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Look at the difficulty that S-Polynomial caused. How can anybody possibly claim the LaTeX allows one to concentrate on the meaning and not the layout?
Look at the enormous list of problems with Word that have been compiled on this list, between my post and Andy's post and everyone elses'. If a small hyphenation issue (one to which a fix was posted, btw), is the only problem with Latex, well, that's a small price to pay indeed.
SI agree with Jack Perry's quibble over diagram placement. Again, one cannot just concentrate on the substance of one's writing. I used to get a lot of trouble with nested lists.
I hit some problems with diagram placement too initially. But then I figured out that diagrams really did look nicer at the beginnings and ends of pages, and didn't worry about it so much. Again, I don't think anybody would claim that LaTeX is perfect. But its a heck of a lot better than the alternatives.
but clerical and secretarial staff always prefer WYSIWYG.
There are a number of problems with this statement:
1) It's not true. Back when Word was still in its infancy, and WordPerfect dominated the market, clerical and secretarial staff used WP. You know why? Formatting codes! It was a very hard thing for Microsoft to ween them off these WordPerfect features, and if you ever have to tech support for somebody who started using word processors in that generation, you'll still here questions about how to enable the formatting codes in Word.
2) The fact is that people prefer what they're used to. If secretaries and clerical staff prefer Word, its because what they've been forced to use all these years. That does not imply that its the better solution, or the most efficient solution. I know engineers who waste tons of time banging their head against complex Excel sheets when they'd be better off just using Matlab. Yes, its harder. Yes, it takes a time investment. But you owe it to your employer to be as efficient as possible, and taking hours doing something that could be done in half the time using a better tool is not efficient.
3) The simple fact is that secretaries generally don't work on very complex documents. Rarely do you see them typing up hundred page documents with figures, tables, charts, and extensive bibliographical references. I find it very simple and fast to use TeX for everything these days (even short three-page jobs), but Word is certainly adequate for this sort of work.