most of the
                              lecture actively listening, instead of spending the time with writing
                              notes. I have a problem with other people's notes, because they always
                              miss some spesific points that I personally find important.

                              --
                              Tzafrir Cohen
                              mailto:tzafrir@...
                              http://www.technion.ac.il/~tzafrir
                            • Dan Kenigsberg
                              ... With pdf I tend to get much fewer errors. That s a fact. For example, Even s Chapter1.ps wouldn t show on my ghostview. I had to distill it into a pdf and
                              Message 14 of 22 , Jun 14, 2001
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                                > I have no idea about the stability of ghostscript on Windows (in Linux it's
                                > prety stable...) but note that as far as I know neither PDF nor Postscript
                                > are supported in Windows unless you install some additional software (Acroread
                                > or Ghostscript) - so typical Windows users will have not heard of neither
                                > format, actually.
                                >
                                > > Why not PDF then? And why not a well-formed document of either format?
                                > >
                                > > If he had been such a benevolent person, he would have gone the trouble of
                                > > providing us with a valid document, not one that we have to deal with so
                                > > many idiosyncrecies just to print.
                                >
                                > PDF is a newer format, and the lecturer may not have even heard of it. He
                                > might not have known how to output it from his Word source (how do you do
                                > it, by the way? Is there a PDF printer driver for Windows? I honestly wouldn't
                                > know how to do it myself, other than using ghostscript's pdf2ps...)
                                >

                                With pdf I tend to get much fewer errors. That's a fact.
                                For example, Even's Chapter1.ps wouldn't show on my ghostview.
                                I had to distill it into a pdf and then it showed.

                                And Nadav,
                                I think I remember they said they have an option for "view only" (no print)
                                pdfs. Maybe this anti-free statement is where your resent towards pdf comes
                                from.
                              • Tzafrir Cohen
                                ... Mind you, ghostview is a resonably capable pdf viewer in its own right (it transparantly applies pdf2ps before viewing the file). For instance, after
                                Message 15 of 22 , Jun 14, 2001
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                                  On Thu, 14 Jun 2001, Dan Kenigsberg wrote:

                                  >
                                  > > I have no idea about the stability of ghostscript on Windows (in Linux it's
                                  > > prety stable...) but note that as far as I know neither PDF nor Postscript
                                  > > are supported in Windows unless you install some additional software (Acroread
                                  > > or Ghostscript) - so typical Windows users will have not heard of neither
                                  > > format, actually.
                                  > >
                                  > > > Why not PDF then? And why not a well-formed document of either format?
                                  > > >
                                  > > > If he had been such a benevolent person, he would have gone the trouble of
                                  > > > providing us with a valid document, not one that we have to deal with so
                                  > > > many idiosyncrecies just to print.
                                  > >
                                  > > PDF is a newer format, and the lecturer may not have even heard of it. He
                                  > > might not have known how to output it from his Word source(how do you do
                                  > > it, by the way? Is there a PDF printer driver for Windows? I honestly wouldn't
                                  > > know how to do it myself, other than using ghostscript's pdf2ps...)
                                  > >
                                  >
                                  > With pdf I tend to get much fewer errors. That's a fact.
                                  > For example, Even's Chapter1.ps wouldn't show on my ghostview.
                                  > I had to distill it into a pdf and then it showed.
                                  >
                                  > And Nadav,
                                  > I think I remember they said they have an option for "view only" (no print)
                                  > pdfs. Maybe this anti-free statement is where your resent towards pdf comes
                                  > from.

                                  Mind you, ghostview is a resonably capable pdf viewer in its own right (it
                                  transparantly applies pdf2ps before viewing the file).

                                  For instance, after distill has "de-obfuscated" the postscript, you will
                                  be able to read it pretty well with ghostview.

                                  And that mechanism in PDF is implemented by adobe's viewer (acrobat
                                  reader). Nothing stops you from using, say [a patched] xpdf to do just the
                                  same.

                                  BTW: there is one advantage for postscript that you forget:

                                  cat file.ps |lpr

                                  (and I actually used this method in the past, after noticing that I can
                                  also access files of the web sites of courses through NFS)

                                  Keep in mind that the lecturer probably hasa postscript printer readily
                                  availble, so maybe this makes postscript considered by him a more
                                  "immediate" documentation form.

                                  As for keeping multiple formats: It is nice, if you can afford to (and
                                  make sure all the copies are in sync.). Its an extra work, and not all
                                  people want (or should) bother.

                                  --
                                  Tzafrir Cohen
                                  mailto:tzafrir@...
                                  http://www.technion.ac.il/~tzafrir
                                • Nadav Har'El
                                  ... Again, Chapter1.ps comes from MS-Word and Windows, and it probably has the same bugs as people mentioned earlier. The fact that the idiots at Microsoft
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Jun 14, 2001
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                                    On Thu, Jun 14, 2001, Dan Kenigsberg wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] Postscript, Copyrights and other Technion Annoyances":
                                    > With pdf I tend to get much fewer errors. That's a fact.
                                    > For example, Even's Chapter1.ps wouldn't show on my ghostview.
                                    > I had to distill it into a pdf and then it showed.

                                    Again, Chapter1.ps comes from MS-Word and Windows, and it probably has the
                                    same bugs as people mentioned earlier. The fact that the idiots at Microsoft
                                    cannot generate proper Postscript code is not a fault of the Postscript
                                    format. As I said, I don't even know how to output PDF format in Microsoft
                                    Word (do you know how?), so I don't see how this can be viewed as a
                                    benefit of PDF...

                                    Actually, the postscript format is much more flexible than PDF, and it is
                                    easier to write a "legal" postscript file than it is to write a legal PDF
                                    file. The fact that Microsoft botched up even this simple Postscript writing
                                    is purely their own fault, and has nothing to do with the Postscript format.
                                    Didn't Microsoft fix this bug in their latest drivers??

                                    BTW, as a few people have already mentioned postscript files can easily be
                                    printed on postscript printers, while printing PDF files requires special
                                    software (that are free as in "chinam", true, but still requires installation).


                                    > And Nadav,
                                    > I think I remember they said they have an option for "view only" (no print)
                                    > pdfs. Maybe this anti-free statement is where your resent towards pdf comes
                                    > from.

                                    I have nothing against PDF. I don't think it's bad. But I don't think it's
                                    better than Postscript either. I think Adobe have learned a few lessons from
                                    Postscript and changed their focus a little (see my previous email about the
                                    important differences between PDF and PS, as I see them). These differences
                                    make PDF files easier to read and process (so that, for example, a drawing
                                    program could import a general PDF file without needed to write hundreds
                                    of thousands of lines of codes for running general Postscript code - this
                                    was a big problem with Postscript), but these issues aren't relevant to
                                    distribution of books.

                                    The "view only" (as well as encryption of the text) features in PDF are
                                    based on the (false) assumption that the PDF viewers will adhere to these
                                    flags and refus to print a "view only" file. Since PDF is an open format
                                    (Dan, you're welcome to come over and see my copy of Adobe's PDF book.
                                    BTW, that book comes with a CD with the entire book in PDF format ;)),
                                    this will obviously not remain the case as people write alternatives to
                                    "acroread". Already stuff like xpdf, ghostview, etc., can show PDF and/or
                                    convert it to postscript for printing.

                                    --
                                    Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Jun 14 2001, 23 Sivan 5761
                                    nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                                    Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |If at first you don't succeed, skydiving
                                    http://nadav.harel.org.il |is not for you.
                                  • Oleg Goldshmidt
                                    ... True. I certainly agree with that. ... I suppose so. But you can t easily write down mechanically what the lecturer says. You must think when you take down
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Jun 14, 2001
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                                      Tzafrir Cohen <tzafrir@...> writes:

                                      > When you have the published notes, you can always add your own remarks on
                                      > them at the time of the class.

                                      True. I certainly agree with that.

                                      > The downside is that if you don't write anything, there is a better chance
                                      > that you become a passive listener. But that can also happen if you are
                                      > busy writing.

                                      I suppose so. But you can't easily write down mechanically what the
                                      lecturer says. You must think when you take down notes. I hardly ever
                                      write down what the lecturer says (as far as university courses are
                                      concerned, most of that is in the books anyway), but rather what I
                                      think. Well, maybe I am wired that way.

                                      > > I agree with that. The danger is that reliance on new technology
                                      > > should not come at the expense of "hands-on" knowledge and skills.
                                      >
                                      > What skill are you refering to? handwriting?

                                      No. I am referring to knowledge of how things are done as opposed to
                                      reliance on, say, a computer application. I recall, for instance,
                                      teaching Physics lab at TAU - the first year. One of the main emphases
                                      was on analysing and processing experimental data. In particular,
                                      students were taught to do linear regression by hand. There were
                                      always students who said, "Why should we do that? We will just type
                                      the data into Excel and click on the button." That's the modern
                                      technology solution, but the approach relies on, khm, Microsoft (read:
                                      modern technology) too much. I used to suggest doing the regression by
                                      hand and comparing the results to Excel. Exercise for the reader: what
                                      happened?

                                      The point I tried to make to the students was, it's important to know
                                      how the solution works, what is going on, and whether the readily
                                      available solution is applicable to the problem at hand.

                                      > I have a problem with other people's notes, because they always
                                      > miss some spesific points that I personally find important.

                                      That's exactly my point. Notes are individual, and that's important.

                                      --
                                      Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                                      If it ain't broken, it hasn't got enough features yet.
                                    • Oleg Goldshmidt
                                      ... There is another: lpr file.ps ;-) In fact, when you send a PDF file to the printer, I believe (correct me if I am wrong) it is converted to PS because
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Jun 14, 2001
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                                        Tzafrir Cohen <tzafrir@...> writes:

                                        > BTW: there is one advantage for postscript that you forget:
                                        >
                                        > cat file.ps |lpr

                                        There is another:

                                        lpr file.ps
                                        ;-)

                                        In fact, when you send a PDF file to the printer, I believe (correct
                                        me if I am wrong) it is converted to PS because that's what the
                                        (postscript) printer actually understands.

                                        --
                                        Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                                        If it ain't broken, it hasn't got enough features yet.
                                      • Shlomi Fish
                                        ... Hmmmpf. But since the facts say that Word cannot convert to PostScript well without using Adobe Acrobat/Distiller, then it would make sense to keep them as
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Jun 15, 2001
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                                          On 14 Jun 2001, Oleg Goldshmidt wrote:

                                          > Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> writes:
                                          >
                                          > > Actually, I usually like to have the source to the document and most
                                          > > everyday people (who distribute files as MS-Word between them and
                                          > > themselves) agree with me. Why? Let's assume that I'm working on an
                                          > > assignment along with my course's partner. If he gave it to me as a
                                          > > PostScrtipt file, I would not be able to change it: correct typos and
                                          > > mistakes, add new sections, fix the style and alignment, etc.
                                          >
                                          > Shlomi, it's a different issue. You are talking about co-operative
                                          > development (code or docs, doesn't matter). It does not apply to
                                          > documents that are distributed for imformation only, such as papers
                                          > that you download from the 'net, or the lecture notes in question.
                                          > There is no reason why you should modify those. Moreover, the document
                                          > author may want to prevent you from modifying it (easily).
                                          >

                                          Hmmmpf. But since the facts say that Word cannot convert to PostScript
                                          well without using Adobe Acrobat/Distiller, then it would make sense to
                                          keep them as Word files. Unless the man who does the conversion takes the
                                          effort Nadav describes and produces a well-formed and portable PostScript
                                          or PDF out of it.

                                          Something everybody and his mother can view with Adobe Acrobat or any
                                          other PDF viewer.

                                          > > On the other hand with a Word file (I'll use Word files as an example but
                                          > > it also appplies to LaTeX or whatever) I can do all that extrafine.
                                          >
                                          > Word is, in my experience, very poorly suited for collaboration. Too
                                          > many things depend on the exact version and configuration. I often
                                          > can't read (let alone modify) Word files that my colleagues send me,
                                          > for all sorts of weird reasons. LaTeX is very portable, on the other
                                          > hand. I haven't seen an unreadable LaTeX/dvi/ps file for years.
                                          >
                                          > I consider Word maybe a suitable tool to write an informal
                                          > letter. It's totally unsuitable for serious documents (for lack of
                                          > usability, modularity, compatibility, quality of output). I am not
                                          > saying it cannot be used at all for that purpose, just that it causes
                                          > too much pain.
                                          >

                                          That's an implementation problem - a very big implementation problem, but
                                          I was talking about the principle. The documents which I hand as homework
                                          assignments are written in Hebrew, so I have to use Word for that. Maybe
                                          one day I'll switch to LaXeT ( I heard the Hebrew support is not very good
                                          there) or to HTML with logical Hebrew and MathML (gvim, anyone?) but until
                                          then Word will have to do.

                                          But I suppose that it will take a long time before someone will know how
                                          to handle such a document, and everybody I study with knows how to use
                                          Word.

                                          For the record, I can testify that I used WordPerfect 5.1 and WordPerfect
                                          6.0 for DOS and liked them more than I like any of the numerous versions
                                          of Word I used. I liked their "Reveal Codes" feature, I liked the fact
                                          that they were non-WYSIWYG and just highlighted characters based on their
                                          style. And I liked the fact that they were very lightweight programs. (Can
                                          Word2000 run on an XT? WP5.1 could.)

                                          WP6.0 also had a WYSIWYG mode, which was sometimes useful, but it seems
                                          that the new WordPerfects for Linux contain only it, and the highlighted
                                          text mode is no longer available. That's a shame, IMO, because I liked it
                                          a lot. But who can fight the WYSIWYG buzzword...

                                          The answer is LaTeX, which I did not have any experience with it yet, but
                                          seems very nice on the surface.

                                          I like Excel though, and think it's a very good SpreadSheet program.
                                          Better than Quattro Pro for DOS, anyways. Thus, Microsoft are capable of
                                          doing things right, but obviously have not done so in Word.

                                          > > http://www.cs.technion.ac.il/~algs/EvenBook/evenbook.html
                                          >
                                          > Are you sure it is the whole book? Was the book 64 pages?
                                          >

                                          I have no idea. You can ask Prof. Even if it is indeed so. Or maybe the
                                          book had smaller pages.

                                          > > Is there a functional LaTeX to Word coverter out there? I'd kill to have
                                          > > it
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > I could not make latex2rtf work properly. latex2html seems to be
                                          > partly functional, and html files can be opened by Word and then saved
                                          > as .doc.
                                          >

                                          But will it preserve all the formulas and stuff?

                                          >
                                          > > Otherwise, I don't see how I can study in a course like that, purely out
                                          > > of my lecture and exercise notes.
                                          >
                                          > Generations of students, including Nadav and myself (I am probably
                                          > quite a bit older - my BSc/MSc years were in the 80ties) studied like
                                          > that. I consider myself quite well educated, and judging by Nadav's
                                          > postings (we've never met, have we?), so was he. Of course, besides
                                          > lecture and exercise notes there were always books and papers.
                                          >

                                          But there are a lot of students in the EE faculty (1000 in total IINM) and
                                          unless the books are available in the "Library of the Dean" there aren't
                                          enough for everybody. So, either the Technion should but a lot of books
                                          and lend them to Students, or he should have readily available course
                                          material.

                                          > For your sake, and that of your course mates, I hope you do write
                                          > notes at the lectures, not relying on the published notes
                                          > entirely.

                                          If there are published notes and they are detailed enough, I usually sit
                                          at the lectures with them on my desk, and listen to the lecturer
                                          explaining it. If he writes something new that doesn't appear there or
                                          sais a good comment, I write it down.

                                          However, in such courses I don't usually write as much in the notebook as
                                          in courses, which don't have lecture notes, or such of a bad quality.

                                          >And you do attend the lectures, right? Students' notes are
                                          > highly individual, and there is usually ample time during a lecture to
                                          > think and write down your thoughts. That does help later on.
                                          >
                                          > > I realize things were different in the past, but I think the situation
                                          > > today, that everything is going to be available in an Electronic format,
                                          > > is a very good development, and soon students will expect to have it
                                          > > so.
                                          >
                                          > I agree with that. The danger is that reliance on new technology
                                          > should not come at the expense of "hands-on" knowledge and skills.
                                          >

                                          I don't think students know less if the course material is available on
                                          the web. In fact, I think they will have an easier time and could invest
                                          more time in doing homework, rehearsing it, etc.

                                          Or maybe I did not understand what "hands-on" mean? Can you elaborate?

                                          Regards,

                                          Shlomi Fish

                                          > --
                                          > Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                                          > If it ain't broken, it hasn't got enough features yet.
                                          >
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                                          >



                                          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                          Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
                                          Home E-mail: shlomif@...

                                          A more experienced programmer does not make less bugs. He just realizes
                                          what went wrong more quickly.
                                        • Tzafrir Cohen
                                          ... If you convert it using ghostscript (ps2pdf) the result will be good enough, but may be much larger. So you can live without adobe. ... Use LyX (and the
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Jun 15, 2001
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                                            On Fri, 15 Jun 2001, Shlomi Fish wrote:

                                            > On 14 Jun 2001, Oleg Goldshmidt wrote:
                                            >
                                            > > Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> writes:
                                            > >
                                            > > > Actually, I usually like to have the source to the document and most
                                            > > > everyday people (who distribute files as MS-Word between them and
                                            > > > themselves) agree with me. Why? Let's assume that I'm working on an
                                            > > > assignment along with my course's partner. If he gave it to me as a
                                            > > > PostScrtipt file, I would not be able to change it: correct typos and
                                            > > > mistakes, add new sections, fix the style and alignment, etc.
                                            > >
                                            > > Shlomi, it's a different issue. You are talking about co-operative
                                            > > development (code or docs, doesn't matter). It does not apply to
                                            > > documents that are distributed for imformation only, such as papers
                                            > > that you download from the 'net, or the lecture notes in question.
                                            > > There is no reason why you should modify those. Moreover, the document
                                            > > author may want to prevent you from modifying it (easily).
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            > Hmmmpf. But since the facts say that Word cannot convert to PostScript
                                            > well without using Adobe Acrobat/Distiller, then it would make sense to
                                            > keep them as Word files. Unless the man who does the conversion takes the
                                            > effort Nadav describes and produces a well-formed and portable PostScript
                                            > or PDF out of it.
                                            >
                                            > Something everybody and his mother can view with Adobe Acrobat or any
                                            > other PDF viewer.

                                            If you convert it using ghostscript (ps2pdf) the result will be good
                                            enough, but may be much larger. So you can live without adobe.

                                            >
                                            > > > On the other hand with a Word file (I'll use Word files as an example but
                                            > > > it also appplies to LaTeX or whatever) I can do all that extrafine.
                                            > >
                                            > > Word is, in my experience, very poorly suited for collaboration. Too
                                            > > many things depend on the exact version and configuration. I often
                                            > > can't read (let alone modify) Word files that my colleagues send me,
                                            > > for all sorts of weird reasons. LaTeX is very portable, on the other
                                            > > hand. I haven't seen an unreadable LaTeX/dvi/ps file for years.
                                            > >
                                            > > I consider Word maybe a suitable tool to write an informal
                                            > > letter. It's totally unsuitable for serious documents (for lack of
                                            > > usability, modularity, compatibility, quality of output). I am not
                                            > > saying it cannot be used at all for that purpose, just that it causes
                                            > > too much pain.
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            > That's an implementation problem - a very big implementation problem, but
                                            > I was talking about the principle. The documents which I hand as homework
                                            > assignments are written in Hebrew, so I have to use Word for that. Maybe
                                            > one day I'll switch to LaXeT ( I heard the Hebrew support is not very good
                                            > there) or to HTML with logical Hebrew and MathML (gvim, anyone?) but until
                                            > then Word will have to do.

                                            Use LyX (and the more decent support for LaTeX2e/babel). Works great. Much
                                            better than word, IMHO.

                                            The advantage of LyX over plain LaTeX is that you can see the formulas
                                            that you write. If yo have a series of complex equations, it is helpful.

                                            >
                                            > But I suppose that it will take a long time before someone will know how
                                            > to handle such a document, and everybody I study with knows how to use
                                            > Word.

                                            Ditto for LyX (except that on windows you currntly need an X server)

                                            >
                                            > For the record, I can testify that I used WordPerfect 5.1 and WordPerfect
                                            > 6.0 for DOS and liked them more than I like any of the numerous versions
                                            > of Word I used. I liked their "Reveal Codes" feature, I liked the fact
                                            > that they were non-WYSIWYG and just highlighted characters based on their
                                            > style. And I liked the factthat they were very lightweight programs. (Can
                                            > Word2000 run on an XT? WP5.1 could.)
                                            >
                                            > WP6.0 also had a WYSIWYG mode, which was sometimes useful, but it seems
                                            > that the new WordPerfects for Linux contain only it, and the highlighted
                                            > text mode is no longer available. That's a shame, IMO, because I liked it
                                            > a lot. But who can fight the WYSIWYG buzzword...

                                            "LyX is the first WYSIWYM word processor"

                                            >
                                            > The answer is LaTeX, which I did not have any experience with it yet, but
                                            > seems very nice on the surface.
                                            >
                                            > I like Excel though, and think it's avery good SpreadSheet program.
                                            > Better than Quattro Pro for DOS, anyways. Thus, Microsoft are capable of
                                            > doing things right, but obviously have not done so in Word.


                                            > > > Is there a functional LaTeX to Word coverter out there? I'd kill to have
                                            > > > it
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > I could not make latex2rtf work properly. latex2html seems to be
                                            > > partly functional, and html files can be opened by Word and then saved
                                            > > as .doc.
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            > But will it preserve all the formulas and stuff?

                                            LaTex2HTML simply conevrts them to bitmaps...


                                            --
                                            Tzafrir Cohen
                                            mailto:tzafrir@...
                                            http://www.technion.ac.il/~tzafrir
                                          • Shlomi Fish
                                            ... Like I said, I did such a thing and it didn t came out very well - I got lost characters and all. My guess is that because the PostScript file was not
                                            Message 21 of 22 , Jun 15, 2001
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                                              On Fri, 15 Jun 2001, Tzafrir Cohen wrote:

                                              > On Fri, 15 Jun 2001, Shlomi Fish wrote:
                                              >
                                              > > On 14 Jun 2001, Oleg Goldshmidt wrote:
                                              > >
                                              > > > Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> writes:
                                              > > >
                                              > > > > Actually, I usually like to have the source to the document and most
                                              > > > > everyday people (who distribute files as MS-Word between them and
                                              > > > > themselves) agree with me. Why? Let's assume that I'm working on an
                                              > > > > assignment along with my course's partner. If he gave it to me as a
                                              > > > > PostScrtipt file, I would not be able to change it: correct typos and
                                              > > > > mistakes, add new sections, fix the style and alignment, etc.
                                              > > >
                                              > > > Shlomi, it's a different issue. You are talking about co-operative
                                              > > > development (code or docs, doesn't matter). It does not apply to
                                              > > > documents that are distributed for imformation only, such as papers
                                              > > > that you download from the 'net, or the lecture notes in question.
                                              > > > There is no reason why you should modify those. Moreover, the document
                                              > > > author may want to prevent you from modifying it (easily).
                                              > > >
                                              > >
                                              > > Hmmmpf. But since the facts say that Word cannot convert to PostScript
                                              > > well without using Adobe Acrobat/Distiller, then it would make sense to
                                              > > keep them as Word files. Unless the man who does the conversion takes the
                                              > > effort Nadav describes and produces a well-formed and portable PostScript
                                              > > or PDF out of it.
                                              > >
                                              > > Something everybody and his mother can view with Adobe Acrobat or any
                                              > > other PDF viewer.
                                              >
                                              > If you convert it using ghostscript (ps2pdf) the result will be good
                                              > enough, but may be much larger. So you can live without adobe.
                                              >

                                              Like I said, I did such a thing and it didn't came out very well - I got
                                              lost characters and all. My guess is that because the PostScript file was
                                              not well-formed, the PDF did not came out very well either.

                                              My guess is that Acrobat/Distiller will produce better results, because
                                              the Adobe people know how to convert something to PDF or PostScript better
                                              than the Microsoft guys. (who wrote the stupid PostScript printer driver
                                              for Windows)

                                              > >
                                              > > > > On the other hand with a Word file (I'll use Word files as an example but
                                              > > > > it also appplies to LaTeX or whatever) I can do all that extrafine.
                                              > > >
                                              > > > Word is, in my experience, very poorly suited for collaboration. Too
                                              > > > many things depend on the exact version and configuration. I often
                                              > > > can't read (let alone modify) Word files that my colleagues send me,
                                              > > > for all sorts of weird reasons. LaTeX is very portable, on the other
                                              > > > hand. I haven't seen an unreadable LaTeX/dvi/ps file for years.
                                              > > >
                                              > > > I consider Word maybe a suitable tool to write an informal
                                              > > > letter. It's totally unsuitable for serious documents (for lack of
                                              > > > usability, modularity, compatibility, quality of output). I am not
                                              > > > saying it cannot be used at all for that purpose, just that it causes
                                              > > > too much pain.
                                              > > >
                                              > >
                                              > > That's an implementation problem - a very big implementation problem, but
                                              > > I was talking about the principle. The documents which I hand as homework
                                              > > assignments are written in Hebrew, so I have to use Word for that. Maybe
                                              > > one day I'll switch to LaXeT ( I heard the Hebrew support is not very good
                                              > > there) or to HTML with logical Hebrew and MathML (gvim, anyone?) but until
                                              > > then Word will have to do.
                                              >
                                              > Use LyX (and the more decent support for LaTeX2e/babel). Works great. Much
                                              > better than word, IMHO.
                                              >
                                              > The advantage of LyX over plain LaTeX is that you can see the formulas
                                              > that you write. If yo have a series of complex equations, it is helpful.
                                              >

                                              Maybe I will. But does Lyx has a reveal codes feature in which I will be
                                              able to write it in LaTeX and see the results immidiately? If I have to
                                              use the mouse-based equations editor to edit equations, than it is as bad
                                              as Word. But if it can serve as a real-time previewer to what I write,
                                              than it could be excellent as it combines the best of the WYSIWYG and
                                              source code worlds.

                                              Another thing: what I would like to do when writing LaTeX is to use
                                              logical styles, that the LaTeX interpreter will translate into visual
                                              ones. When I'm done, I can tweak them so everything will look well.

                                              > >
                                              > > But I suppose that it will take a long time before someone will know how
                                              > > to handle such a document, and everybody I study with knows how to use
                                              > > Word.
                                              >
                                              > Ditto for LyX (except that on windows you currntly need an X server)
                                              >

                                              Yes, but Lyx is not installed by default on our computers. Neither is an
                                              X-server or cygwin, which is required for XFree86 for Win32, which is the
                                              only free X server I'm aware of.

                                              The problem is that Word is at the moment the standard, at least in the
                                              Windows world. And if I want people to have an easy time in using what I
                                              write, then it works best. I realize it's some kind of inertia/chicken and
                                              egg problem, but that's life.

                                              I hate Word and I don't remember meeting anyone who really liked it. But
                                              when working on Windows and intending something for Windows people, it's
                                              what I'd usually use, at least for Hebrew. For English I use a mixture of
                                              plaintext files, HTML, Word and recently - Perl POD.

                                              > >
                                              > > For the record, I can testify that I used WordPerfect 5.1 and WordPerfect
                                              > > 6.0 for DOS and liked them more than I like any of the numerous versions
                                              > > of Word I used. I liked their "Reveal Codes" feature, I liked the fact
                                              > > that they were non-WYSIWYG and just highlighted characters based on their
                                              > > style. And I liked the factthat they were very lightweight programs. (Can
                                              > > Word2000 run on an XT? WP5.1 could.)
                                              > >
                                              > > WP6.0 also had a WYSIWYG mode, which was sometimes useful, but it seems
                                              > > that the new WordPerfects for Linux contain only it, and the highlighted
                                              > > text mode is no longer available. That's a shame, IMO, because I liked it
                                              > > a lot. But who can fight the WYSIWYG buzzword...
                                              >
                                              > "LyX is the first WYSIWYM word processor"
                                              >

                                              WYSIWYM = What you see is what you mean?

                                              The slogan sounds nice, but I'll have to check the implmentation to see if
                                              they fullfilled it.

                                              > > > > Is there a functional LaTeX to Word coverter out there? I'd kill to have
                                              > > > > it
                                              > > >
                                              > > >
                                              > > > I could not make latex2rtf work properly. latex2html seems to be
                                              > > > partly functional, and html files can be opened by Word and then saved
                                              > > > as .doc.
                                              > > >
                                              > >
                                              > > But will it preserve all the formulas and stuff?
                                              >
                                              > LaTex2HTML simply conevrts them to bitmaps...
                                              >

                                              Which makes them quite useless, if you ask me. After all, they can't be
                                              editted, copy and pasted, etc.

                                              I hope that it can be
                                              hacked to have an option to convert them to MathML equations. MathML is
                                              the HTML standard for drawing equations. It is supported by the Amaya
                                              browser, but I don't know which other browsers. Netscape 4.7 does not
                                              support it, and AFAIR neither does IE5. Don't know about Konqueror,
                                              Mozilla, or IE6.

                                              Regards,

                                              Shlomi Fish

                                              >
                                              > --
                                              > Tzafrir Cohen
                                              > mailto:tzafrir@...
                                              > http://www.technion.ac.il/~tzafrir
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
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                                              >
                                              >



                                              ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                              Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
                                              Home E-mail: shlomif@...

                                              A more experienced programmer does not make less bugs. He just realizes
                                              what went wrong more quickly.
                                            • Nadav Har'El
                                              ... Since nobody remembered, I went ahead and actually checked the book. This postscript file only covers the first 6 chapters of the book. There are 4
                                              Message 22 of 22 , Jun 18, 2001
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                                                On Thu, Jun 14, 2001, Nadav Har'El wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] Postscript, Copyrights and other Technion Annoyances":
                                                > P.S. I don't have the printed book here, so I wonder if someone has the
                                                > book and can check: This postscript file only contains 6 chapters and 64
                                                > pages. I remember the book wasn't very fat, but not that it was so short...
                                                > Is it really the entire book?

                                                Since nobody remembered, I went ahead and actually checked the book.
                                                This postscript file only covers the first 6 chapters of the book. There
                                                are 4 chapters missing, unfortunately:
                                                7. Planar Graphs
                                                8. Testing Graph Planarity
                                                9. The Theory of NP-Completeness
                                                10. NP-Complete Graph Problems

                                                The 64 pages of the postscript file covers the same 6 chapters that the first
                                                147 pages of the book covers (the book has smaller pages).

                                                If I remember correctly, these missing 4 chapters are indeed not taught in
                                                the "Algorithms in Graph Theory" course in the technion - but it is still
                                                unfortunate that these chapters missing. Perhaps someone with better
                                                connections in the Technion can ask them to release the 4 missing chapters?
                                                Or perhaps to start printing that book again so I could buy it...

                                                --
                                                Nadav Har'El | Monday, Jun 18 2001, 27 Sivan 5761
                                                nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                                                Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Ways to Relieve Stress #10: Make up a
                                                http://nadav.harel.org.il |language and ask people for directions.
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