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Tomas Rokicki

Mar 29, 1986, 5:44:53 AM3/29/86
My earlier postings on TeX for the Amiga has generated sufficient interest
and enough common questions for me to post this information about TeX in
general and TeX for the Amiga, ATARI, and Macintosh. First, some comments,
and then a description of TeX.

I am currently porting TeX to the Amiga, ATARI, and Macintosh computers.
The software will not be public domain; however, it will not be terribly
expensive, either. For distribution details, send me mail (ROKICKI@SU-SUSHI)
and I will add you to the mailing list I am building up. I am using the
Manx C compiler for all three ports. The C source was generated from the
public-domain TeX by a translator I wrote using lex, yacc, and C. The port
will come in two pieces; the TeX package and a screen driver as the primary
part, and various printer drivers in the other. Currently TeX works on the
Amiga, and a device driver for the QMS KISS works on the Amiga. The port
to the Atari is expected to proceed very quickly; the screen drivers will
probably be the most difficult part.

It must be realized that the TeX system requires a lot of memory and disk
space. TeX works on a 512K Amiga with two floppies, but LaTeX probably
won't fit, and you might have to change the floppies occasionally. A nicely
set up TeX requires a megabyte of memory and several megabytes of disk

Now for a description of TeX itself.

TeX is a computer typesetting system developed and placed in the public
domain by Donald Knuth of Stanford. I believe that it currently stands
unrivaled in terms of quality and power for typesetting documents,
especially those with complicated mathematics. It is written in WEB,
which is essentially a preprocessor for Pascal which introduces an
incredible degree of system independence. (WEB also has many other
attributes, see Knuth's Literate Programming article from an issue of
Communications of the ACM a few years back.) The input to TeX is
prepared with a standard text editor, and contains formatting commands
much as troff. TeX is NOT WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get); the
actual 'formatting' of the input has no relation to the output.
Nonetheless, TeX is very simple to use; the equation for the two roots
of the quadratic equation can be typeset simply as:

$$r_1,r_2 = { -b \pm \sqrt{b^2-4ac} \over 2a }$$

(braces group, $$ chooses display math mode). And the output is beautiful.
Check out The TeXbook by Donald Knuth (Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-13448-9,
available at any college bookstore) if you don't believe me. The TeXbook
is a user's guide for TeX, and provides an example of its power.

The output of TeX is a DVI (or device-independent) file; it contains a
low-level page description. Device drivers are required to convert this
file to the appropriate commands (or bit maps) for the particular device
being driven. Some device drivers come on the distribution tape; others
are available from various companies and Universities. If you have a
particular device, send me mail and I will see if I can find a device
driver; otherwise, I will mail you the particulars of a couple of companies
which specialize in TeX device drivers.

TeX has been ported to an incredible number of computers; these include
Vaxen under VMS and Unix, Suns, Amdahls, Apollos, CDC Cybers, DEC 10s and
DEC 20s, DG MV8000 and MV1000, HP1000, 3000, and 9000; IBM MVS and VM,
PERQ, Prime, Siemens, IBM PC's, the Macintosh, just about anything which
runs Berkeley 4.2, and others. Thus, it is usually available for whatever
machine you happen to use; like EMACS, this can help ease the transition
when moving to a different computer and operating system.

TeX is effectively public domain; Don Knuth has granted permission for
full distribution of TeX, provided that it is not modified in any way.
The WEB system allows for implementators to make system dependent changes
to TeX in such a way that the original source file does not change.
The TeX software distribution is available from Maria Code for effectively
a tape charge, and it includes literally megabytes of source. The tapes
available are:

TeX generic distribution tapes (PASCAL compiler required):
ASCII format, EBCDIC format
TeX specific distribution tapes:
VAX/VMS (backup format), IBM VM/CMS format, IBM MVS format,
DEC 20/TOPS-20 Dumper format
Font tapes:
Font library at 200/240 dots per inch
Font library at 300 dots per inch

The tapes are under $100 each. Call Maria Code at (408) 735-8006; her
address is DP Services, 1371 Sydney Dr., Sunnyvale, CA 94087. Please
do not ask her questions about TeX; I believe what they have there is
effectively a tape duplicating operation.

A Unix port (for Berkeley 4.2/4.3bsd) is available from the University
of Washington; I think the correct person to contact is Pierre MacKay,
Dept. of Computer Science, University of Washington, FR-35, Seattle,
WA 98195.

Address specific questions to me (ROKICKI@SU-SUSHI); I will answer them
if I have time; I may just refer you to someone who knows. -tom

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