[twg-tds] [gaulle@idris.fr: a TDS question]

Joachim Schrod jschrod at npc.de
Thu Jul 3 12:55:54 CEST 2003

>>>>> "PV" == Paul Vojta <vojta at Math.Berkeley.EDU> writes:

>> Therefore other shells beside command.com supported / all the time.

PV> However, the "therefore" does not necessarily follow. I guess you
PV> could do
PV> 	type "file/b" file2
PV> to copy file b in subdirectory file to file2 in the current directory,
PV> but without the quotes, you're asking it to copy "file" in binary mode
PV> to "file2", both in the current directory.  Unless you change the switch
PV> character, of course.

Agreed and not agreed. I don't meant command.com I meant *other*
shells, several of them existed at that time. Those that I used had
Unix-like syntax and no notion of changing "switch characters" at all.

>> command.com does not actively turn / into \. And if any tex.ch for DOS
>> does so, it's barking up the wrong tree.

PV> Not necessarily.  As a purely internal matter, it may be easier to change
PV> all / to \ (or vice versa) just because checking for one character is
PV> easier than checking for two.

I don't understand why one would want to check for any character at
all. One passes the file name to the open system call and sees what

In that context, most DOS TeX systems I know told users to use / as
directory separator anyhow since ("\",other) or ("\",letter)[*] is not
easy to input robustly in a TeX document. Other systems followed,
e.g., our now-dead st-TeX system (for the Atar-ST, used APIs borrowed
from DOS) did so. Also, please note that my quote above implied
changing the / into \ because the tex.ch author thought that / would
be a special character for the API. In that case, and since the user
was asked to input / anyhow, changing it to \ would be superfluous

Changing vice versa (\ to /) might be an other issue, though; it has
its uses in writing out file names to aux files and reading them

But that get's completely off topic, reminiscences to old times long
gone -- and gone rightly so.


PS: the notation "(name, category)" is used here to denote a TeX token
in a concise way.

Joachim Schrod					Email: jschrod at acm.org
Roedermark, Germany

	``How do we persuade new users that spreading fonts across the page
	like peanut butter across hot toast is not necessarily the route to
	typographic excellence?''			-- Peter Flynn

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