[XeTeX] The future of XeTeX

Paul Isambert zappathustra at free.fr
Wed Aug 8 17:29:10 CEST 2012

Ulrike Fischer <news3 at nililand.de> a écrit:
> 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.

I think we simply disagree on the status of luaotfload. I see it as that
default fontloader you're talking about; non-ConTeXt users aren't
neglected (which was my starting point), thanks to it, although it
doesn't mean something better shouldn't be conceived by format authors.
As I understand you, it's not enough and it's imperfect anyway, so you
see the development of LuaTeX as terribly lacking in that respect.

I don't expect we'll agree on the subject, but at least I hope I got you

> > 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.

I'm not so sure. At least my personal experience tells me otherwise:
while OpenType was no pleasure cruise, it certainly wasn't as strange an
adventure as TeX.

>                           Also - more importantly - I see none of
> the needed discussion going on. 

Until Khaled's recent announcement that he wouldn't continue luaotfload,
there was perhaps little need for most non-ConTeXt users; everybody was
more or less happy with the status quo; hopefully now people will act. I
haven't used luaotfload in months because I've developed my own
fontloader, and I know I'm not the only one in that position; sooner or
later something will emerge. All in all, we're not in a situation so
different to that where XeTeX is now, which spurred this discussion.

Perhaps I'm overly optimistic; yet I trust the community of TeXies,
which advances slowly yet decidedly.


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