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fontname mapping file for TeX
In a recent letter to dek, I asked if adding a ``fontname mapping file''
to TeX would compromise its TeX-ness. He said no, that such a feature
would be a fine adaptation to local conditions.
For those who didn't see the earlier messages on the subject, the idea
is this. When TeX sees \font\foo = fname
it would look for fname first in this mapping file, which would specify
some other, real filename. For example,
\font\foo = adobe-times-roman
might have an entry
and then TeX would actually read ptmr.tfm.
Some people have suggested adding wildcards, .e.g,
\font\foo = *adobe-times-roman*
as happens in X.
I am opposed to this.
I realize this idea, whatever the final form, is not without its
disadvantages. Don Hosek pointed out some of them. But I still think
it would be a useful addition to TeX, because TeX source files could
potentially be much more portable and the issue of how to name font
files goes away (well, of course you still have to name them something,
but it doesn't really matter what the names are, since no one would ever
need to use them).
But it is only truly useful if the majority of the implementations, on
different systems, support it. Hence this message. Comments?