[XeTeX] Interaction between utf8accents.sty and babel's german.ldf

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Wed Sep 22 10:13:07 CEST 2004

Le 22 sept. 04, à 09:14, Ross Moore a écrit :

> When I first tried to construct an example to test the problem that 
> Bruno
> reported this morning (for me --- probably yesterday for you!),
> I used  french , rather than  frenchb , since that's what Bruno was 
> using.
> This uncovered the incompatible coding.
> Perhaps it's really Bruno that has it *wrong* by not having Bernard 
> Gaulle's
>  french.sty  (pro)  or  frenchle.sty  (light)  packages available ?

The attitude of babel towards Bernard Gaulle's french package seems to 
have evolved over time. In version [2001/03/01 v3.7h], which is the one 
included in Gerben's current teTeX distribution, babel.sty includes the 


indicates that, when the option [french] is passed on to babel, 
frenchb.ldf (babel's French package) is used by default, unless 
frenchle.sty or french.sty (Bernard Gaulle's free and shareware French 
packages, respectively) are present on the system, in which case these 
are used. This might explain why teTeX (as distributed by Gerben), 
which does not include frenchle.sty or french.sty, defaults to 
frenchb.ldf, while TeXLive (which is your TeX setup if I remember 
well), which apparently includes frenchle.sty, defaults to the latter.

In the more recent version of babel found on CTAN, babel's attitude 
towards french.sty has got more radical. From babel.pdf:

"9 Compatibility with the french package It has been reported to me 
that the package french by Bernard Gaulle works together with babel. On 
the other hand, it seems not to work well together with a lot of other 
packages. Therefore I have decided to no longer load french.ldf by 
default. Instead, when you want ot use the package by Bernard Gaulle 
you will have to request it specifically by passing either frenchle or 
frenchpro as an option to babel."

and indeed in babel.dtx there is:

% \changes{babel~3.7j}{2003/06/07}{\emph{only} load
%    \file{frenchb.ldf}}
%    \begin{macrocode}

indicating that in the latest version [french] is synonymous for 

The decision from me to not use french.sty or frenchle.sty was 
intentional: I have always found them unnecessarily picky, bordering to 
dictatorial, in terms of typographical conventions (family names in 
small caps, specific formatting for Mr, Mme, Mle, for ordinal numbers, 
no vertical spacing in itemized lists, etc.), and of software 
requirements (necessity, earlier on, to use MlTeX), and I have always 
declined using them.

In any case, yes, it would have been safer to specify [frenchb] or 
[francais] explicitly, rather than relying on babel's interpretation of 
[french], which appears to vary depending on version and setup.


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