Some thoughts on a ground-up remake of LaTeX

Don Hosek don.hosek at
Sat Nov 6 16:44:37 CET 2021

On 6 Nov 2021, at 06:53, David Carlisle <d.p.carlisle at> wrote:
> Phil,
> > By so doing, not only would you allow "finl" programmers access to any TeX primitive that they need, knowing in advance that it had not been stolen by finl. 
> There is no tex, only finl, Don's plan is to implement a slightly-like-tex language from scratch, in rust.

As David says, this is a ground-up language. By separation of concerns there’s a good possibility to manage some interesting use cases. The architecture is not unlike a contemporary compiler in that the parsing is done to an intermediate representation which will then be converted to the final output, but this means that, for example, someone could plug a XML parser into the front end and use all of the back-end capabilities for typesetting. There will be multiple back ends allowing the same file to reliably target output to PDF, HTML/ePub, XML+MathML or even InDesign or Word. I’m thinking that a direct-to-screen backend will make sense for the beamer-equivalent and give greater flexibility than is currently possible using PDF presentation mode. But that’s all many years in the future. Right now all I can do is take a text file with TeX-style coding of -- --- `` ‘’ etc.¹ and output the corresponding Unicode characters.


1. All configurable so that a user can choose whatever mapping they like.


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