[XeTeX] Status of XeTeX on non-MacOSX platforms?

Sivan Toledo stoledo at tau.ac.il
Sat Jul 30 17:32:08 CEST 2005


I would like to ask about the prospects/plans/status of XeTeX for 
platforms other than MacOS X.

I read carefully the paper on XeTeX for IUC27, and I seems to me that 
MacOS specific code is used in only 3 places in XeTeX:
1. In handling ATSUI fonts and words typeset in these fonts,
2. XeTeX calls the ATSUI bidirectional algorithm.
3. XeTeX uses a MacOS-specific API to render the document into a PDF file

I think that item (1) can simply be dropped from non-MacOS builds, and 
item (2) can probably be replaced by either ICU (I think it includes a 
version of the algorithm) or freebidi, a GPL library implementing the 

Item (3) is probably the most difficult to replace, mostly because of 
the need to subset and download OpenType fonts (both TTF and OTF) in the 
PDF file. Up to this issue, the PDF generation can probably use the 
pdfTeX generator.

I am not suggesting that any of this is easy. Even just building the 
code with all the MacOS-specific #ifdef'ed away might be difficult.

But I would like to see this happen (I think many other users would 
too), and I would be happy to help. I have experience in adding 
font-downloading support to free software (I added TTF/PFB font 
downloading and subsetting to Qt, I added OTF downloading to iText, and 
students working under my supervision added OTF subsetting to iText; Qt 
is C++ code and iText is Java).

I would like to suggest that a good way to move this forward is to 
separate the system issues from the coding issues. That is, the first 
step should be to create a platform-independent source tree that builds 
the functional program on MacOS but a crippled version without the MacOS 
code on other platforms. Then the missing parts should be defined, 
either in terms of an API, or just in terms of writing replacement to 
the delete-MacOS code. Then people with specific expertise can try to 
help by writing the missing code.

Regards, Sivan Toledo, Tel-Aviv University

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://tug.org/pipermail/xetex/attachments/20050730/228421a8/attachment.htm

More information about the XeTeX mailing list