# TeX ⊂ LaTeX?January 17, 2007 10:05 PM   Subscribe

What is the relationship between TeX and LaTeX?

I thought LaTeX was a set of macros built upon TeX, making LaTeX a superset of TeX. But I've found, for example, that \eqalign does not exist when I run my TeX file through LaTeX (I'm using MiKTeX).

So much for the superset theory. Is there a succinct way of stating the relationship between TeX and LaTeX?
posted by king walnut to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I've always heard it described exactly as you describe it. Guess I have more to learn too.
posted by ontic at 10:19 PM on January 17, 2007

I've always wondered if foldoc online dictionary of computing which I always thought was cool, though I'm not a coder, would help with this kind of question.
posted by Listener at 10:28 PM on January 17, 2007

Best answer: LaTeX is a set of macros built atop TeX.

"Plain TeX" is also a set of macros built atop TeX.

LaTeX and Plain TeX do not overlap perfectly, as you found.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 PM on January 17, 2007

Great find Blazecock Pileon.

The relavant quote from the provided link is: "LaTeX is close to being a superset of Plain TeX."
posted by mmascolino at 10:38 PM on January 17, 2007

Response by poster: OK, thanks, I think I've got it now.
Part of my confusion was the fact that Plain TeX, despite its name strongly implying the most unadorned version, is not the lowest level TeX.
So if I understand correctly, Plain TeX and LaTeX are both built upon TeX; LaTeX is not built on top of Plain TeX, but includes many of the same macros as Plain TeX. Agreed?
posted by king walnut at 11:05 PM on January 17, 2007

Additionally, it seems that the \eqalign macro was specifically removed from LaTeX. See, for instance, these files apparently designed to make the \eqalign macro available in LaTeX documents (see the comments for a little info regarding the original removal of \eqalign, and usage info).
posted by snap, crackle and pop at 11:06 PM on January 17, 2007

Best answer: LaTeX is not built on top of Plain TeX, but includes many of the same macros as Plain TeX. Agreed?

That's correct.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:06 PM on January 17, 2007

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