[XeTeX] The future of XeTeX

Zdenek Wagner zdenek.wagner at gmail.com
Tue Aug 7 10:36:13 CEST 2012

2012/8/7 Keith J. Schultz <keithjschultz at web.de>:
> Hi Apostolos, Ulrike, All,
> I agree TFMs are outdated, but for being backwards compatible the
> functionality
> has to be in there.
> From what I have so far understood about LuaTeX is that the font loader can
> handle
> about all types of fonts running around, today. Even AAT-fonts.
> In other words there is a possibility to  add ATSUI-functionality. If it is
> not there already.
> LuaTeX handles utf-8 natively and has support for older encodings, so no
> problem there
> either.
> One has to keep in mind that LuaTeX is still evolving. The developers have
> taken a very good
> approach:
> 1) get LuaTeX-proper working
> 2) add needed features
> 3) preserve backwards compatibility
> Missing features in the handling of eg. not so commonly used OT-features, is
> not necessarily
> an oversight on their part. Just, like the missing language support in TeX.
> So far, I do not see why LuaTeX can not have similar functionality as XeTeX.
> It will have a different
> syntax. just as XeTeX is different than LaTeX.
Please do not mix engine and format. XeTeX does a few things i a
different way than TeX. In the LaTeX user's eyes the font loading is
different. It was not practical to modify the old LaTeX font loading
packages, therefore fontspec was developed. Due to encodings and other
reasons babel has to do a lot of additional things that are no longer
needed, therefore it was more practical to develop polyglossia. In
spite of all that the XeLaTeX syntax is exactly the same as the LaTeX
syntax. Briefly speaking, if I have a pure LaTeX code with default CM
fonts in OT1 encoding, I can process it by XeLaTeX without any
modification. Modifying a more complex LaTeX document for processing
by XeLaTeX is a matter of changing a few lines in the preamble but
they reflect just the engine change (TeX -> XeTeX).

> To get there though one has to get involved.  The more involved the better
> the chance that packages
> will be written so it is no longer needed to do the processing by hand. This
> is the TeX-way.
> regards
> Keith.
> Am 07.08.2012 um 09:06 schrieb Apostolos Syropoulos <asyropoulos at yahoo.com>:
> Ulrike Fischer <news3 at nililand.de> a écrit:
> I understand you're concerned about future font support in LuaTeX, but
> technically the engine is little more than an extendable PDFTeX. 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.)
> Using TFMs and related technologies seems to me quite outdated. Personally,
> I want to be able to use any font my system includes without having to do
> fancy transformations. This and XeTeX's capability to natively process
> UTF-8 source files were the factors that made me abandon "good", (really)
> old TeX. BTW, TeX itself is consistent too, but it is definitely outdated.
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Zdeněk Wagner

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