[lltx] bidi package extended for LuaLaTeX

Manuel Pégourié-Gonnard mpg at elzevir.fr
Fri Apr 2 14:03:26 CEST 2010

Khaled Hosny a écrit :
> That 'is' in 'main idea behind luatex is' was meant to be 'was', and I
> can't but agree with you here, what is the biggest advantage of luatex
> wasn't the point I was trying to make.
I agree it's beside the point.

> Great things were written in assembly too (and I know at least one
> modern OS written completely in it), it is not about the possibility,
> it is about in what time and what degree of complexity one can do
> things. So, basically what you are saying is that tex is Turing
> complete, a fact I don't find very interesting by itself.
No, I'm not saying that. Brainfuck is Turing complete, but I wouldn't argue that
brainfuck is usable. The point with TeX is, we have an existing non-trivial and
mostly working codebase, we should use it when possible, and have to interact
with it anyway.

>  I for example don't know any major tex package actively
> maintained by anyone other than the original developer unless it was
> just rewritten, and there must be a reason for this.
You have a point here. OTOH, when the original author is willing to cooperate
with us on porting his code to LuaTeX, this is not a problem. (And is this case,
Vafa is clearly willing to cooperate, he even agrees with you on doing part of
the package in pure Lua).

> Yes and no, yes I strongly dislike programing in tex macros, or,
> precisely, I plainly hate it, no I never said "it's written in TeX, it
> can't be good, it should be rewritten in Lua", but rather "it is written
> in tex, so I'l never be able to hack it, so I'd rather rewrite it in
> lua"; I'm not into the position of telling anyone what to do, I'm rather
> talking about what can I do. The original question was if I'm interested
> in bidi package or not, and my answer was literally "*I*'m not
> interested in bidi package since *I* feel it is too overloaded by
> legacies of TeX macros for *me* to manage", emphasis added.
Ok, thanks for clarifying your position. Now I can only agree with you, of
course no one is willing to force you to write or maintain code in a language
you hate (or even dislike).

But then again, Vafa could work on the TeX part on you on the Lua part.

> No, I need not to understand tex macros, well nothing more than the very
> superficial understanding, the rest I simply ignore and I think I'm
> doing fine so far.
Well, it depends on what you are doing. I mean, for the example of
luaotfload+fontspec (which is IMO a great example of how we should be doing
things), you didn't need much TeX for luaotfload, but there still are some
non-trivial macros in fontspec, which are need to interface both with the user
and with existing code (including the LaTeX kernel).

>> I see it as a big advantage of bidi, from a user's point of view (and users are
>> more important than programmers), since it means things "just work". Taking care
>> of this require time and usually quite a lot of user feedback, which is of great
>> value. Again, this value would probably be lost by rewriting form scratch. This
>> is why it is almost always a bad idea to rewrite things from scratch, from a
>> software engineering point of view. (And, mind you, saying "I don't understand
>> why things are done this way, it looks too complicated to me, and it's not
>> written in my favourite language, so I'll just rewrite it" is a common mistake
>> of young software developers.) (You may argue that some engineering paradigms
>> such as extreme programming suggest frequent rewrite from scratch, but they
>> require to do it in a way that accumulated experience doesn't get lost in the
>> process.)
> It doesn't work for me, and the users I care about, otherwise I would
> have been using it and not bothering myself with luatex, why I need to
> keep saying this?
Is the macro/bidi part the problem, or is XeTeX the problem? If XeTeX is the
problem, maybe part of the macros in bidi could be re-used.

> So? I'm not learning tex macros and I'm not writing any code in it, and
> if I need certain functionality I'll write it in lua, I don't see why I
> need to justify this.
You don't need to justify, I'm just trying to make sure that valuable experience
and code is not lost.

> I'm not interested in diplomacy, it is hard enough for me to communicate
> in English, so I'd rather keep things simple and go strait forward to
> the point.
I disagree here, since I think it's important to preserve good relationships
with other authors when possible, but I won't try to make you change your mind.


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