[pdftex] Enhancements I would like to see to TeX

Jeffrey McArthur jeffmcarthur at comcast.net
Tue Oct 26 02:10:12 CEST 2010

The discussion about TeX as a composition engine have been interesting. They
remind me of some things I have mentioned before.

I remember a discussion years ago at a TUG meeting I had about changes to
the way TeX handles output. TeX was designed to minimize memory
requirements. This means that TeX will eject a page as soon as it finds a
reasonable break point. In the early days of TeX, there was at least one
attempt to do a more elaborate approach to pagination. I would like to see
an implementation that would keep the entire job in memory and paginate to
minimize the total badness of all the page breaks. I admit this gets complex
when supporting multiple columns.

Expanding on that, I would like to see TeX keep multiple layouts of a
paragraph and make the selection based on minimizing the total pages break
badness. For example, if you have a paragraph that will set as three lines
but putting it on the first page makes the page go long and putting it on
the second page makes the first page run short. Breaking the three line
paragraph means the page break has either a widow or orphan penalty. One
solution is to set the paragraph loose so that it sets as four lines instead
of three. Then you can break the paragraph and not get widow or orphan

Jeffrey McArthur
cell: 610-389-0734
home: 610-450-6115
email: jeffmcarthur at comcast.net

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