[OS X TeX] LaTeXit and output drivers

Jonathan Kew jonathan_kew at sil.org
Fri Jul 27 11:01:01 CEST 2007

On 27 Jul 2007, at 9:45 am, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> Based on the recent activity on the XeTeX mailing list, there are  
> more and more LaTeX functionality which works when using the  
> alternative xdvipdfmx driver but doesn't when using the default  
> xdv2pdf driver.


> Why is that so? With XeTeX being now cross-platform, and having  
> hence gained a lot of visibility, a number of efforts have been  
> made to provide compatibility with widespread LaTeX packages such  
> as beamer and pdfpages. But these efforts often come from users on  
> Linux and Windows, for which xdv2pdf doesn't exist and only  
> xdvipdfmx is available.

It's not really a question of where those efforts come from; it's  
mainly that xdv2pdf is limited by the capabilities of Quartz as a PDF  
generator. It was designed for imaging, not full-featured PDF  
generation. Newer OS versions do provide some extensions, but it  
still isn't possible for a tool generating PDF via Quartz to access  
all the PDF capabilities that are possible when generating the PDF  
stream directly with complete control.

> I think Jonathan Kew, the developer of XeTeX, is intending to phase  
> out xdv2pdf and focus development efforts on xdvipdfmx which would  
> become the default driver also on the Mac.

Yes, I think it will be better to use the same default everywhere,  
and for *most* documents xdvipdfmx works as well or better. (Another  
benefit is that it is much faster in most cases.)  xdv2pdf will  
remain available, at least for the time being, as that is still the  
only way to access certain Quartz-based effects.

> A new release 0.997 of XeTeX is nearing completion, I don't know  
> whether it will include this change already.

Yes, it will. So I expect more of the common packages people use will  
work in the default configuration, and only users needing a few of  
the more unusual graphic effects (variation fonts, Quartz  
transparency and shadows, wider range of image formats...) will need  
to explicitly choose a driver.


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