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LATEX-L  February 2001

LATEX-L February 2001

Subject:

Re: Multilingual Encodings Summary

From:

David Carlisle <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 13 Feb 2001 18:29:24 GMT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (74 lines)

> Also, private use places are for interchange, not for internal
> things. Internal things should use non-characters, I believe.

Hmm a reasonable argument. Not sure I agree with it (just now)
will think about that.

> I can't see why it should limit additions, as long as old things work as
> they worked.

Exactly. Having spent around 12 years distributing TeX code, I am
convinced that there is no change ever made to anything related to TeX
that has not broken a package (and thus a few hundred or thousand
documents) somewhere. The TeX macro model is so open, the full
implementation of every macro is available to be inspected by any other
macro, that changing anything (just adding a \relax) will break
something. There is no sense in which you can re-implement something
with the same behaviour as the original unless it is identical.


> On Windows, both MiKTeX and fpTeX have it.
both web2c aren't they?

> We're asking distributions to
> support Omega, we're not asking users to use some certain distributions.

and Y&Y? and vtex and pctex and trutex (but trutex has omega I believe)
(and on the Mac, textures? oztex?, and MVS mainfame?) some of
the commercial systems have diverted greatly from the original Web
source to offer things like dynamic memory allocation. probably they
will move to a unicode based tex once sufficiently stable, but
are you really ready to tell them to commit resources now?


> We're talking about LaTeX3. The surgery will be needed for LaTeX3, isn't
> it?

well, true. But if we are talking about changes that break everything
we shouldn't try to fool ourselves with statements that "old things will
work".

> The two versions need lots of development time,
Yes (finding time for one version is hard enough).

I don't think there is any chance of having a replacement for LaTeX
that was not going to work with pdftex (or pdfomega) as without
pdftex a large part of the existing users wouldn't move to a new system
and many  uses for xml typesetting would be lost. Having a tex
system that produces pdf with type1 fonts is so much more comforting to
people who want to have tex as a black box typesetter for xml systems.

Unless a system works with all the major tex distributions (either
because it uses standard TeX, or because the TeX distributions
distribute omega or pdftex or etex) it will never replace LaTeX for many
purposes.

So I can't see any alternative but to have parallel development
paths. I'd like to work on both (but find it hard to work on
either at present)

On the other hand the two versions don't have to be completely
different. For example xmltex shows that utf8, cjk and the others show
utf8 handling isn't impossible with TeX. Given that one would presumably
still have the \' syntax, and also ready composed unicode characters in
many cases, just saying that combining characters don't work if running
over a standard TeX wouldn't be the end of the world.

David



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