[XeTeX] The future of XeTeX

Simon Spiegel simon at simifilm.ch
Wed Aug 1 15:01:16 CEST 2012

> Message: 5
> Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2012 14:47:50 +0200
> From: Zdenek Wagner <zdenek.wagner at gmail.com>
> To: Unicode-based TeX for Mac OS X and other platforms <xetex at tug.org>
> Subject: Re: [XeTeX] The future of XeTeX
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> 2012/8/1 Simon Spiegel <simon at simifilm.ch>:
>> Some comments from a long time lurker here on this mailing list: I've been following this discussion with great interest but unfortunately it follows the same pattern of many similar discussions in the past. The question on how things could be improved is soon split up into various, often very technical, subdiscussions. Those are often very interesting, but IMO they avoid the main point which should be dealt with.
>> I don't intend to criticize anybody and maybe I'm stating the super obvious, but all these discussions are moot unless some is actually willing and able to come up and do some coding.
>> The subject of polyglossia has been brought up. I guess we all agree that polyglossia for LuaLaTeX would be a good thing. There also seems to be a consensus that this is technically doable. But this has already been discussed three years ago at least. AFAICS nothing much has happened so far. Similar with microtype for XeTeX. Until I'm mistaken we still only have parts of microtype implemented for XeTeX and only in a beta version of microtype. Again I hear that this should be doable for XeTeX but nothing has happened so far.
> There was a problem with polyglossia because Fran?oise Charette left
> academia and no longer had time to maintain it. The current maintainer
> is Arthur Reutenauer. I hope that a few volunteers could help him.
> Microtypography is not just a matter of the microtype package, the
> internals must offer proper primitives. I do not know whether they are
> already available. It is not easy in some scripts, eg in Indic scripts
> due to glyph reordering.

Maybe it was a mistake to come up with examples, but this is exactly the kind of answer I wasn't looking for. There is always a perfectly valid reason why people stop working on a project or why something doesn't get been developed. After all, we're mainly talking about people doing this as an unpaid hobby. No one can't be blamed if he decides that wants to spend his spare time in a different manner.

>> I may have missed some posts, but so far I've only seen Simon Cozens offering to actually work on improving the situation.
>> As I said, I don't want to criticize anybody for not coming up with working solutions. No one can be blamed if these things don't get done. But I really believe that we had enough of theoretical discussions in the past on how things could be done. What we need is people doing it. I think this kind of discussion should mainly be concerned with the question on how we can create a situation where people actually can deliver solutions. Is it a question of money? Would something like a kickstarter campaign help in finding people who can come up with the needed code? Personally, I'd be more than willing to pledge some code for this. Or is it a question of lack of knowledge (too few people are actually competent enough). Or is it something else?
> In the past TeX users groups financially supported several projects
> (Latin Modern, TeX Gyre, mplib). I believe that money can be found for
> future projects as well. It is necessary to find someone who will
> actually do the job. Maybe some PhD student can do it, I do not
> know...

IMO we should really try to come up with ideas how we can find people who are willing and able to do this, be they PhD students or whatever. And if there are people interested in doing something, we should try to support them – be it financially, with knowhow or what else they may need.


Simon Spiegel
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