[TUHS] TeX and groff (was: roff(7))

Jon Forrest nobozo at gmail.com
Wed Jan 12 10:44:48 AEST 2022

This is clearly getting off track of TUHS. I'll stop
after this reply.

 > *From:* Blake McBride <blake1024 at gmail.com>
 > *Date:* January 11, 2022 at 2:48:23 PM PST
 > *To:* Jon Forrest <nobozo at gmail.com>
 > *Cc:* TUHS main list <tuhs at minnie.tuhs.org>
 > *Subject:* *[TUHS] TeX and groff (was: roff(7))*

 > Although I'm not connected with the TeX community, I don't agree with
 > much of what you said.
 > 1.  TeX source to C is fine - stable and works.  It would be
 > impossible to rewrite TeX in any other language without introducing
 > bugs and incompatibilities. Leaving TeX as-is means that it can be
 > converted to other languages too if/when C goes out of style.  TeX
 > as-is is exactly what it is.  Anything else wouldn't be TeX.

I agree that Web->C works but it's a major obstacle in doing any
development work on TeX. Try making a major change in the Web source
that requires debugging.

Anything that can pass the TeX Trip Test can be called TeX. I know of
a full C reimplementation that passes the test but the author doesn't
want to make it free software.

There are other rewrites out there that could be candidates but someone
will enough power will have to proclaim one as the official TeX

 > 2.  Drop DVI?  Are you kidding me?  Although PDF may be popular now,
 > that may not be the case 20 years from now.  A device-independent
 > format is what is needed, and that's what DVI is.  TeX is guaranteed
 > to produce the exact same output 100 years from now.

And .PDF isn't?

.DVI was great until .PDF matured. .DVI has almost no penetration
these days, whereas .PDF is everywhere. I'm not saying that .PDF
will always be the proper alternative but a properly rewritten TeX
should make it much easier to replace .PDF will whatever comes

 > 3.  I am curious about memory limitations within TeX.

TeX has various fixed sized memory pools, and contains clever code
to work around limited memory. Some of the newer TeXs,
like LuaTeX, use dynamic allocation but this isn't official.

Given how primitive things were when TeX was developed it's a
miracle it works as well as it does.

 > 4.  Knuth is getting up in age.  Someone will have to take over.

Exactly. I don't follow the TeX community so I don't know what
they're doing about this.

Jon Forrest

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