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Too much space between words or spaces between words that aren't consistent with nearby lines are much much more ugly
De gustibus non disputandum. In any case I was talking about looking professional, not looking ugly. I've seen lots of professional typesetting that looked ugly because of white space between words; I've never (outside of math journals) seen professional typesetting that had hbox overruns.
you can either use the insecable space "~" between words like in "prevent~cut~there" or you can change the the default glue and white space allowed on a line
(you can't do that in word)
I don't believe you understood what I was saying; I was complaining that TeX was keeping words on a line, not that it was breaking apart words in a sentence. Or maybe I don't understand what you're saying, but "~" is not the solution to any problem I'm thinking about.
(me:) hyphenated words like "S-polynomial" (for example) won't break across lines,
it breaks accross line perfectly if you write it correctly, that is $S$-polynomial.
No, it doesn't. That's exactly what I was using. My dissertation was about skipping S-polynomials reductions, and I faithfully type, $S$-polynomial throughout all 260 pages of the text, except when I have to manually insert hyphenation $S$-poly\-nomial sometimes. A couple of those I almost missed, because it overshot the line only slightly. In retrospect, I should have defined a macro for it, but I don't think that's something that ought to come as a surprise.
Besides, the hyphenation algorithm of TeX is really great
(I think I read somewhere that Knuth was proud of it)
He should be proud of it; it's great. I'm not complaining so much about that; rather, that one can't adequately tell LaTeX to hyphenate $S$-polynomial automatically (or at least it didn't work for me), and similarly that one has to hunt & correct its hbox overruns manually.
About log files: you're right, but it still sucks. If you're using a front-end like Lyx (maybe TeXmacs too, dunno) you don't usually think about those log files; you look for the slugs or for the overfull hbox. Style files should not be removing slugs from draft mode.