TEX Training Programme:
Frequently Asked Questions


January 30, 2003
  1. What is TEX?

    TEX (pronounced “tech”) is a programming language and typesetting engine developed by the famous computer programmer Prof. Donald Ervine Knuth of Stanford University, US in 1978. TEX is designed for high-quality composition of material that contains a lot of mathematical and technical expressions. It has been adopted by many authors and publishers who generate technical books and papers. Knuth originally created TEX to typeset his book series “The Art of Computer Programming”. TEX has been made freely available by Knuth in a generic form.

  2. What is the output of TEX?

    TEX produces a “DeVice Independent” (DVI) file as output. This file contains only positioning information and pointers to fonts, text characters and rules, and must be translated to a device-specific form for printing or display. The TEX program is usually accompanied by other software to form a complete and usable system.

  3. What is so special about TEX?

    TEX is especially good at typesetting complex technical and scientific (mainly mathematical) documents elegantly and precisely. It allows accurate control of character, font, line, paragraph and page. It also permits great control over print features like accented letters, kerning (modifying the spacing between letters) and ligatures (characters created from adjoining letters). All this is not easily possible with an ordinary word processor or page makeup software program. That is why TEX is the first choice for most complex professional typesetting work.

  4. So is TEX a desktop typesetting and publishing (dtp) system?

    In a way, yes, though it would be more accurately described as a mark-up language to format text. But the final output of a TEX job is often indistinguishable from a DTP job. Perhaps it could be called a digital typesetting and publishing system.

  5. What is the difference beween text processing and word processing?

    Text processing involves the use of a good text editor (like vi or Emacs in the Unix environment) to manipulate text. The output is stored in the ASCII format, intended to be a universal means of representing and transferring text.

    Word processing is usually done in a WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”) environment that integrates several typesetting and page formatting functions in one application to produce a document without intermediary steps.

  6. So why should I prefer text processing?

    Working with ASCII text directly has many advantages. The output is compact and easily stored, and separating the final formatting from actual writing allows the writer to focus on content rather than appearance. Writing blocks of ASCII is convenient and no thought needs to be given to the marking-up process until the end.

    An ASCII document is not dependent on one application; the simplest of editors or even a command line query can access its contents.

    The main configuration files for Win95/98/2000/XP, NT and OS/2, on the other hand, are in binary format, easily corruptible and not easily edited. Perhaps this is one reason users of these systems tend towards proprietary word-processing formats which, while not necessarily in binary format, aren’t readable by ASCII-based editors or even other word processors.

  7. Can anyone learn TEX?

    Yes, anyone with a basic aptitude for computers, logical thinking and elegant typesetting can learn TEX. However, there is a learning curve involved, and those with a background in mathematics or physics will find it easier to master TEX.

  8. What is this "techno-entrepreneurial" training about?

    The proposed programme will provide advanced training in TEX so that, at the end of the training period, participants will be able to set up professional commercial text processing and typesetting units. Participants will also be trained in skills of entrepreneurship and company management.

  9. Who is conducting this training programme?

    Technopark, along with The Indian TEX Users Group or TUGIndia, is behind the training programme.

  10. Who is the programme aimed at?

    The training programme is meant for young science graduates with an entrepreneurial bent of mind.

  11. How long is the training?

    The duration of the training programme is three months, at approximately four hours each day for five days of the week.

  12. Is this a full-time programme?

    Yes, participants are expected to attend all training sessions. The programme cannot be combined with other work.

  13. Where will the training be held?

    The training will be held at Technopark, Kazhakkoottam, Trivandrum.

  14. How many seats are available?

    Fifteen (15) seats are available. Of these, eight (8) are reserved for women.

  15. What if there are not enough women candidates?

    The vacancies will be filled in from a list of the top ranking candidates.

  16. What if there are more than 15 eligible candidates?

    A repository of eligible candidates will be maintained, from which participants for future training programmes will be selected.

  17. How often will this course be conducted?

    At present, there are plans to conduct two such programmes. But if there is sufficient demand, more training programmes will be held.

  18. Who is eligible for selection to the training programme?

    Any graduate in science, aged 28 years or less, can apply.

  19. I am an MCA. Can I apply?

    Yes, you may, but diploma holders are not eligible.

  20. What is the selection procedure?

    Candidates whose applications are accepted will have to undergo the following three stages of testing:

    1. computer-based screening for keyboard (typing) speed and accuracy. (At least 40 words per minute speed and above 90 per cent accuracy is expected.)
    2. written test to evaluate overall aptitude, general knowledge and analytical and reasoning skills.
    3. personal interview to assess personality, attitude and entrepreneurial and leadership skills.
  21. How can I apply for the training programme?

    Apply, on plain paper, to this address: TEX Training Programme, Park Centre, Technopark, Kazhakkoottam, Trivandrum 695 581. Please provide personal and professional details in your application, including place of residence and employment experience. Also attach a recent passport-size photograph of yourself.

  22. What is the expected outcome of the training programme?

    The programme is meant to create a pool of enterprising youth who can, collectively or individually, form micro-enterprises that will use TEX to offer text processing and typesetting solutions for a wide range of domestic and overseas clients.

  23. What are the business opportunities that TEX offers?

    At the low end of the spectrum exist opportunities for small jobs like posters and flyers for local outlets. At the medium end, text processing work can be found in colleges, universities and academic institutions, especially where research in mathematics, physics, chemistry and economics is carried out. At the high end, subcontracting work can be found for TEX suppliers to overseas scientific, technical and medical (STM) publishers. Ultimately, trainees who successfully set up a TEX unit can aspire to become direct suppliers to STM clients.

  24. Are there existing businesses in India that rely on TEX?

    Yes, the following are some of the typesetting houses that run their businesses on TEX:

    1. SPS Publishing, Chennai
    2. Thomson Press, Delhi
    3. Macmillan India, Bangalore
    4. Techbooks, Delhi
    5. SR Nova, Bangalore
    6. Integra, Pondicherry
    7. PureTech, Pondicherry
    8. NewGen Imaging, Chennai

    Each of the first four firms mentioned above employs over 1,000 employees. All these firms are also often in need of well-trained TEXnicians.

  25. Will the training impart lessons in management and business development?

    Yes, an Entrepreneurial Development Programme (EDP) will form part of the training course, possibly in collaboration with a management development institute. The EDP will seek to equip trainees with skills in:

    The specific focus of the EDP will be on the successful start-up and running of a small and/or medium enterprise (SME).

  26. Will trainees get some sort of official recognition?

    Those who successfully complete the three-month training programme will be awarded certificates jointly by Technopark and TUGIndia.

  27. Will all trainees be awarded certificates?

    At the end of each month of the training programme, there will be an evaluation test. Trainees are expected to pass these tests. Certificates will awarded only to those who pass these tests with the minimum prescribed marks and who have recorded the minimum level of attendance during the course.

  28. Does the programme offer any form of employment?

    No, the programme does not guarantee any employment whatsoever, nor does it promise to help in placement of trainees at the end of the training period.

  29. Will the organisers help trainees set up micro-enterprises after the training?

    No, neither Technopark nor TUGIndia will get directly involved in helping participants set up firms or enterprises. However, it is likely that the organisers will provide a facilitating environment and support structure.

  30. What is the minimum investment needed to set up a TEX shop?

    You can start with just one computer and a printer at an investment of around Rs. 50,000. However, ideally, a TEX production set-up should have five persons, three computers and a printer, to start with.

  31. Will trainees be paid a stipend or other form of assistance?

    No. There will be no form of financial assistance whatsoever.

  32. Is there a training fee for the programme?

    Yes, a fee of Rs 500 (five hundred rupees) per month will be charged. Thus, the fees for the whole training period will amount to Rs 1,500 (one thousand five hundred rupees). The entire fees will have to be paid upfront in one lump sum at the start of the programme.

  33. Will fees be refunded?

    No, the course fee is non-refundable.

  34. Will there be any instructor assistance available after class hours?

    Online help via email and telephonic support will be available from TUGIndia.

  35. Can trainees work in the lab after class hours?

    Yes, they can also access other Technopark facilities like the library and Internet.

  36. Will there be a live project as part of the training?

    Yes, trainees will get to work on ongoing commercial TEX projects as part of their training programme.

  37. Where can I get more information or clarifications?

    You can email your queries to ttp@technopark.org. Details are also avalable at http://www.tug.org.in and http://www.technopark.org.

Click here for the Syllabus of the training programme.

Brochure | FAQ | Syllabus | The Indian TEX Users Group |
Comments to KG Kumar, TUGIndia, Trivandrum
Last modified: $Date: 2003/01/31 07:45:56 $