[OS X TeX] Next generation TeX

Jérôme Laurens jerome.laurens at u-bourgogne.fr
Wed Sep 8 08:50:33 CEST 2004


Le 8 sept. 04, à 05:34, Scott Murman a écrit :

> Consider me a heretic, but I'm not sure the next-generation TeX should 
> be TeX at all.  TeX was way ahead of it's time, and other technologies 
> still really haven't caught up.  TeX/LaTeX was initially focused on 
> typesetting math/science documents, and that is where it excels.   
> Nothing out there has replaced TeX in this arena, and I doubt many 
> could yet compete with TeX support of multiple languages either.
>
> However, this does not mean that TeX should bloat into a powerpoint, 
> quark, acrobat replacement.  The requirements for general document 
> typesetting are extreme, and trying to extend the TeX infrastructure 
> to achieve this would be destined to fail IMO.  Is there a need for an 
> open-source, general, document formatting language?  Could one compete 
> with the commercial products?  I'm not sure the answer is yes to 
> either question, but if you do believe so I would suggest that 
> extending TeX would not be the optimal strategy.
> TeX has survived and prospered because it fills a niche - a niche that 
> commercial products cannot find profitable.
>
> I'd like to see TeX continue evolving as it has.  Adding a core set of 
> macros - LaTeX + CTAN.  Responding to new output formats - PDF, HTML.  
> Multi-language support.  High-quality fonts, especially in the math 
> arena.  A testbed for new ideas.   In other words, projects like 
> LaTeX, pdfTeX, hyperTeX, Omega, etc., which eventually mature enough 
> to become standard implementations.
>

TeX has not evolved (in a really significant way) since the early days. 
Only macros have evolved.
But it's becoming more and more difficult to add new sets of macros due 
to the interactions between them and the lack of TeX engine data 
controls publicly available.
The pdftex nor e-Tex new engines do not improve things in a really 
significant way, both are "small step" extensions of TeX.
More and more people think that Omega is dead, what a pity because the 
support of 16 bits fonts would really be a great improvement.

Another aspect was raised at TUG 2004 and concerned high quality 
typesetting on screens and any kind of devices (from the smaller mobile 
phone to the biggest TV) It seems natural that these screen typesetters 
will improve and there might be room for TeX alike technology there. 
But let us focus particularly on paper output.

> -SM-
>
> On Sep 6, 2004, at 3:50 AM, Jérôme Laurens wrote:
>
>> Coming back from TUG 2004, may I forward you some important question.
>>
>> It has no doubt that TeX has already reached some of its limits, it 
>> also appeared that omega is far from being achieved in a next future. 
>> The question seems to be: what can be the future of TeX?
>>
>> I propose to collect the desiderata of people really using TeX, 
>> whatever user level they are, about what they are missing in actual 
>> TeX.
>>
>> For example, a TeX guru was missing a real dedicated programming 
>> language with better access to data structure, someone else was 
>> missing metapost like features and funny typesetting (typesetting 
>> text along curves and not only lines...)
>>
>> Please, share your ideas.
>>
>> NB: made a copy to macTeX, for people out of macosx-tex who may want 
>> to participate.
>>
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>>
>
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>
>

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