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Re: \sim versus \thicksim

>   But are you sure that \thicksim is a bold version of \sim, and not just a
> somewhat heavier version that would be substituted instead of \sim because
> it is more readable? The AMS-Fonts contains other such examples, for
> example TeX \emptyset versus AMS-fonts \varnothing; the latter would be
> preferred in math typesetting.

No, I'm not sure that \thicksim is a bold version of \sim, but that is not the
point. The main argument for not having separate slots for \thicksim is that
the \sim and \thicksim glyphs in the cm version are not sufficiently different
to be used for two different things in the same document. \emptyset and
\varnothing show much more difference (although I don't know of a paper in
which the two are used to denote different things).

The \boldsymbol proposal was just meant as a way to ensure backwards
compatibility for old documents. 

Regards, Matthias