Learn Open Things: TeX and Co vs Adobe and Co
User copyeditor has an interesting post about getting into TeX from
the viewpoint of a publishing professional initially working with Adobe
products, but caught by the "vicious update circle". You really should
read it, and I do hope it will be continued!
The post reminded my of my former use of TeX, LaTeX and Co. I wrote my
diploma thesis in pure TeX, and my doctoral thesis in LaTeX, and both I
would do and use again. In my current job, formatting is less
important, and I have to focus on content for reasons of time
restraints. Therefore I switched to Markdown for documentation and
note-taking, also for my personal affairs. However, the important thing
in my opinion is to only use and learn formats and tools that are open
(in access and use).
Is it reasonable to learn something that is actually owned by somebody
else? You'd invest your time into their product or service, therefore
linking a part of your most precious asset (your limited life-time) to
it, actually increasing _their_ value instead of your own. Rather learn
things which are indepentent of a vendor or service, so that your time
invested is worth something without dependency on any commercial
interest -- more freedom and satisfaction!
That's why I never wanted to learn the innards of Windows or any other
proprietary operating system. Why I never learned in detail the use of
a certain design program for integrated circuits and kind of the
industry standard, for which my lab has an expensive multi-seat
license. Instead, I learned KIC, an old and (compared to L-Edit)
laughably small and simple design program, for my former job in
designing and producing quantum cascade lasers. Why I prefer TeX,
LaTeX, GIMP, Xfig, and the like to the "sexy" and powerful "industry
standards" in image and text processing. And why I'm happy I can make
use of Gopher, instead of learning my university's horribly expensive
and demanding content management system!