[tex-live] Re: Please drop the DVI-with-pdfTeX hack!

Frank Küster frank at kuesterei.ch
Fri Sep 9 17:36:24 CEST 2005

"Jonathan Fine" <J.Fine at open.ac.uk> wrote:

> "Ralf Stubner" <ralf.stubner at physik.uni-erlangen.de> wrote in message
> news:lz4q8uz7h4.fsf at tfkp12.physik.uni-erlangen.de...
>> "Jonathan Fine" <J.Fine at open.ac.uk> writes:
>> > My understanding is that, if you are right, then microtype.sty and
>> > the like are the main beneficiaries of the proposed change.
>> I don't see how a LaTeX package should be the beneficiary of anything.
>> The beneficiaries of the proposed change are LaTeX users who want to use
>> the microtypographic extensions provided by pdfTeX for DVI output or
>> especially parallel DVI and PDF output.
> I was using the name of a package as a shorthand for its users,
> developers, and other stakeholders.  As already noted, it seems that
> for the microtypography there are few users.

One reason could be that it wasn't usable for DVI output on standard
installations until recently, and still isn't in tex-live 2004.

>> I was a bit too optimistic here. As Frank correctly mentioned in his
>> reply to your message, microtype.sty not only differentiates between DVI
>> and PDF output, but also between different versions of pdfTeX. This is
>> necessary since the microtypographic extensions provided by pdfTeX have
>> changed over the time. It /might/ be possible to adapt microtype.sty to
>> the primitive-masking in TeX Live 2004, but it sounds very error-prone.
> TeX (written by Don Knuth) is renowned for its stability.
> Many users value this quality very highly.
> It seems that the microtypographic capabilities of pdfTeX have not
> reached the same degree of stability.

How do you come to this conclusion?  It's not microtype.sty that is
unstable and error-prone, it's the adaption of microtype.sty to the
hacks that some systems did in the past (and to other possible hacks
other distributions might invent).

>> Relax, this does not concern the TeX lion at all. We are talking about
>> the LaTeX format here. The plain TeX format is still produced using 'TeX
>> the program' without any extensions.
> That plain TeX is unchanged does not allay my concerns regarding the
> stability of LaTeX documents.
> My concern is that we might be breaking (how many) existing documents,
> for the benefit of (how many) users of microtype.sty.

Only buggy documents.  And not many, as Thomas Esser has pointed out.

> And that there may be a better solution to this evidently continuing
> problem.

Nobody has been able to suggest a better one.  Are you?

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Inst. f. Biochemie der Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer

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