[XeTeX] The future of XeTeX

Paul Isambert zappathustra at free.fr
Thu Aug 9 09:13:08 CEST 2012

Philip TAYLOR <P.Taylor at rhul.ac.uk> a écrit:
> Paul Isambert wrote:
> > Ulrike Fischer <news3 at nililand.de> a écrit:
> >> 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.
> Yes, hard work at the macro/list-processing/expansion/execution level;
> but it (or rather, a 21-century derivative of "it", where "it" = "TeX")
> should not require hard work in order to interface properly with the
> font-handling aspects of the operating system on which it is installed.

The whole point of LuaTeX is to go a few levels deeper into TeX's
entrails; that includes fonts and nodes (``interfac[ing] properly with
the font-handling aspects of the operating system'' doesn't mean much:
loading a font is trivial; processing it in nodes is another matter

>   XeTeX has demonstrated that this is not necessary, and that
> the engine itself can successfully be extended to handle those aspects
> (not, perhaps, in quite as elegant way as might be hoped, but infinitely
> better than not handling it at all).

If LuaTeX worked like XeTeX in that respect, it wouldn't be LuaTeX, it
would be XeTeX. Sorry to make such trivial statements, but what XeTeX
has demonstrated holds for XeTeX only.

> Now, it is perfectly reasonable to argue that LuaTeX has a different
> philosophy to XeTeX, and that there are things that can and should be
> done in Lua rather than in the core binary : few if any would differ
> with that.  But surely it is not unreasonable to ask the LuaTeX authors
> and maintainers to provide the interface to the font system (whether in
> core binary or in Lua would be entirely at their discretion) and to
> make that interface format agnostic.

That's, again and again, luaotfload, with all its imperfections.


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