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David Kastrup <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 6 Jan 2003 13:35:43 +0100
text/plain (61 lines)
        Javier Bezos <[log in to unmask]> writes:

> David:
> >> But the question then arises:  why e-TeX?  Why not Omega, an
> >> e-TeX/Omega hybrid, . . . ?
> >
> > Because functionality present in e-TeX is desperately needed for
> > implementing more versatile output routines than the present, was
> > explicitly requested by LaTeX project team members and implemented
> > for their sake.
> The functionality present in Omega is needed for some
> critical tasks (at least, I need them more desperately than
> those in e-TeX).

The stress is here "some".  And John Plaice has already said that if
e-TeX's extensions were needed, they would get implemented in Omega.
And they are needed.  One can't design usefully flexible output
routines without some of the stuff.  At least not with very serious
drawbacks and slowdowns.  And the register limitations of the
standard TeX engine are insane for any serious programming.

I am talking about a policy change for the _next_ release of LaTeX2e,
not some hazy target far in the LaTeX3 future.

There is no reason not to be using e-TeX instead of TeX for LaTeX2e
per default.  There is a host of reasons not to use Omega at the
present time.

> > In contrast, Omega is a moving target and widely undocumented.
> > The features specific to Omega are rather orthogonal to most of
> > the problems the LaTeX3 project is tackling.
> I cannot speak for the LaTeX3 team, but I don's think
> so. Integrating LaTeX with Unicode, XML, SVG and multilingual
> environments should be one of the current goals of LaTeX.

It does not touch most of the work that is ongoing with LaTeX3 at the
moment.  And much of it can be implemented without change to the
current LaTeX3 work, anyhow.

At the danger of repeating myself: if LaTeX3 is going to cater for
everything under the sun, and work on it must not progress unless it
does so, LaTeX3 will be dead.

> While it's true Omega is undocumented and its developement somewhat
> "arcane", I don't see another possibility.

Whether there will be a time when Omega is the engine of choice for
LaTeX3 or LaTeX4, will remain to be seen.  But e-TeX is here _now_
and LaTeX development needs to commence _now_.

What use will it be for Omega when it gets finished sometime, and
there is only an ancient code base to start work on?  One can't
program everything at once when Omega is there.  There is work that
needs to progress _now_.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum