In a few places one finds a reference to the following document:

Barbara Beeton (ed), “TeX and METAFONT: Errata and Changes” (dated 09 September 11, 1983), Distributed with TUGboat, Volume 4, 1983.

This document is said to contain the changes between TeX78 and TeX82 (perhaps differences between the old TeX78 manual and The TeXbook). Thus it represents an important “gap” in TeX's detailed history recorded in errorlog. For example, it is mentioned in this article as reference [1]:

By studying the log you can see all the stages in the evolution of TeX as new features replaced or extended old ones — except that I did not record the changes I made when I re-wrote the original program TeX78 and prepared the final one, TeX82. [footnote:] Those changes were summarized briefly in another publication for early users [1].

And as reference [16] in this paper (i.e. The Errors of TeX):

The first 519 items refer to the original program TeX78, which was written in SAIL [...] The remaining items [...] refer to the ‘real’ program TeX82, which was written in WEB. [...] The differences between TeX78 and TeX82, seen from a user’s standpoint, have been listed elsewhere.[16]

Is this document available anywhere? The TUGboat website mentions it under “Supplements” to the table of contents for TUGboat 4:2 (and elsewhere), but perhaps as it wasn't part of TUGboat itself, it doesn't seem to have been put online.

  • none of the supplements have been put on line, and some others (not the errata) will never be, because they contain information now prohibited by (at least) the european union's rules on privacy. i will have to research the errata listings situation; the one you refer to i am sure was processed with tex78, and certainly never became a pdf file. it may take a few days to research, but i will answer when i have done so. – barbara beeton Oct 12 at 14:46
  • @barbarabeeton Thanks a lot! I would very much like to read it. – ShreevatsaR Oct 12 at 15:03
  • quick note -- i've found a copy. i'm discussing with some other folks where it might be posted, and will make an answer when those questions are answered. – barbara beeton Oct 13 at 21:51
  • @barbarabeeton Great to hear a copy has been located! I look forward to it becoming available... – ShreevatsaR Oct 15 at 17:11
up vote 11 down vote accepted

A copy of the document “TeX and METAFONT: Errata and Changes”, originally distributed as a supplement to TUGboat 4:2 (1983), has been scanned from the possibly only remaining original, and posted with that issue on the TUG website. (The original files no longer exist, or at least cannot be found. The scanned copy is a bit fuzzy, but it's complete -- all 47 pages of it, including an index to the differences between TeX82 and TeX80.)

The link is at the bottom of this page

As a small bonus, a second document is provided -- a listing of "all errors in the September 1978 TeX user manual that were known on November 4, 1978." This is also a scan -- a two-up printout of an ascii file that once existed on the SAIL computer; a comment at the top of the first page implies strongly that the original files were destroyed after the listing was printed.

The scanned pdf version of the November 1978 document has been joined by a text version. This was produced by first subjecting the scan to an OCR version (thanks, David Carlisle), then reading and correcting as necessary. (The letters "eye" and "ell" and backslashes didn't fare particularly well -- the letters often turned into the digit one, some backslashes also became "one" and others just disappeared. many spaces were dropped at the beginning of lines, and some lines were run in. Some braces and less-than signs turned into parentheses. An occasional "em" turned into "en". Other random glitches weren't consistent enough to make global checking profitable.) I'm not sure that all glitches were caught or corrected, so if anyone has the energy and patience to reread it carefully, please send any reports to and corrections will be made as appropriate.

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