[XeTeX] The future of XeTeX

Zdenek Wagner zdenek.wagner at gmail.com
Wed Aug 1 11:51:23 CEST 2012

2012/8/1 Keith J. Schultz <keithjschultz at web.de>:
> Hi Zdenek,
>         I believe well are pretty much inline with each other.
> Am 01.08.2012 um 10:48 schrieb Zdenek Wagner <zdenek.wagner at gmail.com>:
>> 2012/8/1 Keith J. Schultz <keithjschultz at web.de>:
>>> Hi Adam,
>>> Yes, LuaTeX is a evolving project, especially at the lowest level.
>>> Am 01.08.2012 um 02:54 schrieb Adam Twardoch (List) <list.adam at twardoch.com>:
>>>> On 31.07.2012, at 13:02, Peter Dyballa <Peter_Dyballa at web.de> wrote
> [snip, snip]
>>>        XeTeX has is strength in typography, and support for languages, due to polyglossia. This is definitely missing in LuaTeX.
>> This is not a principal problem. LuaTeX can still use babel and
>> polyglossia may be ported. I think that it makes use of
>> XeTeXinterchartoks for French, this has to be implemented in another
>> way but it can be solved.
>         I know that one can use Babel. but Polyglossia is design for unicode supoort and handles non-latin
>         languages, far better than Babel.
Sure but as I wrote, porting the core of Polyglossia to lualatex is
not a big problem. However, Polyglossia supports also a few Indic
languages but luates does not yet support Indic scripts. If you drop
these languages from Polyglossia, all the rest can be ported. Of
course it needs some work but there is not principle problem.

> [snip, snip]
>>>         From the simple user side. LuaTeX is about as easy as it gets. For most purpose I can teach you all you need to know how to use Lua for TeX in 2 hours!
>> When trying to compile my first document written in Czech using UTF-8
>> by lualatex it took me just a few minutes because from the user's
>> point of view fontspec is almost the same as in xetex.
>         I was talking about using Lua, not writing TeX.
OK. \directlua is also easy, I have done a few tests how to use it but
I can do all that by other means. The strenght lies in possibilities
of interaction with TeX internals but this is difficult.
>>>        Did I say 2 hours!, Well, that is only for the simple user. For the TeX Macro Package developer things are harder. That it is, you have to learn how to manipulate TeX with Lua.
>>>        Due to the complexity of TeX that is no easy task. Especially, since the only documentation is a reference manual, that does not explain anything! So, you either know low-level
>>>        TeX or you are out of luck.
>> Yes, this is the problem. If I take the TeXbook, it explains chapter
>> by chapter all algorithms. It would be nice to have luatex
>> documentation that will explain, how all these algrithms may be
>> affected be lua, where the hooks are, what are the data structures.
>> The reference manual lists the hooks and provides syntax but I am
>> afraid that without reading the luatex source code I will not be able
>> to use them.
>         How, true. One thing we should not forget is that LauTeX is not written
>         in Lua. I believe they use C or one of its derivatives. Lua is just an
>         extension to the binary code. The data structures should be pretty much
>         the same as the ones in TeX. (just guessing, but it is my understanding).
Hopefully those who read TeX the Program know more. However, even
without reading it I can use TeX. Although I use (Xe)LaTeX, I know
even plain TeX quite well because \def allows me to do much more than
\newcommand and if I need something special, I always need the plain
way. I will have a lecture (in Czech) on our local conference, the
abstract is available in Czech and English from
I need XeLaTeX here (because of Hindi texts) but the layout cannot be
defined by pure LaTeX means, I have to use the plain TeX way inside
the LaTeX code (\parshape, \vsplit etc). I can do all this without
knowing TeX the program.

> [snip, snip]
> regards
>         Keith.
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Zdeněk Wagner

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