[XeTeX] Re: [OS X TeX] gtamacfonts ligatures: PDF searchability

Jonathan Kew jonathan_kew at sil.org
Tue Mar 28 18:36:14 CEST 2006

Hi Bruno,

I don't like to pre-announce too much of what I'm trying to do in  
XeTeX development, partly because it's difficult to predict delivery  
schedules for this stuff ("real work" keeps getting in the way!), but  
in view of these comments, perhaps I should let you know a couple of  
things that are in the pipeline:

On 28 Mar 2006, at 7:16 am, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> Le 28 mars 06 à 14:47, William Adams a écrit :
>> The solution here is to use XeTeX, and to improve it and support for
>> it, so there're no reasons not to use it.
> But there are at least two reasons for which some people can't use  
> XeTeX right now as their main TeX platform (apart from the speed  
> issue, which isn't so important IMO):
> - The huge number of LaTeX packages which assume you are either  
> using dvips or pdfTeX, and have no driver file for XeTeX (or, even  
> worse, bypass the driver file mechanism by hard-coding driver- 
> specific instructions within the .sty package file itself). Think  
> of all the users of beamer, for example. And I'm not even speaking  
> of packages, like pstricks, which rely entirely on dvips.

There is a new driver in development (currently running pretty well  
on Linux; still needs further work on some of the Mac font support)  
that is an extended version of DVIPDFMx; thanks to Jin-Hwan Cho for  
help with this. In addition to being much faster than the current  
xdv2pdf in many cases, this should allow you to use any package that  
supports the dvipdfm(x) drivers.

> - The way XeTeX deals with Mac fonts, letting the Mac OS X font  
> mechanism set the baseline. This results in uneven line spacing,  
> especially in maths documents with inline subscripts, superscripts  
> and the like, and makes the output unsuitable for wide  
> distribution. (I know there are workarounds, involving fussing with  
> \linespread IIRC, but they are not perfect and require a fair level  
> of familiarity with plain TeX internals.)

In the current development version of XeTeX, which will be released  
as 0.991 when I get enough time to put a new package together, there  
is a parameter \XeTeXuseglyphmetrics you can set that causes the  
engine to use true glyph height and depth metrics in these  
computations, instead of the font-wide ascent and descent. (This is  
an optional setting, as there's a performance hit for using this, and  
for simple running text it is often not needed.)


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