[XeTeX] The future of XeTeX

Ulrike Fischer news3 at nililand.de
Tue Aug 7 10:03:38 CEST 2012

Am Tue, 7 Aug 2012 08:51:41 +0200 schrieb Paul Isambert:

>>>> But there are also political issues: LuaTeX is developed by a
>>>> team focusing on ConTeXt. LaTeX users will always be neglected,
>>>> at least that is the feeling I have (Taco is very kind and
>>>> helpful but he is paid for a specific task, and LaTeX is not
>>>> part of it).
>>> I thought somebody would answer to that but nobody did, so (sorry to add
>>> to this already too long thread, all the more as I won't even mention
>>> XeTeX):
>>> Two members of the ``core'' LuaTeX team (Taco and Hans) are indeed two
>>> main ConTeXt developers (and even original author, in Hans's case), but
>>> I don't think you can say LuaTeX development focuses on ConTeXt (plus
>>> Hartmut, the third member, is a LaTeX user, as far as I know). I'd
>>> rather say that at most LuaTeX development may be driven by the needs
>>> of ConTeXt developers, but that doesn't mean it benefits only to ConTeXt;
>>> also, given ConTeXt's high standards, I think it's only for the best.
>>> And the specific task Taco is paid for does not include LaTeX, but it
>>> does not include ConTeXt either.
>> Well if you look only at the actual binary then yes your are right:
>> it is not focused on context. But the handling of fonts is a core
>> feature of a typesetting system. No user of a typesetting system
>> would consider it to be complete if it can't handle standard fonts.
>> So even if in luatex the font loader (including all the code needed
>> to generate caches) is in external lua-files, it should nevertheless
>> be considered to be part of "the luatex binary". It shouldn't
>> delegate font handling to the formats.  

> I understand you're concerned about future font support in LuaTeX, but
> technically the engine is little more than an extendable PDFTeX. 

I know this. But you are again looking only at the binary itself, at
the "engine" in the narrow sense. I'm looking at the "typesetting
project luatex". 

> Fonts follow that philosophy: TFM (with mapping to T1) fonts are
> supported as in PDFTeX, other formats must be loaded and
> processed by hand. Whether it's a good idea or not in that case I
> don't know, but it is definitely consistent. (Actually I do think
> it's a good idea, but I accept my opinion might be marginal.)

I personally don't care much *how* e.g. open type fonts are handled.
The "typesetting engine" can use an external library, lua-files, or
some library included in the binary. I care only *if* the core
engine itself, the part advertised on the webpage, can handle the
fonts like a bare xetex can handle them. 

Sorry, but can you imagine that a typesetting engine can thrive
which must say on its webpage "I'm a wonderful tex engine based on
unicode but if you want to use open type fonts you will have to
write or adapt a lot of complicated code first".? 

> Now, as I've already said, Hans has written a format-independent font
> loader; somebody is only required to make the necessary adjustments to
> (La)TeX, as Khaled did until recently. 

At first it should not be necessary "to make adjustments". A
format-independant font loader should work like the extended
\font-command of xetex "out-of-the box". At second as some people
complained here in the discussion the font loader doesn't work e.g.
with indic fonts. At third it is undocumentated and unmaintained. 

> My main point was not whether LuaTeX was well-designed, but
> whether (La)TeX users could be said to be neglected, which I
> still think isn't the case.

LaTeX (and the other formats) were neglected because the development
of a vital part of the luatex-project - the open type font loader -
has not be developed in a format independant way. 

Ulrike Fischer 

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