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

Thierry Laronde tlaronde at polynum.com
Tue Dec 20 19:19:23 CET 2011

Hello Barbara,

On Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 09:12:11AM -0500, Barbara Beeton wrote:
> hello, thierry,
> i'd like to comment on just one point ...
> not quite.  in arabic, text is written
> right-to-left, but numerals (such as years)
> are written right-to-left within that context.
> so a simple mirror won't work.  and entering
> the digits of a year in reverse order won't
> gain acceptance by a literate arabic writer.

As long as unicode is used, whether there is a different encoding
for the numerals in arabic, that will make the switch to a subfont
with left to right rendering, whether the context of arabic will
make the switch. If a font can cover, in theory, the whole range
of unicode, it is also possible to encode in the free ranges special
effects. The direction of rendering is governed by the unicode, that
switches to subfonts that have a defined direction of encoding.

> you might find the article "mixing right-to-left
> texts with left-to-right texts" by don knuth and
> pierre mackay of interest:
>   http://tug.org/TUGboat/tb08-1/tb17knutmix.pdf
> while i've since learned that much of math in
> arabic instructional texts is also right-to-left
> (with features like "mirrored" radical signs),
> the example using a short math string within
> right-to-left text is close to what's required.

I'm not saying that everything will be as simple as that. But I'm saying
that it is worth a try to see how far one can go in this way. And it's
like making exercises when you learn: it engraves the real notions in
your mind, especially if one try hards in a direction that he finally
_understands_ is an impasse.

Donald Knuth has said in an interview that the size of the Omega change
file (several times the size of TeX source) was a clear sign the
approach was wrong: if one has to make so many changes, one ought to
simply start from scratch.

But first things first.

KerTeX 1.0 with METAFONT display back (for X11 and Rio).

After that, utf-8 (and this means the fonts).

After that, direction of writing.

And at any moment, the improvements on the DVI translation and

But at any moment, kerTeX must be able to offer a simple installation of
everything conform to D.E.K.'s books, on the maximum of OSes---and this
simply means, at least a C89 compiler and library for this OS.
        Thierry Laronde <tlaronde +AT+ polynum +dot+ com>
Key fingerprint = 0FF7 E906 FBAF FE95 FD89  250D 52B1 AE95 6006 F40C

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