[lltx] Future of xltxtra

Will Robertson wspr81 at gmail.com
Fri May 14 05:08:35 CEST 2010


I've now updated xltxtra to cope with the latest versions of fontspec.

On github I'm using two branches:

master -- XeTeX-only, up-to-date
luatex -- up-to-date with support for LuaTeX, based off Khaled's fork

Considering that xltxtra really stands for "XeLaTeX extras", my immediate thought was that we didn't need to worry too much about LuaTeX compatibility.

On the other hand, XeTeX users might want to try and compile their old documents with LuaTeX and this would cause unnecessarily problems.

Adding more complexity to the argument is that I've come to think that the whole idea of the xltxtra package was a bit of a mistake. It mixes features on too many levels:

1.  Low-level improvements and package loading
    (fixltx2e, etc., verbatim patching)
2.  User-level features (such as the superscript stuff)
3.  Not-very-useful user-level features (\vfrac, \namedglyph)

If I was to start from scratch, I'd drop #3 entirely, and move the subscript/superscript changes to a separate package.

But that doesn't solve what I see as the biggest issue: xltxtra is a silly name for LuaLaTeX.

I'm starting to think that the underlying things that fontspec does, such as fix footnotes by loading fixltx2e and patch verbatim to work with unicode, etc., could all be done internally.

The template for LuaLaTeX documents would look, then, like

\usepackage{...}% logos, real s'scripts, other user-features, etc.

Don't need xunicode since euenc takes care of it, and the relevant pieces of xltxtra will be folded into fontspec. I've resisted that sort of idea in the past but I'm now having a slow change of heart.

Having done this, we should still keep xltxtra working under LuaLaTeX simply to make things easier for cross-compatibility. With a big warning "THIS PACKAGE IS NO LONGER REQUIRED".

Any thoughts?

-- Will

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