[pdftex] Problems with microtypographic extensions (and specific older pdfTeX versions?)

Hans Hagen pragma at wxs.nl
Wed Aug 17 01:35:46 CEST 2005

RS wrote:

> On 16.08.2005 19:39, Frank Küster wrote:
>> Hi pdfTeX people,
>> in our Debian BTS we have a problem report about \pdfadjustspacing and
>> \pdfprotrudechars.  In the previous Debian stable release with an
>> ancient pdfTeX, the user simply put
>> \pdfadjustspacing=2
>> \pdfprotrudechars=2
>> in his preamble and observed positive effects.  
> This must have been a placebo effect. AFAIK, it has always been
> necessary to set up the fonts, too (\lpcode, \rpcode, resp.
> \pdffontexpand). In addition to that, \pdfadjustspacing did only work if
> the expanded fonts were available as tfm files.

fyi: in the early days of pdftex we did experiments at user group 
meetings (randomized samples for each participant so it really came to 
seeing it yourself) and it was quite interesting to see that texies -who 
often claim that tex does such a good job on breaking paragraphs etc 
etc- were not able to notice what was happening at all; people were 
looking at rivers (random), bad hyhenation points, and all kind of 
things that (probably) are annoying; i really wonder  if the average 
tex  user (like myself) always sees the difference between a decently 
done paragraph in word and one in tex (esp when there is much on 
breakable verbatim involved); (well, it can be seen once you know what 
to look for)

(this phenomena is comparable to what happend when us-patterns were 
inaccessible in recent distributions: claiming (what really happened) 
that a >250 page doc with not a single hyphenated line proved that tex 
was doing a pretty good job is mostly wishful thinking since any program 
would do that without hyphenation

anyhow, at a user group meeting Hermann Zapf claimed that probably 
nobody would notice small distortions <5% horizontally and/or vertically 
(e.g. stretch 60 line to take 61 lines space); so  ...  your probably 
right about the placebo effect ... we so desparately want our documents 
to look good; on the other hand ...

> I don't know why it is exactly this error message that is being issued
> and not a message about a missing file aer12+20, which I would have

... the fact that those messages showed up demonstrated that at least 
something hz was happening so probably the fonts were set up

> expected, but this does not seem to have much relevance with regard to
> the original problem.

as hartmut pointed out, it was a bug at some time in the kpse library and it was fixed but indeed is without relevance because no one is going to generate those extra fonts nowadays (not much fun, too much disk space, map file mess, although it is still needed when one uses dvi output)  


                                          Hans Hagen | PRAGMA ADE
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