[XeTeX] The future of XeTeX

John Was john.was at ntlworld.com
Thu Aug 2 16:58:17 CEST 2012


I would certainly try to contribute financially (though now isn't the best 
time!) for someone (or a team) to develop a 'custom kerning' feature that 
would allow XeTeX users to add to and modify the kerning pairs of a font 
without actually intervening in the font, with a rubric like this:

\font \umirfive = 
at 5pt

The file minionkern.krn would list the kerning pairs to add to or override 
the information supplied with the font.

The last time this came up, I think the consensus among the Wizards is that 
it would be very difficult in XeTeX because of the point at which XeTeX 
reads in such information about a font (whereas it's already doable in 
LuaTeX, I believe, though I'd rather stick with XeTeX if at all possible).

There - my first and probably last contribution to the suggested 'to-do' 


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Chris Travers" <chris.travers at gmail.com>
To: "Unicode-based TeX for Mac OS X and other platforms" <xetex at tug.org>
Sent: 02 August 2012 15:43
Subject: Re: [XeTeX] The future of XeTeX

if I may be so bold as to jump in.....

On Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 6:57 AM, Simon Spiegel <simon at simifilm.ch> wrote:
> On 01.08.2012, at 15:45, Philip TAYLOR <P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk> wrote:
>> Simon Spiegel wrote:
>> > And it might be a good idea to come up with ideas how we can find this 
>> > someone.
>> "ideas how we can ..." involves discussion, unless you are
>> advocating implementation by fiat, which I am sure you are
>> not.  So what it would seem you are advocating is that we
>> cease technical discussions and move on to personnel
>> discussions -- well, I for one am perfectly happy to leave
>> the personnel discussion to you and to others : technicalities,
>> problems and potential solutions interest me enormously,
>> and I am happy to continue to debate those; "who does what"
>> is a matter of little or no concern,
> I guess it is of little or no concern if you're not interested in actually 
> getting something done. As a user I'm much more interested in how I can 
> get working tools.
> But since I'm not interested in proving my own point – that discussions on 
> the future of *TeX tend to drift somewhere where things don't get done –, 
> I'm stopping this here.

What I am getting out of a lot of the discussions so far is that there
is a lot of work to be done and not a lot of people doing things that
need to be done.  I am primarily a user of XeTeX and LaTeX but what we
are talking about  what is essentially a community problem rather than
a technical problem.  Yes, TeX has a large following, but how many
people are working on LuaTeX and XeTeX themselves?

The key question in my view is how to enable people to get involved.
To this end, I think you really need to try to get involvement from
both coders and non-coders.

Some thing non-coders can do in (almost) any open source project:

1)  Pick something you really want to see done
2)  Talk to people about what is required, write up concerns,
obstacles, to-do lists, etc.
3)  Talk to other people find out how widespread the demand is.  If
there sufficient demand, look at organizing funding
4)  Offer to collaborate as testers, etc. on the new feature.  You can
do this even if you don't code.
5)  Advocacy work for the project in general

Often folks who are coding are too busy to get to some of the other
stuff and users are better positioned to help try to organize some
support for the project.   Developer community is where it is at

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers

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