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I'm having a hard time grasping the structure of my "TeX" installation ...

it is Tex Live 2010. I'm a european user - so some default settings are included ...

but I need the most general, most uncustomized, most geniue, maybe most US version of LaTeX.

Why does it make no difference: \documentclass[a4paper]{article} and \documentclass{article} on my system?

Why do I get \thispagestyle{empty} still a page number at the bottom center for my title page?

Thanks.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

TeX Live adjusts settings for the output paper as A4; on the other hand, LaTeX uses as default the option letterpaper for setting the page shape (just because it was born in the US).

With \documentclass{article} you'll get a page set for Letter paper imposed on A4 paper, which is wrong.

Just to show some values (article class)

                 letterpaper   a4paper
\textwidth       345pt         345pt
\textheight      550pt         598pt
\oddsidemargin   62pt          53pt

You see that the page height is larger for A4 paper, while the left margin is smaller, in order to accommodate the same line width. So, always use the a4paper option.

You can remove the page number by saying \thispagestyle{empty} after \maketitle, as this command issues \thispagestyle{plain}.

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