[texhax] LaTeX in old computer

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Thu Feb 1 22:29:53 CET 2007

>>>>> "Pierre" == Pierre MacKay <pierre.mackay at comcast.net> writes:

  > William Adams wrote:
  >> On Jan 31, 2007, at 9:17 PM, TEDY wrote:

  >>> Does anyone in this mailing list have experience running LaTeX
  >>> or TeX in old machine?  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.
  >>  Well, not too long ago, I was using miktex 1.20e on an AMD 586
  >> @100MHz I think it was (in a Fujitsu Point 510), and now I'm
  >> using the latest miktex as well as w32tex on a Pentium 233MHz.
  > You might check with Lance Carnes of PCTeX.  I think he started on
  > XTs.  I ran TeX and the UnixTeX distribution on a SUN-1 for quite
  > a while, and TeXtures ran on an enhanced Macintosh Classic.  The
  > problem would be the presence of enough virtual memory for all the
  > complexity that has accrued in present-day LaTeX.

Yes, LaTeX works on old machines.  But if you compare this with word
processors I think that we have to admit that running TeX on ancient
machines had been quite painful.

The first time I used LaTeX I had an Atari ST (8 MHz) with 1MB RAM and
a 720k floppy drive (no hard disk).  I had to put the programs into a
RAM disk because I had to exchange the floppies while the programs had
been executed.  I got a 10MB harddrive later.  It was a significant
improvement.  But after starting TeX, I could still fetch a bottle of
beer from the kitchen, and what and I've seen on screen after coming
back was "This is TeX, Version...".

But there had been word processors at this time which required much
less recources.

You cannot compare TeX with word processors.  Especially ancient word
processors had not been much more powerful than a typewriter and
people had been happy when variable spaced fonts had been supported at

It would be more interesting to compare TeX with word processors which
provide a comparable output quality.


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-4592165
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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