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I began reading LaTeX Beginner's Guide 2011. It instructed me to type \usepackage[noligatures]{microtype}, but the option to disable ligatures became a declaration, \DisableLigatures.

It seems LaTeX is not very stable. I'm afraid that I'll face lots of outdated code snippets along the way.

What should I do about this?

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    This is a very opinion-based question and the answer is opinion based: Yes, it is ok -- and LaTeX is widely stable, but packages evolve, as many other libraries for other languages do as well. And yet even LaTeX itself (the core) is changed from time to time – user31729 Nov 29 '15 at 6:21
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    The two commands do slightly different things, and they are both older than 2011. See the microtype manual for details. I'm not an expert (I always use the default settings for microtype), but I think that the way the book recommends is a bit more flexible. – Mark Nov 29 '15 at 7:52
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    Do the same you would do with a four year old map or a four year old telefonbook or an four year old webpage (or an four year old answer on tex.stackexchange): Accept that some of the information could be outdated or wrong and if something doesn't work as expected use some current documentation etc to check. – Ulrike Fischer Nov 29 '15 at 10:21
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    microtype is not "latex" . It is "a program written in (la)tex". If you found a C or perl or java or ... program had been updated in the last 4 years would you say that C or perl or java were unstable ? – David Carlisle Nov 29 '15 at 11:46
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    @harryhaller you could ask if microtype is stable yes (or beamer or whatever) but you wouldn't normally refer to the language itself as being unstable if one program written in it changes one function. – David Carlisle Nov 29 '15 at 13:34
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LaTeX is a free format and everybody may change the definitions and settings to his or her own needs (and is invited to provide suggestions/improvements as well).

LaTeX packages and classes orbit around the (La)TeX core and try to add features not already available yet (or do it differently, perhaps even better) than have been done before.

If a package macro interface is changed this is most likely done to choose better names or it's a major improvement (such as bugfixes) and not just because someone want to play around with names.

Even if the LaTeX Beginner's Guide 2011 suggests a now deprecated (???) usage of a particular package, this is a rather a very minor change, I expect 95% of the guide content to be fully functional nowadays.

Most packages do not change the design completely but add new features, which does not break other ones. I have published a few packages as well and I am constantly improving them (at least I hope doing so) and recognized that my earlier versions weren't designed best.

Finally, LaTeX packages and classes evolve -- this is a natural law of a free format.

  • I hope public API changes lead packages to change names so that existing packages do not break old codes. – crocket Nov 29 '15 at 6:35
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    @crocket: In some sense there's no API, apart from the general rules of TeX or LaTeX. That's somewhat tricky but somewhat a marvellous and exciting feature of (La)TeX – user31729 Nov 29 '15 at 6:41

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