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News from Around:
TeX program updates; Bigelow introduces Grotesque; Day of LaTeX; Keming (?)

The Editors

Knuth updates TeX
Bigelow introduces Grotesque
Day of LaTeX
Keming??


Knuth photo

Don Knuth's recent TeX and METAFONT program bug fixes

The programs that format our LaTeX and TeX documents are based on the TeX program, developed by Donald Knuth during 1978-1982. MetaPost, a program for drawing figures, is based on Knuth's METAFONT. Professor Knuth updates these programs from time to time. Recently he released a set of corrections for "a few minor bugs", and gives his rationale for not correcting all known bugs.

Reading his note is instructive and shows his concern for the stability of the underlying system. References such as "TeX \S9" and "MF \S9" refer to sections in the actual code of TeX (see TeX: The Program) and METAFONT (see METAFONT: The Program). The "TAOCP" he mentions is The Art of Computer Programming, currently a three-volume set, with Volume Four in preparation. Many of the concepts and algorithms presented in TAOCP are used in the implementation of TeX and METAFONT.

There are several people in the TeX community who maintain the programs we all use, for example pdfeTeX, and more recently XeTeX, which are based on Knuth's TeX program. The maintainers will decide how to incorporate his changes so that a future release of your TeX or LaTeX system will include Professor Knuth's updates.

Some trivia: the current version of TeX is 3.1415926 (which is closing in on pi), and the current version of METAFONT is 2.718281 (approaching the mathematical constant e). The reward for the first finder of a bug in TeX or METAFONT is $327.68 (software types reading this will recognize that sum as a power of two). Given the (currently) weak dollar, that amount of money will probably buy only a beer and a pizza outside the U.S., but most bug finders who receive a check from Don Knuth don't cash it but keep it as a souvenir. See "Rewards" at http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/abcde.html#abcde for information on his bug-finding bounties.

Bigelow introduces Grotesque

Charles Bigelow, the designer of Lucida and other typefaces, will appear at the Dryden Theater's series on Graphic Design in Film. The movie "Helvetica" will be shown there on April 19 and 20, and Charles will introduce the April 19 showing with a talk on the evolution of the "grotesque" style of type, of which Helvetica is the most famous example.

If you are in Rochester in mid-April catch Chuck and the movie http://dryden.eastmanhouse.org/program-highlights/a-curious-type-graphic-design-in-film/.

Day of LaTeX

Since there are no scheduled LaTeX or TeX meetings in the US this year, would you like to attend a Day of LaTeX?

A Day of LaTeX is usually held in a meeting room equipped with a computer projector, and features several speakers who present hands-on tutorials on the use of LaTeX. Each presenter prepares a 60-90 minute tutorial on some aspect of LaTeX, such as LaTeX basics, LaTeX and graphics, typing math, and others. Each presenter also provides one or more sample documents which attendees will work on during the session. Attendees are typically new LaTeX users, or those who want to brush up on their skills. Some recent days of LaTeX were sponsored by UK TUG and PCTeX.

(To be a presenter doesn't mean you have to be a LaTeX expert. Your job is to introduce a subject to beginners that you have some experience with. For example, if you have written documents that include bibliographies you can show how you do this.)

If you are interested in being a presenter or attendee, or if you would like to host a Day of LaTeX, please send a note to the editor. Some possible venues are San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, or your town or campus.

If you are in Europe, consider attending workshops at one of the scheduled conferences: TUG08 in Ireland, or BachoTeX in Poland.

New advances in typography department: keming


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