##
** What is LaTeX?**

LaTeX is a document markup language (as
groff/troff and
html
languages are)
for representing structured documents. LaTeX, initially designed and
implemented by
Leslie Lamport in 1994, is based on
Donald E.Knuth's work
*The TeXbook*, (1984)
and is essentially a collection of TeX macros.
TeX is a high quality
typesetting program offering extensive desktop publishing features and
automation, such as numbering and cross-referencing, tables and
figures, detailed page layout, bibliographies, and indexing. Also,
TeX/LaTeX is the only **VIABLE** tool for creating
high quality documents that contain mathematics, physics, chemistry,
biology, and engineering notations. Furthermore, TeX/LaTeX documents can be
easily converted into output that is ADA/508 compliant (e.g.
MathML).
Among many other applications, LaTeX can be also used for
professional music typesetting. Here is
one example of such use. The corresponding source code is
in ascii and contains only markup language commands.

In contrast to most word processors, where one sees the document more
or less as it will look when printed, LaTeX focuses on the meaning
of what is being written without distractions by the visual
presentation of the information.
Finally, Open Source
TeX/LaTeX is a professional typesetting and publishing tool (used
by major publishing houses) that is free to use and/or to modify.

##
** Links to LaTeX tutorials**

##
** Downloading TeX/LaTeX**

There are many ways to download TeX/LaTeX. For example,
TeX User Site Group is a good way to start, regardless of a
computer platform used. And here is the link to my tutorial
LaTeX, MathML, Tex4ht that provides detailed instructions on how to
download TeX/LaTeX from the CSUN site.
Mac users can go directly to the section 9 of the above tutorial:

Download and Installation instructions for Mac platform,

while Windows users are directed to section 10:

Download and Installation instructions for Windows platform,

Initially, the additional downloading options in sections 9.1-9.2,
as well as in sections 10.1-10.2, of the above tutorial can skipped.

And here are
Installation instructions for Linux platform.

##
** Samples of LaTeX source files**

Try this sample first.
The next one is equally simple.
This file contains a bit of
mathematics expressions. Finally, the last two samples present more
advanced use of LaTeX:
Formula gallery and complete
mathematics article. Try them!
For additional reading materials go to section 6 of my tutorial:
First steps with LaTeX, where I also suggest several
graphical front-ends for LaTeX. These front-ends simplify greatly
the use of LaTeX for the beginners. Section 6 also lists additional
links to tutorials and books on LaTeX.