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Brief History of TeX


What are TeX/LaTeX/Omega,etc

Brief history of TeX

Donald Kunuth (pronunces: "kanuti") of Stanford Universityis the specialist in programing art (he is mathematic too). In year 1977, he had discuting and experimenting the digital document typeset. In this year, the editor that will publish their seccond volum of The art of computer Programming sended the preprint of book. Deceptioned by their bad tipographicall quality, Kunuth decide to concretize their idea: Implementation of efficient computer sistem for document typesetting, called TeX (pronunce: "tech") system.
Since the apropriate font for tecnical and cientific documents does not exist,  he decide to design n fonts and implement the efficient font sistem for TeX. This font are called Computer Modern and the font system are called meta Font.
The first TeX system are ended in 1982 and the metafont system in 1984. The Computer Modern font are ended one year after these, in 1985. The macro (setup) used by Kunuth to typeset their book are distributed together the TeX and called plain TeX..
The TeX system are formed by set of applications to process document in automatic and efficient manner, but the knowledge for document layort are required in way to produce best document. In way to permit to author typeset profissional quality document without specific knowledge on document layort, the project to develop new macro for TeX are started. The head of these group is matematician Leslie Lamport of DEC ( Digital Equipment Corporation), specialist in computer programming (LTA - logic of temporal actions, used to model cuncurrent and reactive systems). The project are ended in 1985 and this macro are called "LaTeX" (pronunce: "la-tech").
The LaTeX 3 project headed by Frank Mittelbach made several change on LaTeX developed by Lamport, making bug fixes and implementing new macros. The LaTeX 3 team publish LaTeX2e (pronunce: "latech two e") in 1994.


Resume of events

The tendence of TeX

Actually, the LaTeX will produce best PDF document, using tools such as DVIPDFM, PDFTeX and PDFLaTeX, and there exist several converters to generate document as HTML and RTF (Rich Text Format acepted by MS Word and compatibles). Moreover, there exist seveal convetors of other formats to LaTeX. See the site for detail.
There exist other macros than LaTeX such as ConTeXt (general purpose macro such as plain TeX) and LaTeX classes such as KOMA-script that are distributed by several TeX systems. Moreover, the other typeset system are developed, with profissional typesetting, such as NTS (New Typeset system) and Jade (to process document writeen in DSSSL (Document Style Semantics and Specification Language) of SGML/XML such as DocBook (SGML is abreviature for Standard Generalized Markup Language. XML is the subset of SGML. HTML follows the SGML/XML specificatin standard too).
In terms to help the (La)TeX document editiong, there exist several GUI editors capable to find erros, insert simbols and commands, dvi viewer integrations, etc.
To person that does not have (La)TeX knowledge or to person that does not want to editing the source code, there exist the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor that process document using LaTeX. Example of these are LyX (cross platform), TeXEmacs (free - linux) e-doc (free - cross platform, but does not support equation yet), and Scientific Word/Work Place/Notebook (comercial - Windows). Note that there exist several editor capable to export LaTeX code. Using WYSIWYG editors as above, will edit document easylly as on Office applications and typeset hight quality document due to LaTeX. Thus, Note that the LaTeX knowledge for WYSIWYG help to edit more fast because theses editors acept the LaTeX command key sequence and will permit insertion of (La)TeX commands diretly into document.


  1. Oeticker, T. et al., The (Not so) Short Introduction to LaTeX 2e (2002), CTAN"
  2. (japanese)