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Joseph Wright <[log in to unmask]>
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Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 23 Feb 2009 13:43:10 +0000
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Hello Will,

As happens quite often, you've covered quite a bit of what I also
thought about this. So I'll restrict myself to comments on comments :-)

> Joseph has repeatedly expressed his own opinion that we will support
> LuaTeX in time, and I see no reason that this won't end up happening.

I do hope I'm not boring anyone!  Will's right, of course, that while
LuaTeX will be widely available in x years time, it's the value of x
that is important.  We can all see that just because some interested
users have LuaTeX doesn't mean most people will have, even in a number
of years time.

> Furthermore, LaTeX2e+LuaTeX still has the same problems as LaTeX2e --
> frozen development, by design, and frozen class functionality. Either
> someone else writes a LaTeX successor or "you"/we do. (I hesitate to
> include myself in this because I'm clearly much less qualified to be a
> member of this group.) The point I was trying to make originally is that
> I consider current work on expl3 to be the precursor to working on
> "LaTeX3", whatever that happens to be.

This is really the key point that people who see a "LuaTeX versus
LaTeX3" division miss.  LaTeX2e has some fundamental problems that
LuaTeX makes no difference about. So I'd agree that someone has to
tackle this, and also like Will suspect I'm far from qualified to take a
serious role in this. (Which is not to say I won't do what I can, but to
recognise that my TeX and typesetting skills have definite limits.)

> And whether some feel more comfortable writing more TeX-like code or
> more Lua code shouldn't distract from the fact that a lot of thought has
> gone into how LaTeX could be improved and I hope, dearly, that something
> comes from that. Stumbling along loading package after package after
> package on top of LaTeX2e isn't sustainable in the long run, I think.
> Surely we have to make a clean break at some stage?

Again, this is what I've tried to convey in various places.  For the
day-to-day user (and this includes me and I guess almost everyone else
on the list) having to load a dozen support packages simply to fix
things that the kernel should do but doesn't is a pain.  Of course, you
can make your own class but most people should not need to. Your own
class is also fine for your own stuff, but what happens when you want to
work with others, write something in a pre-defined template, ...  Much
too much hard work.

> Of the LaTeX Team members that are not involved with expl3, I am very
> interested what you think of the possibility of LaTeX3. If it's
> possible, or if it will never catch on, or if LaTeX2e is all we need, if
> LaTeX3 will work if we drop expl3 and use Lua, ... ?

A very good question, and of course in the long term it's vital that
there is enough agreement to ensure there are enough people to do
whatever it is needs to be done.

> Well, if LuaTeX plus some glue code becomes powerful enough, I see
> little reason to continue even with XeTeX. I'm just not sure what's
> going to happen :)

I'd say XeTeX is going to be around for a while: it delivers UTF-8 and
system fonts now with little effort (Will's done the hard work for LaTeX
users). So there are a lot of people using it for tasks that, at
present, are nothing like as easy with LuaTeX.

>> Who of those on the team have already taken a look at Lua as programming
>> language?  It is really quite minimalistic and at the same time powerful
>> and expressive.
> For me, no --- only so much time in the day, and all, but do you have
> any recommendations about where to get started? For example, how about:
> <> ?

Same here: a job for later in the year, I think.  I'm guessing "buy the
book" is a good place to start, but like Will I'd be happy to listen to
other suggestions (especially if they are cheaper!).
Joseph Wright