[pdftex] Incorrect pdf produced from a single correct pdf file

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Sat Oct 4 02:52:41 CEST 2008

John Culleton writes:
 > On Friday 03 October 2008 09:03:42 am Martin Schröder wrote:
 > > Excuse me, but why are you using plain TeX instead of LaTeX or
 > > ConTeXt?
 > >
 > > Best
 > >    Martin
 > > _______________________________________________
 > > pdftex mailing list
 > > pdftex at tug.org
 > > http://tug.org/mailman/listinfo/pdftex
 > Some of us find plain pdftex simpler, less verbose, more controllable 
 > and easier to understand.  After years of using mostly plain tex and 
 > plain pdftex I finally bought ¨The LaTeX Companion" second edition.  
 > It confirmed my worst suspicions. No wonder others hate TeX! 
 > There are times when the special features of Context make it worth 
 > while to use it.  But for everyday use I do much better in pdftex. 
 > Font handling in particular is much easier IMO.  You need a font at a 
 > given size---you define it, give it a size and give it a name.   I do 
 > add in eplain.tex to give me a (controllable) TOC,  powerful indexing 
 > commands and so forth.  

Hi John,
if you have creating indexes in mind, plain tex is certainly a good
choice.  But keep in mind that the main feature of latex is to keep
content and layout separately.  You have to take this into account if
you compare the systems.

You mention font handling in particular.  In index files you need very
few fonts only and it's easy to set them up in plain tex.  But suppose
you have a complex document where the same font is used in many sizes
and many variants (text, footnotes, captions, headings,...and \rm, \bf,
\it,...) then things become more complex.  It's doable in plain tex
and the code is still quite straightforward.  But if it's required
that you have to switch from 10pt to 12pt for proof reading (you have
to change fonts for footnotes, captions, headings, too) or you have to
switch from Computer Modern to Palatino, then it doesn't make much
sense to use the \font primitive directly, it makes more sense to
provide a macro.  But if such a macro is supposed to support all this,
it will not be less complex than what latex provides already.

You cannot complain about latex without taking into account what it is
designed for.  You are creating indexes and, as I said above, plain
tex is a good choice for this purpose.

I'm not against plain tex at all, there are many situations where it
makes sense to use plain tex.  But which format file is most
appropriate depends on what you need.  Nobody can't claim that plain
tex is better then latex, or vice versa, it all depends on what you
want to achieve.

John, we have the same discussion again and again.  Any chance you
agree with the last sentence of the previous paragraph? 


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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