TeX

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The TeX typesetting language, alongside the Metafont font description language and the Computer Modern typeface family together constitute as typesetting system that is usually collectively known as TeX, and was primarily designed by Donald Knuth who released the original version in 1978. TeX and associated software packages with their Pascal source code are in the public domain, however all the names are trademarked so if you create a version of it you have to rename them.

There are a number of variants of TeX available for OS/2 and eComStation, and still more are easily ported to the system. However before you go ahead and commit to it as a typesetting system with its fairly steep learning curve you should be aware that the systems forté is really typesetting of mathematical formulæ. For other typesetting tasks the system has some really strange design choices that make some common tasks anywhere from annoyingly difficult to impossible.

Also be aware that TeX is as much a religious cult as it is software, that can make assurances from people on public forums about what it can and cannot do worth less than their face value. Do your own research before committing to anything.

Background and history

With the stated aim of allowing anybody and nobody to do high quality typesetting with the same results on any computer system and its public domain status, Tex immediately generated a lot of interest, especially in the scientific community and particularly in the in the mathematical sector. With its relatively low system requirements and well structured Pascal source, ports also appeared quickly for anything from mainframes to CP/M and other 8 bit microcomputers.

When people started to use the system in anger however a number of issues started to show up, the oddest being that the system only accepted text input in ASCII, this made it only usable out of the box with USA English, Dutch and possibly Afrikaans but pretty much nothing else, ASCII is fine for a typewriter replacement intended for the USA and Dutch markets, oddly limiting for a digital typesetting system but downright bonkers for something that aimed to "democratise the world of typesetting" according to the programs author.

Software

TeX environments

  • emTeX - TeX for OS/2 and DOS
  • emTeX/TDS
  • OS2TeX - TeX for OS/2 Warp
  • VTeX/Free 8.44.2 - An eTeX program for OS/2 Warp to generate PDF or PostScript output immediately from TeX source files. It comes with a basic LaTeX system, including additional packages and fonts, as well as the Bibtex and Makeindex programs. Plain TeX is also included.

Text & programmers editors with TeX support

  • Boxer - LaTeX syntax highlighting support built in - Commercial - DOS and OS/2 versions discontinued, Win32 version still sold.
  • Enhanced Editor - Has TeX syntax highlighting built in with some auto-formatting features, enhanced features available as a separate download.
  • FTE - Has support for syntax highlighting, code folding and syntax-aware autoindent. - Open source - Current
  • jEdit - Java based editor - BibTeX, LaTeX and TeX syntax highlighting built in - Current
  • LaCoD - DOS & OS/2 - LaTeX specific text editor - Commercial - Discontinued
  • Lugaru Epsilon - TeX syntax highlighting. - Commercial
  • NEdit - XFree86 - LaTeX autoindent, autocomplete and syntax highlighting - Open source - Discontinued
  • TeXPERT - Discontinued