[XeTeX] Random number primitives

Apostolos Syropoulos asyropoulos at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 13 17:47:53 CET 2016

> That's true except that as pdftex and luatex have this already and have had
> for years, in this particular instance it's playing catchup that is
> being suggested.
> Not promoting novel functionality.

So just because the design in pdftex and luatex was conservative, if not flawed,
it doesn't mean we should follow their "lead". The point here is to produce
pseudo-random numbers. How they will be produced is something that the end user
should not worry about. In addition, it would be a nice opportunity for pdftex
and luatex to "upgrade".  

> Not really. If the main use cases are met by the existing code then engine
> differences are just extra work for the maintainers of the macro format
> to hide to provide a consistent interface to the end user.

This is a fallacy! Just becauce LaTeX can process UTF-8 encoded input files,
it doesn't mean XeTeX is useless! And there is no extra code. It would be just
a simple system call. So instead of implementing random with a call to 

long random(void)

one should implement it with a call to 

long lrand48(void)

Apostolos Syropoulos
Xanthi, Greece

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