[pdftex] Plain TeX commands.

John R. Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Thu Mar 31 15:26:34 CEST 2005

> One source of confusion here, I believe, is that -- at least in some
> current TeX distibutions -- the file that ought to be called plain.fmt
> (because it is
> created by dumping the macros in plain.tex to a format file) is in fact
> called tex.fmt. Similarly, pdftex is usually distributed with a format file
> called pdftex.fmt, which is created via pdftex -ini  plain.tex (or some
> such). I think that pdftex.fmt really should be called pdfplain.fmt, or
> something of the sort.
> Bob Howlett

Yes, there is confusion.  People speak of TeX and pdftex both
generically and with reference to the particular command tex or
pdftex. The particular commands include plain tex in both cases.
When I say pdftex I mean the program as distributed, with the
plain tex commands included. 

As a result many people who use LaTeX or pdflatex use the
generic term TeX or pdftex when they really mean the LaTeX variants. But
after nearly four decades I don't think the use of the same words 
to mean both the generic engine and the plain tex implementation
thereof will change. 

TeX can mean the base engine, or TeX + plain.tex or even TeX
plus Latex. Blame it on Knuth.  
John Culleton
Able Indexers and Typesetters

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