[NTG-pdftex] Extensions: \pdf$foo or \$foo?

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Sat Jul 2 00:11:48 CEST 2005

>>>>> "Martin" == Martin Schröder <martin at oneiros.de> writes:

  > [...]
  > Our "problem" is that TeX, the LaTeX kernel and plain.tex are very
  > stable, so nobody expects new primitives from the engine.  And we
  > don't want to break backwards compatibility with old documents.

  > The only way for this is a reserved namespace like \ptex (it seems
  > only texinfo uses it, and it's use won't break with a new pdftex).

You never can be sure that a new primitive leads to a name clash.  The
only thing you can do is to invent names for new primitives which are
quite unlikely to be used by macro writers.

So Martin's idea is not bad...

  > I suggest introducing non-pdf-extensions with \ptex$foo.

... though I prefer, instead of using `$', to make use of the fact
that TeX is case sensitive.  (\PTEXfoo instead of \ptex$foo).

I think that it is quite unlikely that someone wrote a macro yet which
name begins with `PTEX'.  Though \catcode changes might provide a
higher level of security, I think that changing \catcodes makes the
primitives too inconvenient to use.


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-4592165
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Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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