>> For this to work, there must be a body that issues TeX upgrades, which
>> are suffiently conservative that the many TeX implementations only need to
>> flip in the new source code, I think.
We do have to be really careful about terminology here: there can't
be any upgrades to TeX unless they are issued by DEK himself; he
will look at TeX at ever-increasing intervals, and he intends to
make no changes (other than pure bug-fixes) whatsoever.
As an alternative, the e-TeX/NTS team propose e-TeX; it is 100%
compatible with TeX, written in pure Pascal Web as a changefile,
and should be readily ported to every modern platform (versions
currently exist for VMS, MS/DOS, Unix, Amiga and Windows 32/95,
plus perhaps other systems of which we are currently unaware).
e-TeX V1.1 was released about six months ago; we have had no
bug reports since then. e-TeX V1.1 offers over 30 additional
primitives when compared to TeX V3.14159, most of which are
accessible in extended mode (that is, in a mode which does not
compromise compatibility with TeX); the remainder operate in
enhanced mode, within which the bi-directional TeX--XeT
environment becomes available.
e-TeX is documented at, and available from
Philip Taylor, Tehcnical Director, e-TeX & NTS projects.