[XeTeX] The future of XeTeX

Ulrike Fischer news3 at nililand.de
Wed Aug 8 16:55:20 CEST 2012

Am Wed, 8 Aug 2012 09:52:25 +0200 schrieb Paul Isambert:

>> 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".?
> Honestly, yes :)
> That's what TeX is to me anyway: a wonderful system that requires a lot
> of hard work.
> On http://www.luatex.org/roadmap.html, you can read:
>     There are two solutions for handling fonts: using the internal
>     functions that do what TeX has always done, or write a Lua function
>     that does a different job. As there are multiple solutions possible
>     and as we expect macro packages to have their own ways of dealing
>     with fonts, there is not one solution for dealing with fonts anyway.
>     Also, TeXies have always wanted full control over matters, and this
>     is provided by the Lua solution.

But allowing packages or formats to write and use their own code for
open type fonts doesn't mean that the "luatex project" can ignore
open type fonts completly. The fact that latex users can write
beautiful and powerful packages e.g. for tabulars don't mean that
the latex kernel don't have to provide code for tabulars.

I don't ask that a font loader should be included in the binary. A
lua package which you can use in the font callback is fine. It is
also okay if you need to adapt a configuration file before use e.g.
to get it working with your texsystem or your os. The main point is
that a working, default open type font loader should exist at all. 

> In a few years, TeX users will have sprouted new wizards that'll deal
> with fonts like the current wizards play with \output and \expandafter.

Two years ago I would have said this too. But now I doubt it.
Opentype fonts are much more complicated that some expandafters or
the latex output routine. Also - more importantly - I see none of
the needed discussion going on. 

Ulrike Fischer 

More information about the XeTeX mailing list