[tex-live] pdfetex the default engine

Staszek Wawrykiewicz staw at gust.org.pl
Thu Mar 25 04:18:54 CET 2004

On Wed, 24 Mar 2004, Karl Berry wrote:

>     \pdfoutput is not the only primitive added by pdftex and not everybody
>     checks for \pdfoutput. E.g. geometry does:
> So, how about undefining all the primitives.
> Existing code mostly assumes that latex/ do not have pdf primitives, and
> pdflatex/pdftex do.   This does not seem like an unreasonable assumption
> to me, although I agree that an ifpdf.sty-like-approach is what we
> should recommend.
> Even after fixing every single package on TL (doable, I suppose), it
> will be painful for the users to break their existing documents when
> they happen to use an old package with a new tex (happens all the time),
> or if they test for \pdfoutput (or whatever) directly in their documents
> -- which they do.  I've done it myself, many times.

Well, I can only add that we cannot fix every package without contacting
the authors.

My assumption is that running _latex_ means loading the _core base_
macros dumped to the latex format and should be completely transparent
from the users point of view. Every addition could be also considered
as breaking LaTeX guidelines. Forcing people to use ifpdf.sty 
seems to be unacceptable if they need just _latex_
What to do? Perhaps adding to pdf(e)tex any general switch-off
for pdf concerned stuff? This would make pdftex really compatible
with nopdf engines...

Staszek Wawrykiewicz
StaW at gust.org.pl

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