Very often I read a question like

How can I set something in LyX?

Every time I think why do you use LyX? I know the biggest advantage is WYSIWYG. But people using LyX normally are not able to edit the code or to set special wishes.

In this relation I think we shouldn't recommend LyX instead we should prefer an editor like TeXStudio/TeXMaker etc.

What do you think?

The most popular editors are listed in the post LaTeX Editors/IDEs

Do we ever recommend an editor in a way that would make a "policy" like this necessary? (On the main site, a question like "What are advantages and disadvantages of LyX?" or "What are reasons for using LyX?" might be interesting though.) – doncherry Oct 17 '11 at 18:41
Do you mean that we should recommend people which have issues with LyX to use a different "real" LaTeX editor instead? As your question is written now it looks like we should avoid "You should use LyX" statements, instead you might actually mean "Do not use LyX, but XYZ". – Martin Scharrer Oct 18 '11 at 8:19
Whilst I agree with doncherry and Martin T, I think it's very good to bring this up. In some cases, I think that we do have a "duty of care" to recommend one thing over another, but in the case of editors I think Martin T's approach is right. – Loop Space Oct 18 '11 at 11:13
@MartinScharrer: My intention was/is to say: "Do not use LyX, but XYZ" ... In this way it is easier to understand LaTeX. – Marco Daniel Oct 18 '11 at 17:12
@MarcoDaniel attention: LyX is not a WYSIWYG editor! – Nikos Alexandris Jun 30 '12 at 7:33
However, LyX is not exactly an WYSIWYG editor! And of course, not even exactly an LaTeX editor. – Nikos Alexandris Sep 30 '12 at 11:18
up vote 29 down vote accepted

I don't think it's up to us to tell people what editor they should use, or to refuse giving advice if they don't agree with our choice. For new users, and especially non-programmers, LyX does have certain advantages, namely being WYSIWYG, and the more familiar formatting and editing environment similar to e.g. {Open|Libre}Office or older versions of MS Word.

Think of it as training wheels - it can get you started directly out-of-the-box, but you will soon have to outgrow them if you want to perform a tricky maneuver or compete with the big boys.

If you think that a user is on the level when a new editor makes more sense -- by all means, do recommend it gently, and when answering, mention that this problem doesn't exist in editor X. But chastising people for not using a certain "blessed" toolset will not make them happy, especially when they are comfortable with their choice or have a valid reason to use Lyx.

People should be free to shoot themselves in the foot, if they so choose.

+1 Despite the fact that we have the urge to scream "Don't use LyX" whenever a LyX question appears. – Alan Munn Oct 18 '11 at 17:03
People should be free to shoot themselves in the foot, if they so choose. That is the important sentence ;-) – Marco Daniel Oct 18 '11 at 17:14
You might soon catch me commenting "DON'T SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT!" on various posts ... :) – doncherry Oct 18 '11 at 20:14
@Doncherry Just so that anyone doesn't get any ideas, you are joking. We should resist the urge to tell LyX users to switch. They might come to that conclusion themselves after finding that certain things are harder to do in LyX. It's a shame there aren't more LyX users here on the site. There do seem to be many who have contributed to the LyX Wiki. – Alan Munn Oct 18 '11 at 22:50
@AlanMunn: Confirmed. – doncherry Oct 18 '11 at 23:09
However, people are not free to shoot in the foot; not in America at least. Ever heard of a guy named Plaxico Burress? – Sony Oct 24 '11 at 22:15
However, LyX is not exactly an WYSIWYG editor! – Nikos Alexandris Sep 30 '12 at 11:15
I went along exactly the road described here, from LyX to frustration with LyX, and then to tex-latex. So LyX can be the gateway to tex-latex addiction. – A Feldman Apr 25 at 14:47

IMHO it is very important to not consider LyX as an "editor" for LaTeX. It is text system in its own respect that just happens to use LaTeX as back end. Thereby LyX profits from many LaTeX benefits. It also provides (via ERT, layouts and modules) an interface to directly interact with the LaTeX backend. So the connection to the topics discussed on is not the front end (the editor), but the back end of LyX.

So I have a feeling that the "question behind" is: Do we want to consider as a forum for LyX-related questions or not.

Given that there is a lyx tag I, would say LyX-related questions are considered as perfectly okay. In this case they should be answered as that. (Even though at times I thought that the very helpful and responsive lyx-users mailing list would be a more adequate source for advice.)

I'm not sure that there was a hidden question in Marco's original post, but you raise a good point. I think that it would be good to attract more LyX users here as well, since most of us are not familiar with it, and we may tend to give more negative answers than is appropriate. But I don't think anyone thinks that LyX is off-topic here. – Alan Munn Oct 19 '11 at 22:47
@AlanMunn For good or for bad, I think there are and will be people thinking LyX is off-topic. – Nikos Alexandris Sep 30 '12 at 11:19

To begin by arguing with Daniel, there are use cases for Lyx, e.g., my (unanswered) Can Lyx syntax files override document class defaults?, and problems arising when using Lyx, e.g., Dave Jarvis' Create new paragraph style in LyX, which show Lyx to be a citizen in the land of Latex, not just a tourist.

Furthermore, debugging even WYSIWYG Lyx problems quite often depends on Latex knowledge, e.g., LyX enumeration style from numbers to letters.

So I do not think that we should deprecate Lyx. What we should do is encourage Lyx users to learn about Latex, since it will help them to use this tool better, and it may make attractive the option most of us prefer, of using Latex (or Context, or Plain Tex, OWHY) directly.

I should say, I have often used ERT boxes in Lyx to test small bits of Latex code for answers I provided here. For some reason obscure even to me, I like organising snippets of Latex code in this way.


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