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the difference between big bigops and small bigops

    >It seems pretty clear, that the NEXTLARGER mechanism for selecting
    >displaystyle versions of larger operators is just a hack used by Knuth

    I'm not so sure about this, since I'm not convinced that a 14pt
    \textstyle\int is the same as a 10pt \displaystyle\int.

i'm quite sure that a 14pt \textstyle\int is *not* the same as a 10pt
\displaystyle\int -- i examined the .mf code for most of the big
operators, as well as the use of these operators in art of computer
programming vol.

As a ``has studied maths quite a lot person'' before finding tex, I have
used big versions of bigops, and small versions of bigops in my papers,
and my lessons. For me at the time, when I was doing a big one, it was
just the same as the small one, except bigger, and usually had limits.

This may be different for other fields.

If the metafont code is different, I'm not sure that is a argument. It
maybe had to be different for them to be as alike as they are. Maybe that
is the best Knuth had time to do ?