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

Thierry Laronde tlaronde at polynum.com
Tue Dec 20 13:31:57 CET 2011


On Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 06:15:26PM -0500, Joel C. Salomon wrote:
> [Thierry:  Have I misstated anything important, or left something out?]

No Joel, you're correct.

But to reply too many in one message:

1) To say that the current state of TeX distribution is satisfactory is
clearly a lie: Joel has mentionned Plan9, but I could mention NetBSD and
there are probably others where the size of the whole package and the
daunting interdependencies are simply a no way. And if there are
recurrent discussions about "alternative to TeX/LaTeX" this is because
the whole thing is becoming a software black hole, just about to
collapse on itself because of its size.

2) As the name implies: kerTeX, I do care about TeX and al. simply
because it is the _kernel_. This means that everything has been
organized to simplify using this kernel to adds packages. And that
nothing would exist without it. I may add as an example e-TeX. Once
kertex_M is put aside; libpascal and libweb put aside, all programs just
having a change file against D.E.K.'s sources will be available... as
long as they do not add myriad of dependencies on libraries unavailable
on some systems.

3) To say that TeX at the present does not support character outside the
8 bits range is false: the mathematical characters are not restricted to
this range, simply to be able to use more characters, but the augmented
size being used to switch to a 256 characters font or subfont. So how
can, relatively easily, be added utf-8 support? By using the subfonts
scheme for text characters. And how to organized fonts? As directories.
And what is already here in kerTeX? Naming a font with a directory. No,
it's not a coïncidence.

4) What is a right to left line? A left to right line seen from behind
or in a mirror. What is a top to bottom line? A left to right line
rotated, with perhaps font metrics having glyphes metrics rotated.
So is TeX limited to left to right? No, since, with perhaps the
exception of Frege's ideography, the human normal languages are oriented
linear, sequential, and there is one previous character and one next.
So placing whatsits in the DVI file instructing a dvi driver to
mirror/rotate boxes could do the trick.

So I'm deeply convinced that there are solutions that will keep TeX
conform to plain TeX usage, but allow more extended schemes.

To conclude, I will first finish 1.0 (METAFONT display rendering;
because METAFONT is an important program, for mathematicians and
for philologists: to be able to have fonts for new glyphes or
defunct glyphes), and I will see for the next step.

But since I think kerTeX is simple and organized (well or not, it's
a matter of taste; but organized), even if _I_ don't do things would not
prevent people from trying not being afraid of what, I'm sorry to say,
looks like Augean Stables.

        Thierry Laronde <tlaronde +AT+ polynum +dot+ com>
Key fingerprint = 0FF7 E906 FBAF FE95 FD89  250D 52B1 AE95 6006 F40C

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