[Q] TFM files headers

Taylor, P P.Taylor at rhul.ac.uk
Fri Sep 13 22:56:57 CEST 2019

barbara beeton wrote:
On Fri, 13 Sep 2019, Taylor, P wrote:

Tomas Rokicki wrote:

      A google search immediately returns

which has the appropriate reference to tftopl as well as being a
pretty easy read itself.

Do you have any idea of which iteration of TeX David was writing, since TeX82 would require "\font
\A=CMR10" whilst TeX78 would have required (as David himself notes)  "\:A=CMR10".
Philip Taylor

The article by David Fuchs is from TUGboat volume 2 (1981),
so TeX was in flux.  In fact, in the first paragraph, there
is this sentence:

  For instance, when you say \font A=CMR10 to TeX (\:A=CMR10 in the old lingo), ...

so that should settle that question.

Well, it didn't settle it for me, which is why I asked !  It was clear that \:A=CMR10 was from TeX78. because the first thing I did on reading that was to take my copy of TeX and MetaFont and look up the syntax of the \font-equiv command, which was exactly as reported by DF as "the old lingo".  But it was (and still is) unclear which version of TeX required/allowed \font A=CMR10 rather than \font \A=CMR10.  Now you say that "TeX was in a state of flux", but this is the first suggestion that I have ever read that TeX did not go direct from TeX78 to TeX82 — are you saying that there were intermediate (but unnumbered/unnamed) versions, and if so, were they found "in the wild" or only within the safe haven of Leyland Stanford University ? And having declared \font A = CMR10, how did one then use A, and why did words containing "A" not cause trouble ?

Philip Taylor
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