[XeTeX] The future of XeTeX

Zdenek Wagner zdenek.wagner at gmail.com
Wed Aug 8 17:09:26 CEST 2012

2012/8/8 Ulrike Fischer <news3 at nililand.de>:
> 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.
That's why most users do not compile TeX from sources and do not pick
files from CTAN but use TeX distributions. Such system dependent
modifications are already done there.
>> 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.
When I started to work with TeX, literature could not be bought in
Czechoslovakia. I could not read the TeXbook. I looked into well
documented packages from the Mainz distribution. Reading an
explanation how a trick was solved using \expandafter I understood how
it works and became able to use it. On the contrary I have tried
several times to read the Indic OpenType specification but I still
understand nothing. Adding full OpenType + AAT + Graphite support to
luaotfload will not be an easy task.

> --
> Ulrike Fischer
> http://www.troubleshooting-tex.de/
> --------------------------------------------------
> Subscriptions, Archive, and List information, etc.:
>   http://tug.org/mailman/listinfo/xetex

Zdeněk Wagner

More information about the XeTeX mailing list