[XeTeX] history of TeX (was: XeTeX in lshort)

Janusz S. Bień jsbien at mimuw.edu.pl
Tue Oct 5 20:06:49 CEST 2010

On Tue, 5 Oct 2010  Peter Dyballa <Peter_Dyballa at Web.DE> wrote:

> Am 05.10.2010 um 12:46 schrieb Dominik Wujastyk:
>> This is completely wrong, and anachronistic.  SGML was born long
>> after TeX
>> and LaTeX.
> You probably mean that ISO standard on SGML from 1986 (8879). There is  
> none for any TeX dialect...
> William W. Tunnicliffe had the idea of SGML at least one decade before  
> Knuth complained about the new look of his books. When SGML became an  
> established ISO standard, in 1986, Knuth was so satisfied with the  
> output of TeX82 and gave a party.

While SGML is from the very beginning a kind of top-down approach,
Knuth was definitely fascinated by the fact the a page to be printed
by a digital photosetter can be considered just an array of 1's and
0's. In consequence he considered typesetting as a mathematical
problems of array manipulation and called his approach "Mathematical

The book which made him aware of this fact was the first edition of
"Articial Intelligence" by Winston. You can find the full story in one
of Knuth's papers (I don't remember now in which one).

Best regards


dr hab. Janusz S. Bien, prof. UW -  Uniwersytet Warszawski (Katedra Lingwistyki Formalnej)
Prof. Janusz S. Bien - Warsaw University (Department of Formal Linguistics)
jsbien at uw.edu.pl, jsbien at mimuw.edu.pl, http://fleksem.klf.uw.edu.pl/~jsbien/

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