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

Ross Moore ross at maths.mq.edu.au
Wed Sep 22 11:51:45 CEST 2004

Hi Bruno,

On 22/09/2004, at 6:13 PM, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> 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 code:
> \DeclareOption{francais}{\input{frenchb.ldf}}
> \DeclareOption{frenchb}{\input{frenchb.ldf}}
> \IfFileExists{french.ldf}{%
>   \DeclareOption{french}{\input{french.ldf}}%
>   }{%
>   \DeclareOption{french}{\input{frenchb.ldf}}%
>   }
> 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}
> \DeclareOption{french}{\input{frenchb.ldf}}%
> indicating that in the latest version [french] is synonymous for 
> [frenchb].
> 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.

Great, thanks.
This is the kind of information about evolving packages that needs to 
be available
on lists, and elsewhere.

> 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.

Now the only remaining problem is to determine why the \beginL ... 
\endL  construction
was being used by Bernard's packages --- particularly in a situation 
where all
the requested languages are  left-to-right.

The errors that I saw were happening within the preamble.
One reason that I find this to be potentially damaging is that Unicode
has characters to mark the directionality. If these are placed into the
output (i.e. TeX's vertical list) as a result of \beginL ... \endL, etc.
then they need to be coded differently within the preamble to 

In that case the error/warning messages are believable, and result in an
unwanted blank first page.

Thanks for your input on this,



> Bruno
> _______________________________________________
> XeTeX mailing list
> postmaster at tug.org
> http://tug.org/mailman/listinfo/xetex
Ross Moore                                         ross at maths.mq.edu.au
Mathematics Department                             office: E7A-419
Macquarie University                               tel: +61 +2 9850 8955
Sydney, Australia                                  fax: +61 +2 9850 8114

More information about the XeTeX mailing list