[tex-live] Technical showstoppers for TL2003

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Sat Sep 13 17:35:25 CEST 2003

    the ^^-notation is standard *default* of TeX behavior as defined by
    Don Knuth.

Vladimir, I thought this too.  But it seems not to be the case.  I just
looked up all the index entries for ^^ in my copy of the TeXbook (21st
printing, 1992).  The most relevant one is on p.370, at the end of
Appendix C, and the text there says:
    (6)~There is a special convention for representing characters 0--255
    in the hexadecimal forms |^^00|--|^^ff|, explained in
    Chapter~8. This convention is always acceptable as input, when |^|
    is any character of catcode~7. Text output is produced with this
    convention only when representing characters of code $\ge128$ that a
    \TeX\ installer has chosen not to output directly.

Note that last line, "installer has chosen".

So it seems that it is ok with DEK to choose to output all codes >= 128 
as-is.  And it seems that this is the best thing to do in practice, too,
for the reasons Hans and Fabrice have been talking about.

This still implies a change from TL7: with no locale setting, TL7 output
8-bit chars with ^^; TL2003, will output them as-is.  I doubt this will
hurt anything, since any documents that worked with 8-bit chars from the
main input will work with 8-bit chars from an auxiliary file.

Of course it would be possible to construct documents that worked with
TL7 but failed before, but it seems merely theoretical, as opposed to
the present TL2003, which outputs ^^ unless -translate-file is
specified, which will definitely break a number of real existing documents.

What do you think?

(Of course we should still document the change, whichever change we end
up making.)

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