19

I am aware of the difference between using \(...\) and $...$ (in moving arguments, for example), and yes, I've read the answers to this question: Are \( and \) preferable to $?). I also know the definition of \( and \):

 \def\({\relax\ifmmode\@badmath\else$\fi}
 \def\){\relax\ifmmode\ifinner$\else\@badmath\fi\else\@badmath\fi}

(taken from Section 55.2 of source2e.pdf)

My question here is: couldn't \( and \) have been defined as robust commands in the LaTeX kernel? Is there any (non trivial) reason explaining why they were defined as fragile commands?

20

Since the fixltx2e package ends with

\MakeRobust\(
\MakeRobust\)
\MakeRobust\[
\MakeRobust\]
\MakeRobust\makebox
\MakeRobust\savebox
\MakeRobust\framebox
\MakeRobust\parbox
\MakeRobust\rule
\MakeRobust\raisebox

it is probably safe to say that it was simply a mistake that was left around because the kernel can't change at this point. It's also worth pointing out that this is covered in Section 4 in the fixltx2e documentation titled “Fixes added for 2005/12/01.”

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