[tex-live] tu-clash

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Tue Feb 28 01:14:37 CET 2017

On 2017-02-27 at 07:56:15 +0000, David Carlisle wrote:

 > On 27 February 2017 at 01:56, Bob Tennent <rdt at cs.queensu.ca> wrote:
 > >  >|It's hard to believe that you need a 2.09 format to be honest.
 > >  >|It would be simpler just to add any macros that need adding to a
 > >  >|`latex209.cfg`
 > >  >|and use latex as normal. If the file really needed a 1980's tex
 > >  >|distribution
 > >  >|then you'd need to pull out an archived tex tree from that date, but if
 > >  >|it runs
 > >  >|with a current texlive but just using a 2.09 format it's almost certainly
 > >  >|easier
 > >  >|to use standard latex and if there are any macros where the 2.09
 > >  >|emulation isn't good
 > >  >|enough, to over-ride them in latex209.cfg.
 > >
 > > It's a 650-page book with rather complex use of fonts. It's
 > > far easier to use latex209 than to try to do all that.
 > OK, you should do whatever works for your document, but for the
 > benefit of others who might be reading this thread I want to stress
 > that there are at least three possible meanings of "using
 > latex2.09" and different pros and cons in each case
 > For a document such as
 > \documentstyle{article}
 > \begin{document}
 > hello
 > \end{document}
 > 1)
 > Just use the document as is with latex.  This is "latex2.09
 > compatibility mode" If it works it can not take more than a minute
 > to convert to latex syntax as compatibility mode really is just a
 > shim that defines the old \documentstyle command to do
 > \documentclass and \usepackage as necessary.
 > 2)
 > Use the document with a latex209 format made with a latex.tex from
 > an old release.  in a current tex input tree.  This is _really_ not
 > recommended, it means that you will be using a 2017 article.sty
 > with a 1992 latex format and be using completely untested and
 > unsupported code paths.  If it works it works but if for example
 > the format defines a new command or uses etex features, and a
 > future article class makes use of that change, a document using
 > this setup will stop working. Even if it does not give an error the
 > code paths are untested and any output is essentially accidental.
 > 3)
 > Use a 2.09 format on a dedicated tex input tree with 1990's vintage
 > versions of all input files.  This is ultimately the best way to
 > ensure compatibility (some people even archive the binaries
 > although as time moves on finding a machine to run a 1993 sunos tex
 > binary gets harder).  In practice this is only recommended for
 > journals or archives that have thousands of documents and really
 > the cost of upgrading the system and checking old documents is
 > high.

Thank you very much, David, for this summary.

However, TeX Live still supports LaTeX-2.09 though it doesn't provide
it.  All you have to do is to create a directory




and install all the ancient files therein.  TDS compliance is required
as usual.  Then run mktexlsr.

The search paths are already defined in texmf-dist/web2c/texmf.cnf:

  TEXINPUTS.latex         = .;$TEXMF/tex/{latex,generic,}//
  TEXINPUTS.latex209      = .;$TEXMF/tex/{latex209,generic,latex,}//

Thus, latex209 will definitely find the appropriate version of

It's very unlikely that LaTeX-2e packages work with a 2.09 format file.
So you probably get more meaningful error messages ("file not found"
instead of "undefined control sequence") if you remove "latex," from
TEXINPUTS.latex209 .

Furthermore, a symlink in the bin/ directory is required,

  latex209 -> tex


  latex209 -> pdftex

and the name of the format file has to be latex209.fmt. 

As far as the preferred location of the format file is concerned, see
my previous mail.

After all, installing LaTeX-2.09 within a current TeX Live system
shouldn't be overly difficult.

I must admit that I never tried.


Reinhard Kotucha                            Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                    mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de

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