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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170
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 ...
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), ...
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?
74
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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 ...
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 ...
59
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6answers
6k 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 ...
56
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3answers
5k views

$327.68 Knuth reward check

I know something about $327.68 Knuth reward check. However, I cannot find a comprehensive list of people rewarded for finding errors in TeX. I do know, that among them is Bogusław Jackowski (Twice, ...
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?
54
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6answers
3k 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 ...
49
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4answers
2k views

Who *doesn't* use e-TeX?

I was just browsing the new questions and noticed egreg's recent answer, in which he uses a certain extension from e-TeX and cautions the reader that it is not compatible with Knuth TeX. And so I ...
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.
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 ...
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 \...
37
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3answers
4k views

TeX & Troff a reflection on the history of Computer Typography

I'm interested in relationship between two very important Computer Typography systems Troff and TeX. In particular, I would like to find any statements made by Donald Knuth about the influence (or not)...
32
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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 ...
31
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4answers
728 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 ...
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 ...
28
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3answers
45k 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 ...
25
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2answers
676 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 ...
23
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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 ...
23
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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. ...
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 ...
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 ...
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?
18
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2answers
902 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 ...
18
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1answer
547 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 ...
17
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1answer
525 views

Convert from historic LaTeX-based software called “The Publisher”

I am corresponding with a mathematician colleague who typesets his documents in what is apparently quite old software called "The Publisher". It creates an array of LaTeX related files as part of the ...
16
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1answer
578 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 ...
16
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1answer
443 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? ...
15
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2answers
618 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. ...
15
votes
1answer
212 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 ...
15
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1answer
505 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?
15
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0answers
235 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
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2answers
666 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 \...
13
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2answers
824 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 ...
13
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3answers
629 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 ...
13
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1answer
547 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 ...
13
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1answer
393 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 ...
12
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1answer
2k views

(Why) did the Gyre project fork the URW fonts rather than just extending them?

As I understand it: During the 1980s, the URW++ foundry created clones of the PostScript Core Font Set and gave those clones the following names: ╔════════════════════════╤══════════════════════╗ ║ ...
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 ...
11
votes
1answer
508 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-...
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.
10
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2answers
242 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. ...
10
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1answer
661 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
470 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 :...
9
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1answer
527 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 ...
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 ?
7
votes
3answers
300 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 (...
6
votes
2answers
511 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
votes
1answer
245 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 ...