[tex-k] TeXbook: suggestion about "manual.tex"

Ulrik Vieth ulrik.vieth at arcor.de
Wed Dec 9 21:05:10 CET 2020

If you browse the collection of archives of the Stanford SAIL machine,
you will find that file names were restricted to 6 characters + extension,
so MANUAL.TEX (or MANMAC.TEX, MANFNT.MF) were as as good as it gets.

You can find that MANUAL.TEX was indeed the original file name
of TeXbook (and also MFbook in different folders) between 1978 and 1989.


I assume that the files were renamed to texbook.tex and mfbook.tex
around 1990 when Knuth's files were moved to Unix-based FTP servers.

At some point the files were also named texman.tex and mfman.tex.
I have collected some versions at ftp.tug.org including some from 1987.
Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly where they came from


Have fun, browsing the historic archives.


Ulrik Vieth

On 09.12.20 15:01, 胡亚捷 (Hu Yajie) wrote:
> (This is a reply to Igor's bug report back in May 2019.)
>> In TeXbook, page 418, it is said about file `manual.tex'.
>> This is a little confusing where this name comes from,
>> because it is not in the index, and especially when one
>> is aware that TeXbook is generated from file `texbook.tex'.
> Well, many descriptions in the TeXbook are outdated, for example
> the name confusion with the Text EXecutive processor in Chapter 1,
> and the statement that "videotapes of these courses are available
> for rental" from TUG in Appendix J :)
> If this counts as a bug, the name "letterformat.tex" in Appendix E
> will also count, since the file is distributed as "letter.tex" in
> Knuth's local distribution.
> If this doesn't count as a bug, it may be better to drop my earlier
> report on A299 and C226 at
> https://tug.org/pipermail/tex-k/2020-November/003370.html
> because it was possible that back in the 80s version differences were
> the major cause of "fatal format file errors" and file corruptions
> were so rare/trivial as to be not worth mentioning.
> ----
> Previous reports:
> https://github.com/dine2014/texbook-mfbook-bugs/blob/master/bugs.md

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