[tex-eplain] removing diagram and bibtex code

Daniel Henry Luecking luecking at uark.edu
Tue Dec 18 23:22:33 CET 2012

On Tuesday, December 18, 2012 8:23 AM, John Culleton <John at wexfordpress.com>
>On Mon, 17 Dec 2012 16:47:11 -0600 Luis Rivera <jlrn77 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I'm sure the code is there for some reason (perhaps even simply
>> historical reasons), but I wonder whether is it feasible to _remove_
>> the support for commutative diagrams and/or BibTeX bibliographies,
>> among other things, to preserve only the middle-level formatting
>> capabilities (cross references, columns, footnotes) in a slimmer, more
>> compact eplain. If not, why these macros got in the core code of
>> eplain in the first place?

The bibtex stuff is there because it follows eplain's philosophy: 
it provides a feature many find useful without committing to a 
specific visual format. I does seem like some parts of it could 
have been left in a separate file.

As for commutative diagrams, I think that could easily have 
been left out.

Unfortunately, these things can't be easily changed in the 
distribution with breaking old files written under the present set 
of assumptions.

>Eplain is what it is. It is not designed to be disassembled. My
>attempts to extract this or that feature have not been

Actually, these particular features seem to be removable. The 
file eplain.tex used to create the format is assembled from 
several separate files which include xeplain.tex (with most 
comments removed) plus btxmac.tex,  arrow.tex and a few 
others. One could, conceivably, assemble a smaller eplain
by leaving some of this out.

The commutative diagram stuff comes from arrow.tex and the 
bibtex stuff from btxmac.tex. Unfortunately, there are parts of 
eplain dependent on commands in btxmac.tex. But fortunately 
these  are carefully marked in comments in xeplain.tex and 

So one could delete all the stuff from arrow.tex and some of
the lines that come from btxmac.tex. These are (in my  
TeX Live 2012, which should be up-to-date) in eplain.tex
  bibtex stuff:  lines 446 through 661
  arrow stuff:  lines 1236 through 1578

Caveat: I don't guarantee there won't be some important 
dependency removed.

One actually saves only about 18% (22749 bytes out of 124467). 
In modern terms, eplain is already quite compact. It is hard to think 
of a significant advantage that comes from removing this. My own
private format includes eplain.tex, plus amstex.tex, plus the babel 
definitions, plus mathdots.sty, plus my personal set of font loading 
and size selection commands.  All this more than doubles the total 
size of eplain alone. Yet it is still screamingly fast and tiny in size
compared to any version of latex


Daniel H. Luecking
Department of Mathematical Sciences
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas

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