[texhax] tabbing in macros [\outer, Plain TeX]

Uwe Lück uwe.lueck at web.de
Fri Sep 15 00:22:12 CEST 2006

At 15:46 14.09.06, Barbara Beeton wrote:
>uwe said, regarding the texbook,
>    I have realized or heard or thought that sometimes the
>     TeXbook doesn't tell everything (the exact algorithm,
>     or what macro some primitive abbreviates [thinking on \accent])
>     [...]
>this is explained in the preface to the texbook --
>that it sometimes lies.  look in the index; there
>are two entries for "lies".  the second, on p.303,
>is the final exercise:
>   Find all of the lies in this manual, and all of
>   the jokes.
>that could take more time than anyone realistically
>has.  but knowing that lies and jokes exist in the
>book makes for some good "aha" moments when one
>recognizes such a lie or joke for the first time.

I know very well about the "didactical lies" in the TeXbook,
I have adopted the idea in my own work, and I have
defended it when I have been criticized for it.

The TeXbook is a brilliant "guide" to TeX that is very difficult
to top. It leads to understanding considerations that
a user hasn't dreamt of before. However, after attending
such a course, you may be unable to remember all the
details -- and indeed the course may not have presented
all of them. Now, where can you find them -- in a few minutes?
?? ???

(So please recognize the difference between "lying"
 [for a didactical reason] and telling nothing at all!)



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