[XeTeX] [arXiv #128410] Re: XeLaTeX generated pdf metadata

Ross Moore ross.moore at mq.edu.au
Tue Sep 23 06:08:59 CEST 2014

Hi Axel, Mike and others.

On 23/09/2014, at 12:04 PM, Axel E. Retif wrote:

> On 09/22/2014 08:42 PM, Mike Maxwell wrote:
>> I guess these jokers haven't heard of Unicode.  Are they stuck back in
>> the 1990s?
> Are you and Philip Taylor even aware that you're replying directly to an arXiv administrator?
> I think arXiv and Cornell University are doing a great service to the scientific community and public in general and deserve more respect.

Yes, they are doing a great service.

But, having said that, there should still be an obligation 
to keep up with the times, and not *prevent* the archiving
of publications that have special typesetting requirements.

How else can we advance aspects of mathematical/scientific 
publishing, when the main repository refuses to accept works 
that ably demonstrate useful new ideas?

Not that XeTeX is really all that special any more.
It started in 2004, on the Mac only.
Support for Unicode math is a bit more recent, 
starting around 2006, similarly to when XeTeX went
multi-platform (I think).

We talked about this at TUG 2014, in one of the discussion
sessions, where someone had reported dissatisfaction with 
what could be submitted to arXiv. 
Other issues were raised as well, including the fact that
the current TeXLive version being used there is ~3 years
out of date.

Earlier this year I submitted a paper that was meant 
to demonstrate use of PDF/A-3u features for publishing 
*accessible* mathematical content. 
But because the version of pdfTeX was outdated at 2011, 


the PDFs produced on-the-fly by arXiv do not validate to 
the standard declared within them.

They would not accept the PDF that I myself can compile,
in which validation is 100%.

(The particular differences in the PDF output are due 
to a mistake in 2011 and later versions of pdfTeX itself.
This has now been fixed, but perhaps is available only
by download from the  pdftex  source repository.)

The upshot of this is that it is not possible to *lead by 
example* with PDFs that are meant to demonstrate the value 
of new and emerging standards.
This includes standards that are accepted elsewhere within 
the publishing industry, and are to some extent mandated 
by existing US accessibility laws, applicable to many 
government and academic institutions.

> It seems to me that if they start accepting Xe(La)TeX submissions they will be receiving documents with strange fonts,
> the license of which they will have to investigate first to see if they can post the articles.

Most fonts are allowed to be subsetted and included within PDFs.
The subsetting prevents sensible extraction of the font as 
a whole, so foundries do not object.
After all, how can the beauty and craftsmanship within a font 
be displayed, and its popularity increased to the benefit of
the designer and foundry, unless documents using it are allowed 
to be distributed?

So no, that is *not* the crux of the issue.

It is the insistence on being able to reproduce the PDF
*automatically from source* that is where the problem lies.

There should be more circumstances under which users' PDFs 
would be accepted *as-is*, and distributed from arXiv.

Sources should certainly be included in the arXiv, primarily 
for verification purposes, even when not able to be presently 
compiled to the desired satisfaction.

If font licensing is still deemed to be an issue, then surely
there is a difference between recreating the PDF from source 
using a purchased, fully-licensed copy of the font, and simply 
serving a copy of a document for which the author has used 
their own (presumably purchased or licensed) copy of that font.

By all means tell the author that full acceptance of the paper
may be delayed if some investigation needs to be carried out.
Tell them the real reason; but *do not* insult the author 
by saying that (s)he must submit in a completely different 
format to what is best for the content of the work that 
(s)he has already prepared. 

Hope this helps,

	Ross Moore
	Director, TeX Users Group

Ross Moore                                       ross.moore at mq.edu.au 
Mathematics Department                           office: E7A-206      
Macquarie University                             tel: +61 (0)2 9850 8955
Sydney, Australia  2109                          fax: +61 (0)2 9850 8114

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