[texhax] Fwd: kerTeX: TeX and al. under BSD license

Joel C. Salomon joelcsalomon at gmail.com
Tue Dec 20 00:15:26 CET 2011

On 12/19/2011 05:20 PM, Martin Schröder wrote:
> 2011/12/19 Thierry Laronde <tlaronde at polynum.com>:
>> More work has to be done after to support utf8 and alien fonts. And to
>> add also with some minimal changes (the support will be mainly in the
>> dvi drivers) not only left to right, but right to left, top to bottom,
>> bottom to top (?) "writing".
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XeTeX
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LuaTeX
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PdfTeX

A bit of history is in order.  Two years ago, there was discussion on
the Plan 9 mailing list (9fans) about porting TeX to that platform.
(It's Unix-like, but with enough differences to make life "interesting".
 Programs are mostly in C or a particular shell dialect [rc]; somewhat
out-of-date Python and very out-of-date Perl are available but not
heavily used; there is no X, C++, or Java; etc., etc.)

Thierry Laronde stepped up to create a sane minimal TeX distribution
that could build under and integrate well into this environment.  And
he's done so, and can begin to look at TeX extensions.

[Thierry:  Consider e-TeX first; see <http://ctan.org/pkg/etex/>.]

Unicode support is an obvious direction for extension as well; UTF-8 was
invented for Plan 9.

The new TeX engines are troublesome (from a Plan 9 perspective), having
more complicated build procedures (autotools) and dependencies on
external libraries --- especially Xpdf/Poppler, which are written in C++.

My suggestion to Thierry would be to try to attach LuaTeX to a C-based
PDF library (e.g., <http://libharu.org/>) to avoid any C++ dependencies;
all the work done by Hans, Taco, & al. for Unicode, multi-directional
typesetting, modern font formats, etc., etc., will come along "for
free".  But KerTex is Thierry's project, and I suspect he has a better
grasp of how much work this would take than I do.

[Thierry:  Have I misstated anything important, or left something out?]


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