[texhax] Obsolete \centerline command used in amsbook class

Uwe Lück uwe.lueck at web.de
Fri Sep 14 18:50:44 CEST 2012

Am Freitag, den 14.09.2012, 10:46 -0400 schrieb Barbara Beeton:
> On Wed, 12 Sep 2012, Ari Meir Brodsky wrote:
>     The l2tabu document
>     (http://mirror.ctan.org/info/l2tabu/english/l2tabuen.pdf, section 2.1.3)
>     declares the \centerline command to be an obsolete TeX command that should
>     not be used in LaTeX.  However, the \chapter command of amsbook.cls uses
>     \centerline.  The following minimal example generates an error (where we
>     use the "nag" package to detect obsolete commands from l2tabu):
>     --------------------
>     \RequirePackage[l2tabu, abort]{nag}
>     \documentclass{amsbook}
>     \begin{document}
>     \chapter{Testing Nag with amsbook}
>     \end{document}
>     --------------------------
>     Is this a bug in amsbook?  Should it be corrected?
> the next day, ari sent the same message to
> tech-support at ams.org, the listed address to
> which bugs should be reported.  we sent him
> this response:
>   thank you for your report.  i'm not sure that we consider the use of 
>   centerline to be a bug, but it is certainly infelicitous.

Table 1 of l2tabuen.pdf has a footnote "May be useful when defining
macros." This may apply to \centerline as well, and to other things 
in l2tabu. Indeed, in the definition of \chapter using \centerline, 
the macro programmer wants to avoid the extra vertical spacing 
that the `center' environment would introduce, rather the vertical 
spacing is done explicitly (using Plain TeX) in order to implement 
the designer's ideas straightforwardly. If you would use LaTeX 
commands here, their could be a danger that some package redefines 
the LaTeX user commands and alters the design. 

I tend to recommend deprecation of l2tabu, or even banning it. 
Don't tell adult people what to do and not to do!;)
It is bold and somewhat annoying.

l2tabu considers LaTeX users to have no idea of typography. 
This may be a partial excuse in favour of l2tabu. 
Or better, it should have some introduction with a general 
qualification "unless you know what are doing" -- at least.

l2tabu also deprecates \bf and the like, "arguing" that \bf 
does not use the NFSS. But bold italics and italic typewriter 
etc. rather are typographical sins, innocent LaTeX users 
are tempted to commit them by the NFSS, the serpent, they 
should be avoided by using \bf and friends; or you might use 
them "if you know what you are doing".

When a class like amsbook is maintained by (on behalf of) 
a journal, a publisher, or a scientific association, one should 
expect that "they know what are doing" (to be qualified ...)



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