Important Message to all Users of TeX

If you see that your system produces the symbol

instead of

for the Greek lowercase delta, you should tell your system administrator immediately to upgrade your obsolete version of the Computer Modern fonts.

I made important corrections to all those fonts in the spring of 1992, but alas, I still see many books, journals, and preprints using the old versions. Please help me abolish the old forms from the typefaces of the earth.

Many characters were improved in 1992, notably the arrows, which now are darker and have larger arrowheads, so that they don't disappear so easily after xeroxing. But most of the changes are rather subtle compared to the dramatic improvement in the lowercase delta. In fact, the old delta was so ugly, I couldn't stand to write papers using that symbol; now I can't stand to read papers that still do use it.

When I released the new versions in 1992, I also installed a new and improved procedure for digitizing the letterforms at low resolutions. And I improved several of the calligraphic capital letters, notably {\cal H}, {\cal I}, and {\cal T}. [Compare pages 126 and 134 of the book Computer Modern Typefaces, in the first five printings (1986--2000) and the subsequent printings (2001--).]

The new forms of the characters take exactly the same space on the page as the old, as far as TeX is concerned. So the same line breaks and page breaks will be obtained with the corrected fonts as with the original fonts of 1986. The only difference will be that your papers will look better and they will be more pleasant to read.

These fonts are never going to change again. The best time to get rid of the old version is now. Correct METAFONT sources are widely available in TeX archives around the world, with dozens of mirror sites. The relevant subdirectories are fonts/cm/mf and fonts/cm/ps-type1. If you use dvips for printing DVI files, it is not necessary to regenerate all the fonts with METAFONT; just delete the old ones, and dvips will make new ones as needed.

You may happen to see new publications that continue to use the old fonts. For example, SIAM Journal of Computing has continued to use the awful old delta, at least up till March 2008 (volume 37 page 1906); and there many others who should also know better! The American Mathematical Society does use the correct delta, and so does the Japan Journal of Industrial and Applied Mathematics. But they still haven't upgraded to the corrected calligraphic capitals, long long after they should have been changed. For example, see Bulletin of the AMS, January 2009, page 144; Japan Journal of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, October 2007, page 276. Other guilty parties are ACM, Springer, and Elsevier: See ACM Transactions on Algorithms, August 2008, page 46:13; Discrete and Computational Geometry, December 2008, page 625; Journal of Computer and System Sciences, January 2009, page 18.

Whenever you see the obsolete letterforms in a published paper, please tell the authors about this Web page. Their work deserves to be typeset with more beautiful shapes.

Incidentally, my little monograph Axioms and Hulls was the first publication to use the final form of the Computer Modern fonts. All details of the 1992 font refinements were documented in the fourth printing of Computers & Typesetting, Volume E: Computer Modern Typefaces, which came out in March 1993.

While you're upgrading the fonts, you might just as well install the latest version of plain.tex (29 February 2008, 45K bytes)

See also the Millennium Boxed Set!

Don Knuth's home page

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