[texhax] LaTeX in old computer

Jay Hammond homemade at talktalk.net
Thu Feb 1 18:58:34 CET 2007

On 1 Feb 2007 at 17:08, Philip Taylor (Webmaster) wrote:

> I seem to recall running TeX (not LaTeX, but the load
> would be only a little greater) on 386-based PCs.
> There was no problem (emTeX was the system of choice),
> and although things ran slower than they do today, that
> was about the only difference.
> Philip Taylor
> --------
> TEDY wrote:
>  >
>  > Does anyone in this mailing list have experience running LaTeX or
> TeX in
>  > old machine?

My experience of EmTeX on a 80286 or 80386 PC may help
(also a 68000 Atari)

About 20 years ago, 1986 or so, 
an 80286 machine took longer than 1 second to process (TeX) a  page 
of TeX source. That was still quite usable on a 20 page article. It 
was worth the wait, because the PC could preview (unlike the 
mainframe where you'd print IFF there were no errors in the log.).  
An 80386 PC took  less than or =  1sec per page, and encouraged more 
trial and error.  This was speed was also  achievable on a multi-user 
"mainframe" setup. 

But these were running TeX (or LaTeX) without the big memory 
allocation and extra  TeX  registers as in eTeX.   (I think it's 
called eTeX). Some modern LaTeX packages will require these later 
improvements. (Bigfoot comes to mind).

So Phil is right, TeX runs fine on an OLD machine. But your readers 
may want to run eTeX, which is more demanding. I have a 1GHz PC 
running Windows XP with 0.5Gb Ram about 4 years old that runs modern 
TeX distributions fine. If that's an old machine, then no, no probs. 
Do other users have experience of  intermediate age machines with 

How many years  is "old" for you? 4, 8, 20?

best wishes Jay Hammond


I thought it wasn't relevant; 

>  > I just want to know how powerfull LaTeX for making document in
> low speed
>  > processor, or low memory.
>  > I'm being in process to write a book about LaTeX; in my book I
> want to
>  > show that LaTeX can running well in old computer rather than
> word
>  > processor in the same machine...CMIWW.
>  > please share your experiences to me.
>  > thanks for all of yours attention.
>  >
>  >
>  > --
>  > thanks,
>  >
>  > Tedy Tirtawidjaja
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Jay Hammond
homemade at homemade.free-online.co.uk

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