[XeTeX] fontspec in TUGboat

Stephen Moye stephenmoye at mac.com
Sat Dec 17 12:51:04 CET 2005

On Dec 17, 2005, at 4:46 AM, Jonathan Kew wrote:

> On 16 Dec 2005, at 7:44 am, Will Robertson wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> I have written a paper for TUGboat that I will be submitting  
>> shortly (before the end of the year, hopefully early next week);  
>> before I do so, I would like to let you all see it in order to get  
>> some last minute feedback.
>>   <http://www.mecheng.adelaide.edu.au/~will/tex/tugboat-fontspec.pdf>
>> I'd like to thank everyone for dealing with its idiosyncrasies  
>> over the months;
> And thank you for writing the package, and so opening up a new  
> world to LaTeX users.

My first reaction was that this article will almost certainly create  
quite a stir in the TeX community, much of which is **not** on the  
Mac OS X platform. Windows users are going to see how extraordinarily  
simple and gratifying it is to burst out of the narrow confines of  
TeX and LaTeX as they are usually packaged and configured. I think  
that you can expect the floodgates to be opened in interest for  
having XeTeX and fontspec (and an easily configurable TeX  
installation like gwTeX) available on the PC.

For me, this has been an interesting experience. I started my TeXing  
with Textures, and even now mourn its comatose state. I thought,  
naively, that Textures was the way ALL TeX worked. Then I tried my  
hand at OzTeX -- boy, was that a shock! I ran pall mall back to  
TeXtures. All this time I remained a user of plain TeX -- still my  
preferred way of working: LaTeX was simply the Microsoft Word of the  
TeX world as far as I was concerned. And, anyway, I needed access to  
a wide and ever-changing variety of fonts: LaTeX discourages this by  
making it a herculean effort to alter the built-in font settings of  
it or its class and style files. Fontinst is interesting and I have  
used it on rare occasions, but competent use of it requires several  
advanced degrees in computer science and quantum mechanics -- to say  
nothing of a lot of free time.

The point is this: XeTeX restored to me "the joy of TeX" (apologies  
to Michael Spivak), and fontspec has opened a whole new world of  
possibilities with LaTeX that were denied to me in the past. I can  
well imagine that there are a lot of people who are feeling  
pleasantly liberated by these wonderful TeX tools, and a WHOLE LOT of  
other people who would like to be. And, of course, this is made all  
the pleasanter with Richard Koch's TeXShop.

My deepest thanks to Jonathan, Will and Richard for work very well  
done indeed.

Merry Christmas, and joys to you of whatever season you celebrate.


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