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Chapter 1. Introduction > 1.2. Today’s system

1.2. Today’s system

This section presents an overview of the vast array of files used by a typical LaTeX system with its many components. This overview will also involve some descriptions of how the various program components interact. Most users will never need to know anything of this software environment that supports their work, but this section will be a useful general reference and an aid to understanding some of the more technical parts of this book.

Although modern LaTeX systems are most often embedded in a project-oriented, menu-driven interface, behind the scenes little has changed from the file-based description given here. The stability of LaTeX over time also means that an article by Joachim Schrod on The Components of TeX [153] remains the best source for a more comprehensive explanation of a TeX-based typesetting system. The following description assumes familiarity with a standard computer file system in which a “file extension” is used to denote the “type of a file”.


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