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 Re: math fonts, etc Johannes Kuester <[log in to unmask]> Tue, 15 Apr 1997 14:18:15 +0200 text/plain (97 lines) Well, I think I could come up with my own set of three different lines that the discussion here follows or should or shouldn't follow. 1. Implementation of the proposal of Justin Ziegler 2. Design of standard TeX/LaTeX control sequences to access all those    glyphs. 3. Discussion about missing glyphs, fonts, typographical traditions and    rules etc. I admit that I'm rather concerned with the latter two, but I fully acknowledge Frank's point here that implementation of the proposal should be the first step. Also, taking out some glyphs (at least at first) seems to be a good point, as some glyphs are non-existent yet, some are questionable as members of the core etc. Hopefully, this will also help in having an implementation soon. Within the confinements of TeX it seems hardly ever possible to have an implementation meeting all needs. The ideal user would put together some virtual fonts for the glyphs he needs with the proper kerning between them, but this is very unrealistic, so I think the proposal serves its purpose well enough. I've seen too many books using Computer Modern only for math with another typeface for text (strange enough, many of them typeset in Times), so there is really a need to have math fonts for many different typefaces, and this is the main goal of the proposal. 2. seems to be important and could go well along with the implementation, and I think this should be discussed further on this list. Many of the new glyphs could be accessed in a yet existent standard way (e.g. font switches exist, only lowercase letters to be accessed by that are missing in existing fonts; wider accents are only adding in functionality), but there are many other new glyphs for which there isn't yet a control sequence. Further, for using the upright/slanted rule properly, there has to be a way to address the most frequent constants falling under this rule (e, i, pi, d etc.), as these are rather frequent, I feel that they should bet rather short control sequences. Without a standard here, much of the implementation seems quite unusuable. And discussing the implementation then when playing with it will be hampered, as one has to give slot numbers or to explain one's own set of macros to be understood by others.   This standard could even consider control sequences for concepts for which there isn't yet a special symbol (e.g. using \Laplace for the Laplace operator and \Diff for a (forward) difference operator when both are typeset as \Delta); this could be of interest for forward compatibility, e.g. for textbooks where future editions could easily be set then with a wider set of glyphs (in the second volume of a textbook that I'm currently setting I'm using control sequences for intervals, but the output is the usual (a,b), [a,b] etc. notation and not with special delimiters, as the author wishes to keep that for compatibility with the first volume (which hasn't been set by me); a future edition could easily change this).   Without a standard, any future manual concerned with math typography in TeX must tell the reader something like "The usage of these rules and symbols is strongly recommended. But TeX doesn't offer a way to use them to give you the possibility to design appropriate macros for yourself". Most users would be very glad for this opportunity to become an experienced macro programmer and to spend some days or weeks to get the needed set of macro, rather than to write the paper they intended. [I'm sorry, but partly this is intended especially for Hans Aberg, who opposes the proposition of standards on the one hand but complains about TeX's difficult usage on the other]   An experienced user will of course always introduce some of his own macro names, e.g. using \let\tensor=\otimes when using this symbol for notation of tensor product, but it is a great difference to use essentially a set of \let commands (with a standard) or to create all the macros from scratch, involving searching the correct font and slot number, choosing the right math symbol type etc (without a standard). 3. clearly doesn't belong here, but to the math font discussion list. To collect all the information in these fields will certainly do no harm to LaTeX, but neither it does much service at the moment. We should have a compatible standard first; adding more encodings, more fonts and glyphs could come at a later stage. At present, we could simply collect all propositions, all glyphs, metafont programs etc. May be glyphs yet done could be put together in a mere "glyph container" (to use a term from Omega), so other users could see them and comment on them, without having a proper enconding let alone kerning information etc at first. Later, this could result in having some extra LaTeX-cm-mf-only non-standard fonts, so that most users could use LaTeX with the proposed implementation, but with the font family they like (hopefully); a mathematician demanding special symbols or going for an extra bit of typography would have to use Computer Modern with the extra fonts then. Johannes Kuester -- Johannes Kuester [log in to unmask] Mathematisches Institut der Technischen Universitaet Muenchen