[XeTeX] when one needs more than XeTeX+OT fonts? (was: Text output garbled..)

Alan Munn amunn at gmx.com
Fri Apr 15 13:28:02 CEST 2011

On Apr 15, 2011, at 7:03 AM, Kārlis Repsons wrote:

> On Friday 15 April 2011 10:22:32 Arthur Reutenauer wrote:
>>> This far I used only xelatex and was quite happy with what it can
>>> produce, so I got curious: what is that pdftex, dvi, ps stuff all for,
>>> when there is xelatex, and pdf viewers are the most common choice?
>>  Er... because XeTeX was created much later than the formers?  Your
>> question as such doesn't make sense; it could be rephrased as "Why
>> haven't they disappeared?", and to that the answer is easy: because it
>> would do much more harm than good.  There is no reason to willingly
>> break compatibility when keeping the earlier programmes costs (almost)
>> nothing -- especially true for free software.
>>> Likewise (and in relation) -- why are Type1 fonts typically needed? Do
>>> they have any considerable advantage in printed works?
>>  Same answer.  And you should be aware that the Type 1 format was one
>> of the foundations of OpenType; if it hadn't existed in the past,
>> OpenType simply wouldn't exist as it is today.
> I didn't intend asking anyone to remove compatibility. Just looking from the 
> current perspective and trying to understand why, according to Philip, I drive 
> a VW Beetle... That is, what would be the most important, which some others 
> would miss?

No, you're not the one driving the Beetle.  You're the one driving the Maybach. (Not that I completely agree with the analogy.)

The main point is that xe(la)tex and opentype are relative newcomers to the TeX scene, and there are hundreds of thousands of existing documents which have no need for the facilities that they provide. It was also the case for a while during the development of xetex that its math capabilities were wonting, (not so true anymore) and even now, true Unicode math support is limited to only a few fonts.

TeX was designed with math in mind; xetex was designed with multilingual support in mind.

> (I promise, won't ask much more about that, it's just for a start if I decide 
> there's anywhere to go with it /for me/!)

If you find xetex doing what you want, you have no reasons to change.

Alan Munn
amunn at gmx.com

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