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Questions tagged [tex-history]

The history and origins of TeX and its variants, their applications, their supporting software (such as fonts or viewers), and their mythology and heraldry.

3
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2answers
148 views

How to pronounce LaTeX correctly? [duplicate]

I have heard the following 4 pronunciations for this word LaTeX. Which is the correct one? Laatec Letec Laatecs Letecs
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between TeXperts and TeXnicians?

Which of the two terms should I use to indicate skilled TeX users in "official" contexts, for example, a TUGBoat article? Here also TeXies is used, but I think this one is informal.
17
votes
1answer
400 views

Did Knuth's wife have a role in TeX creation?

I've just read on The New York Times's article on Knuth The Yoda of Silicon Valley that his wife, Jill, is a graphic designer. Did she have a role in creating Knuth's TeX computer typesetting system? ...
4
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0answers
107 views

Is the weird licensings incompatibility issue mentioned by Stallman still relevant? [closed]

In a recent article on FSF.org ** The main license in actual use that isn't reasonably behaved is the license of TeX: if two programs are licensed just the way TeX is, there is no authorized way to ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

How long did it take for Donald Knuth to create/design the font family of CM?

I want to know how long exactly did it take for Donald Knuth to create/design the font family of CM? (please answer based on authentic references.) Did the designing process take more than 10 years ...
7
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1answer
164 views

Where can I find (TUGboat 4 supplement) “TeX and METAFONT: Errata and changes” from 1983?

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. ...
6
votes
1answer
229 views

The middle name of “Leslie B. Lamport”

What is the middle name of "Leslie B. Lamport", the initial developer of the document preparation system, LaTeX? I'm interested to know what is the middle name of his full name? I know the middle ...
11
votes
1answer
488 views

Why is \paragraph treated as level below \subsubsection?

Note: This is meant as a question about the historical development of LaTeX conventions, and how they influence Editor design, not as question about how to implement it differently. One of my pet-...
9
votes
1answer
444 views

What is the meaning of the name of the \intercal symbol?

I've noticed that the \intercal symbol is popular for denoting the transpose of a matrix, which is all good and fine (and something I've adopted as I agree, it looks slick). But if this symbol were ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

What does svsec in \@svsec stand for?

Most of the following text you could probably skip. I just put it down there to show my effort. What does it do? Pretty sure I understand this already... In the LaTeX kernel, the generic heading ...
3
votes
1answer
162 views

LaTeX mascots/associated animals

Some different animals have been associated with LaTeX, depending on where you look. If i look on this site I will most likely come to believe, that the mascot of LaTeX is a duck. If i look at the ...
7
votes
3answers
262 views

Installation procedures of early TeX installations

First some background information. The old distributions of TeX included two programs, initex and virtex. Initex could create format files, and virtex could load them. These older versions of TeX (...
15
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0answers
232 views

How are TeX/LaTeX projects funded? [closed]

One cannot avoid seeing the huge amount of work being done by people around the world to develop packages, classes, and even projects which dwarf LaTeX in terms of software complexity, and hence, in ...
14
votes
2answers
604 views

What's the difference between \hfil and \hskip0cm plus 1fil?

What's the difference between \hfil and \hskip0cm plus 1fil? In both cases, a glue token is created that skips by zero, but with 1fil of stretchability. If you use \hbox spread 4cm{\hfil test \...
1
vote
3answers
189 views

Why doesn’t LaTeX center captions by default?

As you certainly know LaTeX does not center figure captions by default. The first line is centered in most cases, but the following lines behave like regular text. Centering all the lines can be ...
8
votes
1answer
969 views

Meaning of kpsewhich

I know that kpsewhich comes from an extend version of kpathsea so this deals with kpse in kpsewhich. But is the k comes from KDE or not ?
37
votes
4answers
5k views

Why are there so many underscores in LaTeX3 commands?

This question springs from a comment of mine and the subsequent discussion in chat. I don't know anything about TeX, but I can easily understand a command like: \let\oldmacro\somemacro whereas \...
76
votes
5answers
18k views

Why is LaTeX free?

The fact that LateX is not paid seems to me as good as it is strange, being that many people work developing it. So..why is LaTeX free?
10
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1answer
658 views

What is (or was) fsfTeX?

I noticed in this LaTeX configuration document a reference to something called "fsfTeX." Quote: Since we have been prompted, despite our misgivings, to document how to do this by members of the ...
13
votes
1answer
507 views

Is NTS (New Typesetting System) (the Java implementation of TeX) usable today?

What I've read is that NTS (New Typesetting System) was a project to reimplement TeX in Java. According to the current version of the Wikipedia article, it was started with high hopes (and sufficient ...
25
votes
2answers
642 views

What is the origin of the family/series/shape distinction?

I've recently started to learn LaTeX, and have just come across the distinction between font commands and declarations. As a learner it seems unnecessarily complex that whereas the commands follow a ...
72
votes
2answers
4k views

Where's an example of the bad typesetting that inspired TeX?

Where online can I see a side-by-side comparison of the "good" typesetting of a page of TAOCP that Knuth liked in 1968 versus the equivalent "bad" second edition from 1976 that Knuth hated and caused ...
15
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1answer
477 views

Does the TeX lion mascot have a name?

Duane Bibby drew a lion for the TeXBook. https://www.ctan.org/lion/?lang=en Does the lion have a name?
3
votes
2answers
253 views

Where are Computer Modern fonts defined ? Need to cite this

Can someone tell me, where exactly the Computer Modern font family, that is the standard LaTeX font is defined? I need something to cite this, but all I could found was a reference to an old book, ...
3
votes
0answers
330 views

Is plain-TeX still useful? [closed]

I mean, are there reasons to use plain one? And if so, where, and what are benifits? Or should we forget plain-tex and use latex instead? I see plain-Tex docs are much smaller, so the question is "if ...
5
votes
1answer
334 views

First printed TeX example program?

I have a couple of question regarding the first ever TeX example program to be published. I hear that it may be the first program in the TeXBook (Page 24) Is this true? I wonder also what the name R. ...
6
votes
2answers
477 views

Where can I find old versions of book.cls?

I'm looking for a copy of book.cls, version "1996/10/31 v1.3u". My goal is to port the changes made to a local copy of book.cls "1996/10/31 v1.3u" used in a legacy project to the newest version. The ...
4
votes
1answer
906 views

Why did latex choose italic for emphasis text

This is not a duplicate of What is the canonical way to redefine the \emph command because I am not looking to change the behavior of \emph{}. I just wanna know why did LaTeX choose the default ...
3
votes
0answers
124 views

How was maths formatted before LaTeX? [closed]

I was curious and couldn't immediately find anything on Google or this site. Granted this question might be slightly off topic, but I feel that the people here would probably be able to give a better ...
13
votes
1answer
366 views

Translation of typefaces into METAFONT (in the case of AMS Euler and others)

TL;DR: Let me ask my questions first: How was AMS Euler translated from Hermann Zapf's hand-drawn shapes into METAFONT? Has there been one into METAFONT's pen-strokes approach? What are other ...
2
votes
0answers
165 views

Why was the command name `\infty` chosen? [closed]

I had heard that a sensible scheme for naming functions and arguments should avoid somewhat arbitrary abbreviations. There are, for example, a multitude of ways to abbreviate or misspell infinity, but ...
2
votes
0answers
90 views

How did the “fragile” option in Beamer get its name? [closed]

fragile is an indispensable option in beamer presentations. However I never understood nor was able to find much information about how it got its name, which seems quite peculiar.
23
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does no one fix eqnarray?

It seems to me that everyone agrees that no one should use the latex built-in eqnarray environment. So much so that packages have been made to fix it, and several alternatives have been made, ie. ...
30
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6answers
3k views

What is the history of the ß (Eszett) in the T1 encoding of Computer modern?

In the default font (Computer modern) the ß looks ugly to me. It really sticks out on a page as if it would come from a different font. Here's an image: What is the history of this character? Why ...
23
votes
2answers
1k views

TeX history: what was the diagonal dash at codepoint 32 in cmr10 intended for?

The answers to this useful question explain how to show the encoding of a TeX font. And this is the default encoding used in the default TeX font, cmr10: What was the strange diagonal dash character ...
2
votes
2answers
368 views

Whatever happend to Sciwriter?

Years ago, when I wrote my thesis, I looked into a project called Sciwriter from a company called soft4science. It was well integrated with LaTeX and it seemed very powerful and structured. It wasn't ...
16
votes
1answer
571 views

Is this an originally typeset paper from 1946, or a new remake with TeX?

Reading about the history of mathematical typesetting before TeX, I found an interesting article from Ivan Niven titled: "A SIMPLE PROOF THAT π IS IRRATIONAL" which is dated back to 1946 when there ...
32
votes
2answers
3k views

Where does the name “TeX” come from?

I was reading about the etymology of the word technology and when I saw how tech is written in Greek, τεχ, the first thing came to my mind was TeX! It seems so obvious but I couldn't find any ...
59
votes
6answers
5k views

Typesetting before TeX and computers?

I was wondering how did mathematical and scientific books got typeset before TeX? I see lots of papers from the 50's and 60's (on IEEE for example) running more than 20 pages long, with tons of ...
9
votes
1answer
453 views

The Joy of TeX …

I didn't know where to put this question, so I put it in Meta. For those that know this book by M. SPIVAK, which edition, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1990 does the E, Eir, Em first appear in? Just interested :...
20
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1answer
1k views

How did LaTeX come about?

I know the story of TeX, but how did LaTeX come about, and come to be the only (as far as I know) system built on top of TeX?
13
votes
2answers
815 views

History of the command \verb

Recently I inherited some LaTeX code for a CV that contained an e-mail address typed with \verb}john.smith@uni.org}. This snippet was in the middle of an multicol environment (so it was within several ...
167
votes
29answers
48k views

LaTeX vs Word; improvements of LaTeX over the years

When comparing MS Word vs LaTeX the proponents of Word often say that many advantages of LaTeX over Word from say 1997 disappeared over the years as Word evolved to the current 2013 version. For ...
5
votes
1answer
213 views

First package for typesetting commutative diagrams

What was the first package for typesetting commutative diagrams in Latex and when was it made available?
25
votes
3answers
44k views

Why does amsmath use fraktur for real and imaginary parts?

Edit: When writing this I was under the impression that this was amsmath's choice. It has now been bought to my attention that it is Knuth's. When was it decided that amsmath would have the real part ...
43
votes
1answer
4k views

Did Knuth actually design the Computer Modern font?

It seems from all the articles I read on the topic that Knuth actually designed the font from ground up. He's a celebrated computer scientist, but was he also a digital calligraphy genius? That's a ...
18
votes
2answers
889 views

Does italic math originate from TeX?

When I look in old mathematical textbooks from the seventies and before, mathematics is always upright. Their use of italic letters in other contexts, however, shows that this is not because of ...
15
votes
2answers
607 views

TeX and Turing Award

Leslie Lamport, who created LaTeX, has recently received the prestigious Turing Award (see here and here). An accomplishement in itself, his work on LaTeX is not even the reason why he got the award. ...
31
votes
4answers
711 views

Are there good books retracing the history of (La)TeX?

I am interested by books focused on the history of (La)TeX from philosophical point of view. That is to say: no textbook, no introduction to LaTeX for beginners but books describing the model of the ...
18
votes
1answer
541 views

High-profile cases of non-compliance with the LaTeX Project Public License?

As I'm getting more and more interested in releasing packages of my own in the future, I just read the LaTeX Project Public License (or LPPL). This document defines, among other things, the rules for ...