Any simple, cheap, good math writing software?

I’ve been slowly working my way through a math text for fun. (Hold all accusations of nerd-dom for the end, please.) So far I’ve been taking notes and writing up proofs and all that using a notebook and a pencil. I decided that typing would be much neater than my handwriting, but quickly discovered that getting OpenOffice to display the proper symbols was often difficult and convoluted. (The built-in equation editor worked fine for some things, but I couldn’t figure out how to show anything similar to, for example, the union symbol in this: Example )

Is there any relatively simple, cheap, good math writing software out there?

Note: I’m aware of LaTeX, but after dabbling with it very briefly some years back, I seem to recall it having quite the learning curve. Moreover, it’s definitely overkill for my purposes.

MathType. Easy, cheap, works.

I spent several years in college being afraid of LaTeX and refusing to use it. Then one professor required that we use it, and I learned that it’s actually pretty easy.

The only thing that’s tricky is the first few lines of a document. Those, however, can be copied from any other file. They merely provided the formatting.

Everything else in a simple document, including math, is actually pretty easy. My college computer science department has a reference guide that’s simply the best resource I’ve ever seen for LaTeX beginners.

Yebbut are you aware of the Windows GUI front-end for it called LyX?

I’ve never actually used raw LaTeX, only clicked buttons and settings in LyX, and found the process quite straightforward. Wrote my recent masters thesis in it.

LaTeX may have had a steep learning curve back in the pre-internet days, but now, anything you might want to do, you can find instructions for on Google. I use LEd, which is a very nice and free editor for Windows.