[OS X TeX] General Font Question

Peter Dyballa Peter_Dyballa at Web.DE
Sat Mar 13 12:34:55 CET 2010

Am 13.03.2010 um 09:11 schrieb Richard J Benish:

> So why can't LaTex work with the same ease? Why can't fonts that are  
> readily available for graphics applications (and even word  
> processors, etc.) be made readily available in LaTex?

Because (La)TeX comes from a time where no fonts where available  
(except for expensive printing machines in some custom [lead] format)  
and the fonts used by an application came with the application in some  
non-standard format (MF, METAFONT, for TeX). More than a decade later  
(you still wasn't born then) first Laser Beam Printers appeared. And a  
new programming language: PostScript. It introduced a new font format.  
Both, hardware and software, were rapidly integrated into the TeX  
community. And TeX continued to use TeX Font Metrics (TFM) files to  
know the normalised dimensions of each glyph and to know how much glue  
(positive or negative) could be poured between two glyph boxes in a  
word (a longer box).

Therefore, to be able to use an "external" font with TeX, you need to  
generate TFM files. To be able to make a print of TeX's output or to  
display it on screen you also need to know the mapping of the TeX font  
name to the PostScript or TrueType or OpenType font name and the  
encoding used inside that real font file. LuaTeX and XeTeX try to use  
a modern operating system's font sub-system to acquire necessary  
information about a font. 20 or 30 years ago no OS had such a thing...



I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've  
always worked for me.
				– Hunter S. Thompson

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