[texhax] Initial basic questions about TEX and LaTEX

Paul Isambert zappathustra at free.fr
Sat Sep 17 19:51:10 CEST 2011

Le 17/09/2011 03:27, Julian R A Manning a écrit :
> I downloaded an installed proTEXT on my pc.
> I noticed that there is provision for something called pdfTEX.
> I take it this is the old plain TEX to be found in books like "The 
> TEXbook" by Donald E Knuth.

PDFTeX by default runs plain TeX, yes, and produces dvi or pdf. But 
PDFTeX itself is an engine, not a format (like plain TeX).

> I have only tried one of my old TEX document but found that proTEXT 
> processed it fine.
> I did not notice this feature in earlier version of proTEXT.

PDFTeX has become default engine in recent years, at least for TeXLive, 
and probably proTeXt.

> Is good old plain TEX coming back into fashion?

Unfortunately not, as far as I can tell. (Oh, yes, I'm a plain TeX user, 
if such a thing exists.) A few more packages have been written that 
aren't exclusively tied to LaTeX, though, and can be run with plain too.

> Is there some manual on converting plain(pdf)TEX documents in LaTeX 
> documents that hightlights the differences between the two packages?

I'm not aware of that. There shouldn't be much differences -- after all, 
both are just sets of macros wrapping primitives...

> Is there some way to add line numbers to the tex files and the pdf 
> output both on a continuous and on a per page basis?

What do you call a tex file? The source? Why would you want line numbers 
there (apart from those shown by your editor)? As for the pdf output, 
this can be done, although no simple matter (unless you take one more 
step and use LuaTeX instead of PDFTeX), and I can't name a package here, 
but it exists (somebody?).

> I need a leg up in stepping from TEX to LaTeX.

Sticking to plain TeX is fine too :)


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