[pdftex] font_max limit under using font expansion

Dohyun Kim nomosnomos at gmail.com
Wed Feb 13 04:37:23 CET 2008

One of staff members of Korean TeX Society has reported that
he encountered a very unusual TeX capacity error:

! TeX capacity exceeded, sorry [maximum internal font number (font_max)=2000].

See the picture posted at an QnA board of KTS:

This error occurred while using font expansion feature (with microtype.sty)
applied to large number of subfonts of Korean language.  As you know,
a CJK font should be divided to hundreds of subfonts because of
256 char limit of tfm file.

It was no good to increase the font_max entry in texmf.cnf.

So, I have modified tex.ch file shipped with pdftex source:


the value of which was 2000 originally.
After recompiling and installing new pdftex binary, the error has gone at last.

The question:
Why max_font_max value should be limited to 2000?
Any problem if it is increased to 2500 or 3000 by pdftex devel team?
Or, is there any fundamental solution lest we should worry about font_max limit?

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