> One variant would be to start offering LaTeX-variants of \halign and
 > \valign which (i) has less corny syntax, (ii) takes care to prevent errors
 > of the kind discussed, and (iii) might offer a few extra features (e.g.
 > calc-like syntax for \tabskip glue specifications or something; I don't
 > know if that might be useful). What I'm thinking of is that you could write
 > something like


while a suggestion like this would perhaps be an improvement for package/class
writers it wouldn't solve the update problem i was talking about; and if you
rely on code only working correctly if no straight \halign is arround
accepting arbitrary text, then this is a real problem.

 find /cdrom/texmf/tex/latex -type f -exec grep -l halign {} \;

alone gives you 67 packages/classes that have \halign in their code (well to
be exact have "halign" somewhere in their text :-), many many more would be
out there and all of them would suddenly bomb if not updated