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.

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12
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1answer
478 views

Are there any non-WEB re-implementation of TeX Core in recent years?

I am looking for re-implementations, in recent years, of the TeX core algorithm (which Knuth wrote in ca. 1982). It would seem to me that LaTeX, XeTeX, LuaTeX all call the TeX core, which is written ...
5
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1answer
105 views

two sets of hyphenation patterns without a newlanguage

While reading hymaster.tex, part of hyacc-cm, we find the following statement: It is important to use version 3.xx of TeX, and a version 3.xx of plain.tex. The critical date is autumn 1989, and ...
15
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1answer
251 views

Can TeX files from 1978 still be compiled today?

I recently happened to be looking at the history of TeX and notice that Knuth originally released it in 1978 (according to Wikipedia). Are there TeX files around from this time? Can they still be ...
0
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1answer
90 views

Why cmmib10 font is not available in stripped down versions of TeX?

In TeXbook p.156 it is said: Suppose that you want to extend plain TEX by putting boldface math italic letters in family 9, analogous to the normal math italic letters in family 1. (Such fonts ...
38
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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 \...
10
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2answers
248 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. ...
5
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1answer
126 views

Is there a bug in gftype.web's description of character widths?

Under https://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/systems/knuth/dist/mfware we find gftype.web. On line 574 of gftype.web it says: The character width~|w| duplicates the information in the \.{TFM} file; it ...
68
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3answers
4k views

TeX family tree with timeline?

When I first started using TeX, I felt overwhelmed by the myriad of names — BibTeX, XeTeX, LaTeX, XeLaTeX, ConTeXt, LuaTeX, MacTeX, TeXLive — and more. I didn't know the packages from the programs ...
55
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2answers
6k views

What language is TeX implemented in?

I read on Wikipedia that the first version of TeX was written in SAIL. However, does anyone know what language later versions (i.e the current one) are implemented in?
2
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2answers
650 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
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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.
48
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1answer
3k views

Why does TeX have a lion as mascot?

This I have been wondering for years! And where else was I supposed to ask this if not here? Maybe it is not a technical question but it might still interest a great many.
16
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1answer
474 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
117 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
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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 ...
54
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6answers
4k views

Historical, stable version archive of packages

The author of mix marginnotes with marginpars without overlap is/was interested in a certain loss of functionality from one version of the marginfix package to the next. Out of interest and curiosity ...
5
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1answer
270 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 ...
75
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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 ...
170
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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 ...
2
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1answer
82 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 ...
11
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1answer
520 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
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1answer
625 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 ...
3
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1answer
174 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
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3answers
311 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
238 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 ...
15
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2answers
717 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 \...
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3answers
202 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
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1answer
1k 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 ?
77
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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
662 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
395 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 ...
13
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1answer
590 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 ...
11
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2answers
8k views

Are there two different versions of the \mathcal{F} character?

I've seen two different versions of the \mathcal{F} character: Version 1 (see the \mathcal{F}): Version 2: Notice that the top horizontal line of the F curves down on the left much more in version ...
20
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3answers
3k views

Why couldn't (La)TeX's layout model be as simple as CSS's layout model?

I feel CSS's layout model is simpler than (La)TeX's layout model. At the time Knuth developed TeX, the idea leading to CSS model is a "difficult" things? Or the CSS layout model is not appropriate to ...
25
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2answers
688 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
359 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. ...
15
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1answer
517 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
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2answers
269 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
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0answers
430 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 ...
133
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10answers
6k views

How was TeX output visualised on screen, back in the day?

I've been using LaTeX for about two years; I'm only learning TeX now, to get a better understanding of the foundations. In Chapter 6 : Running TeX of his TeXbook (more specifically, on page 23), ...
6
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2answers
537 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 ...
5
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1answer
1k 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 ...
13
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1answer
402 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 ...
3
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0answers
138 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 ...
18
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2answers
909 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 ...
2
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0answers
177 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 ...
43
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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 ...
31
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4answers
762 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 ...
2
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0answers
123 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.
13
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3answers
632 views

What are some of the less-well-known TeX-like formats?

ConTeXt and LaTeX are well-known and I'm aware of different engines to process those, e.g., XeTeX, pdfTeX, or LuaTeX. But on this meta question discussion came up about TeX, plain-TeX, initex. Can ...