However, there are issues with WYSIWYG. Although WYSIWYG is unsurpassed for complicated graphical layouts, as anyone who's worked with a WYSIWYG word processor like Word knows, it's time-consuming to change your mind about the layout of your document after it's complete, especially if it spans multiple pages. Worse, it's very, very difficult to have multiple styles for your document, and it's very easy to trash the layout of your document by accident, while changing the content.
For example, say you've written a magazine article, and want to send it in PDF format to a publisher, but you also want to provide it in a friendly screen-readable PDF document to put up on your website. Obviously, you'd want two very different layout styles, and there's just no easy way of doing that with a WYSIWYG package like Word; the layout information is an integral part of the document. Finally, there are issues relating to display drivers, print drivers, page size, and fonts which mean that it's highly unlikely that WYSIWYG - WYSIWYGOnASimilarMachineOnAGoodDay is closer to the truth.
I have been doing a fair bit of writing lately; I've been working on an article for the FreeRadical (disclaimer: I'm also the webmaster for that magazine), and my first book, which is proving harder & more time consuming than I first estimated. I've been using Lyx, a WYSIWYM document processor, running on Mandrake Linux and WindowMaker.
In Lyx, the user works with the document content and structure. You enter text, and mark lines and paragraphs appropriately; for example, as Title, Author, Section, Quote, etc. If you want to enter a footnote, choose "Add Footnote" from the menu, and enter your footnote in the red box that appears in the text at the point of entry. It's all structural, and designed to be easy to edit, read, and proof-read. A friendly GUI makes working with the document even easier, although of course, being an X-Windows application, there are keyboard shortcuts for everything should you prefer.
Once you're happy with your document structure and content, you can get Lyx to export into one of many formats, including Tex and PDF, and HTML (using a utility like latex2html) for web content. The formatting used during export is specified in text style sheets, which are easily modifiable from the defaults to allow you to control exactly how your document looks, in whatever format you choose. That said, I've found the default style sheets perfectly adequate for my needs.
Lyx itself is quite small, and runs adequately on my P150 with 48MB RAM (although PDF export of even a small document takes about a minute or so). It's very stable, although as it makes extensive use of Tex, that shouldn't come as a surprise. There is a port of Lyx available for MS Windows as well. All Lyx files are ASCII, and well documented, so there's little danger of being bitten by upgrades or lack of support; indeed, many Lyx users cite data safety as a key factor in their decision to use Lyx.
Lyx and Lyx documentation can be obtained from the following sites:
Further useful information about Lyx can be obtained from these sites: