Interview With Donald Knuth

Andrew Binstock interviews the ever-thoughtful Donald Knuth. Knuth, on how he writes:

My general working style is to write everything first with pencil and paper, sitting beside a big wastebasket. Then I use Emacs to enter the text into my machine, using the conventions of TeX. […] I have some homemade tools, like my own spell-checker for TeX and CWEB within Emacs. I designed my own bitmap font for use with Emacs, because I hate the way the ASCII apostrophe and the left open quote have morphed into independent symbols that no longer match each other visually. I have special Emacs modes to help me classify all the tens of thousands of papers and notes in my files, and special Emacs keyboard shortcuts that make bookwriting a little bit like playing an organ.

(Thanks to David Magda.)

Sunday, 27 April 2008