Chapter 2. Introduction

Basic facts

About Kile

Kile is an integrated LATEX environment for the KDE desktop. Kile gives you the ability to use all the functionality of LATEX in a graphical interface, giving you easy, immediate, and customized access to all programs for LATEX code-completion, compiling, postprocessing, debugging, conversion and viewing tools; you also get very handy wizards, a LATEX reference and a powerful project manager.

Kile and the Kate Editor Component

Kile is based on the Kate editor component, i.e. a lot of its editing capabilities stem from the Kate editor component itself. Kile extends these capabilities with features to edit LATEX documents. To learn more about the Kate editor component and its capabilities, see the Kate webpage.

What is LATEX?

LATEX is a text-processing system derived from TEX, a program developed originally in 1977 by Donald Knuth to help layout text in a professional way and obtain a layout quality that is on a par with the work of a professional typesetter. LATEX was created by Leslie Lamport to give authors an automatic typesetter, especially to ease the expensive and painstaking process of typesetting of mathematical formulas and expressions, which are enclosed within dollar signs in LATEX for a reason. Today, word-processing programs let any user act as typesetter, but what is often needed is a document that simply looks good without having to spend hours to bring it into shape. LATEX takes that burden on its shoulders, and lets you concentrate on the document instead of on the layout. And yes, it will look good!

How do you pronounce it? Why that strange typesetting?

There is a funny tradition of TEX-related packages to have the strangest pronunciation and typesetting possible. TEX was supposed to be brought in from the Greek τεχ, in Latin letters tech. There are a lot of explanations why, but most likely it is because TEX was originally conceived for technical reports, and indeed its foremost ability was the correct and easy typesetting of mathematical formulae, then an extremely expensive, time-consuming and frustrating business.

The pronunciation is supposed to be as follows: T as you would expect, E as in get, and X as in the German ich. If you do not know what ch sounds like, it is more or less like the sound a hissing cat produces; the IPA symbol is /ç/. Many people report a different pronunciation of ach (IPA symbol /x/), but according to some Greeks, the first version is indeed correct. You should be aware that a lot of people mispronounce TEX as /teks/ or /tek/.

Last, in LATEX the first LA is pronounced as lay: the idea being, while raw TEX is difficult, even a layman can use LATEX macros. A less inspiring, but more realistic explanation is that it stems from the surname of Leslie Lamport, the creator of LATEX. Now you know!