[tex-live] Difficulties in Rewriting the Core TeX WEB Code

Jayesh Badwaik public at jayeshbadwaik.in
Sun Nov 13 23:14:54 CET 2016


I was recently reading the discussion of adding a random number generator to 
the TeX programs on this mailing list. There, someone mentioned the probable 
need for changing the core TeX WEB code and not being thoroughly excited by 

My feeling is, it would be better to have the core TeX WEB code in a more 
modern format, however the idea apparently has very little traction (most 
probably due to very good reasons).

From what I understand, the WEB code (equivalently, the corresponding C code 
generated with the WEB2C compiler) has been almost unchanged for quite a few 
years now and all development is actually done on top of it using it as a 
black box. No one has tried rewriting it and it seems certainly not been due 
to the lack of manpower. 

So, my question is:
1. Would it be really more desirable to rewrite TeX WEB Code in more modern 
format (C, C++, Python, Haskell, Lua)? Would this generally lead to better 
package dependencies in flavors like LuaTeX? 

2. If the answer is even a little bit of yes, how does one start? Are there 
tests (example TeX file which should be successfully parsed) which are written 
to verify the implementation of TeX interpreter. I have been looking at the 
sources of the TeXLive distribution, and there do seem to be one or two files 
in the web2c part, but I'm not sure if they are enough.

Jayesh Badwaik
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