# [Pipet Devel] LaTeX etc. WAS executing a network script

Wed May 10 08:47:02 EDT 2000

```Jeff wrote:
> Why do you think LyX wraps LaTeX rather than TeX, if TeX is the more
powerful
> tool?  LaTeX is already an abstracted UI, correct?  So, why doesn't
LyX work
> directly with TeX?

Well, LaTeX isn't a UI, it is just a set of macros to make things
easier. For instance, in TeX you might have to do some crazy thing
like:

\ncn{\!}\index{"!@{\ntt\bslchar\qcbang}}}

to get a particular set of text typeset a certain way, while LaTeX
just takes the most useful of these commands and makes them into
macros like:

\section{}

What you lose is that there are lots of small changes you could do in
TeX to specifically alter the typeset output, while you are stuck with
the way the macro does it in LaTeX. However, most of these changes are
probably so subtle that only an expert typesetter would notice the
differences, so for someone like me, LaTeX has plenty of control.
I would imagine that LyX doesn't work directly with TeX because
they would just end up redifining the macros all over again in a
similar way to LaTeX. Why bother to do this when you can use an
exisiting popular system? Sure, if they started from TeX they would
probably make things a little different, but then you would spend a
ton of time, and also lose all of the nice packages that have already
been written to use with LaTeX. Plus LaTeX is sooooo damn nice :-)

> Also, is there a different between .latex and .tex file formats?

I think that both LaTeX and TeX always just use a .tex extension.
Since the underlying typsetting program in TeX in both cases, the
program just has to know whether it needs to expand LaTeX macros or
not. It is actually incredibly easy to tell the difference between
documents and plain TeX and LaTeX so I don't think having different
extensions is really needed.

> Are there any Word <-> TeX/LaTeX format converters?

But of course -> http://www.kfa-juelich.de/isr/1/texconv/texcnv.html.