[TUHS] TeX/troff/typesetting markups - Re: SunOS 4 documentation

Tim Bradshaw tfb at tfeb.org
Sun Apr 16 23:42:36 AEST 2017

On 14 Apr 2017, at 14:07, Wolfgang Helbig <helbig at mailbox.org> wrote:
> this one is even smaller, only about 700 kB:
> 	https://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/systems/unix/tex-gpc

That's just TeX, Metafont, and perhaps plain & the MF sources for CMR.

Installing that might indeed be interesting in the context of this list, because it would give a feeling for what installing TeX was like in the early 1980s: you went through some more-or-less painful process to get the thing to compile at all, typically involving building a Pascal-C converter of some kind, converting tangle into C, fiddling with the result so it would compile, then using the result to convert TeX (with the various patches which I forget how they work now, except not by 'patch' which probably did not exist anyway) into C, fiddling with *that* to get it to compile, then doing the same for MF, building the plain format & font metrics.  At which point you could probably make DVI files using macros in plain, but not print them or see what they looked like at all.  After dealing with that somehow you realised just how horrible plain looked and started on a huge slow journey of acquiring sets of macros, usually culminating in the inevitability of having to write a less-horrible style for LaTeX (which would be 2.09 without the NFSS and thus deeply painful to use).  Oh, and you had to work out some directory structure for it all to live in, because there wasn't any standard for that, of course.

So, such a thing is interesting in the way that installing 7th edition is interesting, but probably not if you want to actually set text.  If you want to set text just install TeX Live.  Yes, it's big (by 1980s standards: you can perhaps still buy a smartphone without enough storage for it), but it's big because it includes everything you need.


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