[XeTeX] which TeX-based software

Zdenek Wagner zdenek.wagner at gmail.com
Fri Apr 27 16:15:46 CEST 2018


everything from the TeX world is free and multiplatform. Of course, there
are nonfree text editors that can help you with creation of the source text
and running all task by pushing buttons on a task bar but they are not
needed and free tools are available.

Both plain XeTeX and XeLaTeX are built upon the same set of primitives, so
the capabilities are in principle equvalent. However, the approach is
different. Users of plain XeTeX are assumed to do everything ourselves,
packages for various tasks are not generally available. XeLaTeX users
typically use packages available on CTAN and hence in TeX Live. If you find
a package for your task, you can easily use it in your document.
Unfortunatelly, if the package is not configurable and extensible, you will
have to delve into the plain XeTeX which may be more difficult because
without understanding the package internals you can easily break it.

There is no simple advice. If you wish to become a TeXpert and you like to
find your own solutions without being bound by someone else's packages,
then plain XeTeX is for you. If you want to be just a user and suiotable
packages are available and you have a TeX guru nearby, then you can start
with XeLaTeX more quickly, produce required results and a guru will help
you with the difficult cases.

Zdeněk Wagner

2018-04-27 15:43 GMT+02:00 Philip Taylor (RHUoL) <P.Taylor at rhul.ac.uk>:

> Carrs wrote:
> Hi,
> a newbie question. I would like advice on which TeX-based software it
> would be best to learn in detail for my typesetting plans. So far, I have
> learned a little TeX and a little LaTeX, but not enough of either to tell
> me which will work best for me.
> The features I want to be able to typeset are:  [many and complex]
> XeTeX can do all of these, but the intellectual effort required of a
> beginner is likely to prove nigh unsurmountable.  I *expect* that XaLaTeX
> can do the same with somewhat less intellectual input, but as I never use
> LaTeX in any guise I am not the best person to advise.
> Philip Taylor
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