[OS X TeX] Input encoding question

Richard Koch koch at math.uoregon.edu
Fri Feb 20 08:51:33 CET 2009


I'll stop writing after this short response, so don't worry about an  
unending thread!

On Feb 19, 2009, at 11:07 PM, Axel E. Retif wrote:

> I think the overwhelming preference has been UTF-8.

I agree. The great advantage of UTF-8 is that all of your old ascii  
files still work.

> My point in favor of a utf-8 default is, 1) most of (La)TeX and  
> ConTeXt users around the world need more than 127 characters, and we  
> are already accustomed to input them directly with either latin1,  
> latin9 or utf-8; and 2) most of recent TeX editors (v.gr., TeXmaker,  
> TeXworks) have already utf-8 as default.

TeXworks is a wonderful editor by Jonathan Kew which runs on multiple  
platforms. Jonathan, the author of XeTeX, is one of the leaders in the  
movement to make Unicode work seamlessly with TeX, so it would be sort  
of shocking if his editor didn't output unicode by default! That said,  
when my mathematical colleagues send me TeX, it is essentially never  
in unicode. I hope this slowly changes as unicode mathematical fonts  
become available.

> For sure LaTeX will understand applemac, but the thing is, will  
> future TeX editors understand it?

Almost surely editors will not be a problem. I know the Mac best . It  
is useful to look at the documentation for NSString, particularly the  
methods which read or write strings to a file, to get a feeling for  
the future. There are six methods which create and initialize a string  
from a file. Four of these routines have an "encoding" argument which  
must be used. The other two, which don't have an encoding argument,  
are marked "deprecated in Mac OS X V10.4." Maybe some authors will  
always set "encoding" to UTF-8, but it is so easy to allow other  

Dick Koch

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