What is the thought behind texmf/web2c/xxxx.fmt?

Ulrik Vieth TWG-TDS@SHSU.edu
Thu, 9 Nov 1995 09:54:11 +0100

Martin Hagstr\vm writes:

> Busy installing teTeX while looking at another installation at the
> department above I like to know way there is no specific directory to
> place the actual formats files in. My collegue at computerscience put
> them into a texmf/ini but in the teTeX distribution they stay in the
> web2c directory. Wouldn't it be more logic with ini, or formats or..?

Hmmm, maybe we need a TDS FAQ, but AFAIK this will be explained better 
in the next version.  To answer your question: The TDS tree is basically
intended for implementation-independent files.  Format files, however,
are are not implementation-independent unlike .tex or .mf sources, etc. 
They cannot be shared between say emTeX or teTeX whereas other files 
can; in fact, they cannont even be shared between different versions 
of big and small emTeX, but that's a different problem.

For this reason, format files fall under the case ``implementations
may choose to store other files in the TDS tree in an implementation-
specific subtree'', which means somewhere below "web2c" or "vms_tex"
or whatever else.  "texmf/ini" is just an old convention that will
be discontinued.

Cheers, Ulrik.