[tex-k] The four numeric non-numeric macros in tex.web

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Sun Sep 26 23:37:42 CEST 2021

Thanks Andreas. DRF had the same comment, and added:

  The "=" macros for numerical values are part of the web language simply
  to save space during tangle, as it has a compact way to encode and store
  them. (This way, TeX and such were more likely to be tangle-able.)

  The actual numeric value is limited to +/- 32k, as it has to fit in
  16 bits (see scan_numeric and also note that equiv is
  sixteen_bits). So, that explains deplorable.

  Now, for the others, my belief is that DEK was making it easy for
  folks who wanted to make a big TeX to not get stymied by also
  knowing that they had to change the "=" to "==" when they opted for
  a max_halfword of 64K; and for folks on signedness-loving
  architectures, who wanted min_halfword to be, say, -64K.

More information about the tex-k mailing list.