Open source LaTeX book first release

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submitted by anmnv

Open source LaTeX book first release

Better design, new features and readme.

... and this is the most popular open source LaTeX book on github ❤️

https://github.com/AnMnv/eBook

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29 Comments

OsaErisXero

I love how the Oreilly books became the gold standard for covers for this sort of thing.

Retiring

There are a lot of typos in this book. Are you looking for someone to proofread? Great work btw

anmnv [OP]

thanks, will correct all typos asap

AnUnusualRelic

Sure, the docx file is online if you want to help.

theshatterstone54

Great! I forgot that Latex was on my mental list of things to learn/look into, so now I can add it on my actual written list, and bookmark this page.

flango

Wooow, thank you!

pastermil

Hope they can get into the latex3 programming stuff as well!

filister

You guys can also check out Typst https://typst.app/. It is a lot easier than LaTeX even though not as powerful. It has meaningful error messages making the debugging a lot more user friendly.

nice

I had been using LaTeX at work and decided to give Typst a try:

I installed the compiler and vscode extensions to run Typst natively.

Setting up my orgs template in Typst was significantly easier then LaTeX and took about 20% less lines of code.

I like the more modern, practical syntax for writing docs.

It's still a relatively young project though, so I found a few rough edges:

  • Paragraph indentation rules for my language weren't available: managed to find a workaround though
  • Only allows use of relative paths for images, imports etc: apparently for security reasons, forces me to have template logo in almost every folder
  • Localized dates: Typst can't do it
  • No \graphicspath like command: LaTeX will search for an image by filename in each specified folder, in order. Typst has no equivalent command (yet)

Overall I was positively impressed, but went back to LaTeX mostly because of the last two points. Curious to see how Typst will be in a few years!

Retiring

Under every single LaTeX themed post there is someone suggesting typst. Why use something open, if you can use something proprietary? /s

filister

The compiler is open source: https://github.com/typst/typst

And maybe because LaTeX is a pain to work and debug? So please don't tell me that you have never been frustrated with it.

Retiring , edited

What are you using it for? Did you publish anything written in typst? Edit: this is a genuine question.

moritz

The Typst compiler is available under the Apache License 2.0.

The web app at https://typst.app is proprietary but also completely optional. You can use Typst with only a text editor supporting the LSP (VSCodium, Kate, Atom, ...), typst-lsp (Apache-2.0 OR MIT) and the Typst compiler.

jonno

Why can’t I find any information about pricing on that page?

moritz

Because it's free for the time being.

Farid

What's an "open source" book? You don't compile a book, aren't they all "open source"? Do they list all the sources for their text or something?

NotNotMike

Well yes, but also no. You can't reproduce a book because that violates copyrights.

Open source in this context just means that nobody owns the book, you can reproduce it however many times you want, and distribute it where you want as long as you include the original license in the reproduction (MIT license).

Also, there's a bit of a colloquial understanding that others are able to contribute or fork the original source material.

Farid

But "open source" doesn't even mean that you can reproduce it or use it for free. It just means that you can see the source code. The permissiveness, as you mentioned, lies in the licensing.
So I still think that it's a complete misnomer.

Markaos

But "open source" doesn't even mean that you can reproduce it or use it for free.

You're thinking of source-available licenses. Open source has a clear and widely accepted definition that requires a certain level of freedom. You're free to ignore this definition, but you can't expect the rest of the world to do the same.

To be clear, open source allows for only providing access to paying customers, but those paying customers are then free to use and distribute their copies without any further payment. Then it wouldn't be open source anymore.

Farid

Fair enough, I didn't know that "open-source" is, in of itself, sort of a misnomer and, by the formal definition, a book can be open-source, because the phrase means certain specific things not tied to source code, contrary to what the name implies.
And in my defense, I've seen some software that required license key to use, with code available on GitHub or something that called itself open-source (I won't be able to recall the specific names). I assume the term is misused often.

Markaos

No worries, nothing wrong with not knowing everything about every random subject. I would like to apologize for being overly harsh, I assumed that people in c/opensource would have general knowledge of this definition, but that assumption was clearly bad. So again, sorry.

I assume the term is misused often.

Yes, companies sometimes do that. Open source is marketable as a guarantee that you won't fully lose access to a piece of software, and there aren't any real consequences of misusing it. But there's also a scheme called dual licensing where the software is available under two licenses - one license is open source but annoying for commercial use, and the other is a "normal" proprietary license under which businesses can buy the code. This is fine (as long as the provider has copyright to all the code being dual licensed) and is pretty common and makes the software open source.

sweng , edited

"Open source" and "source available" are different things. See e.g. https://opensource.org/osd and https://opensource.com/article/18/2/coining-term-open-source-software

Markaos

I mean, it's called "LaTeX by example", so there's a pretty good chance it's written in LaTeX, which you do indeed compile to get the PDF or whatever output you want.

Also, just having access to the source doesn't make it open source - that requires more freedoms. For example, here's GitLab Enterprise Edition source code, fully functional and ready to be used. And also officially described as the proprietary edition of GitLab by the GitLab company itself. Why? Because its license pretty much boils down to "you can use this only for testing and development, unless you have paid for it".

Bobby Turkalino

You don’t compile a book

The irony

Farid

I'm surprised this is still getting responses.
Fair jab, but I was obviously the computing term, implying "...from source code".

Bobby Turkalino

Yeah, even in that sense… the irony

Ok I’ll stop being a prick 😂 if you haven’t used Latex before, you do write source code that gets compiled into PDF/PPT/whatever

Farid

I have some experience with Latex, but afaik, it's mostly for writing mathematical formulas and stuff, no?

Bobby Turkalino

Sort of, if you’re writing a research paper or presentation or something like that with a lot of math in it, you can use Latex (for the whole thing, not just the formulas). It’s 10000X better than writing the same stuff in Word, especially if you know how to code