[tex-live] Technical showstoppers for TL2003

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Mon Sep 15 10:51:30 CEST 2003

    I am not getting a feeling of consensus on this issue. If Vladimir, Petr
    and Fabrice cannot agree on a solution, what is to be done?

I had the impression there *was* consensus.
1) make tex \write 8-bit characters by default, in one way or another.
2) provide a way to get the 7-bit ^^ behavior.

If we don't do #1, as Fabrice and Hans (among others) have said, we will
be getting numerous complaints from users, whom we will have to explain
tcx files (ugh).

#2 is less important, but it seems important to me to provide a
relatively easy way to get the original ^^ behavior as described in the
TeXbook.  (The TeXbook/Knuth does not prohibit #1, however, as we've

Here is my new proposed change in texmfmp.c to accomplish this:

  if (!translate_filename)
    translate_filename = "cp8bit.tcx";
  read_char_translation_file ();

This way, users won't be tempted to change the "default" coding system
to a non-trivial mapping.  But users who must have the 7-bit behavior
can rename cp8bit.tcx.

When the tcx file does not exist, TeX just gives a warning.  It doesn't
abort.  (tex --translate-file=foobar story)

We do something cleaner next year.

Ok?  Can everyone agree on this?  I don't claim it is the cleanest or
most efficient, but it seems the simplest/least risk to me while still
getting the job done.

We should also fix the patgen-failing-to-close-files problem that Petr
mentioned.  It is also next-to-zero risk.

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