LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for LATEX-L Archives


LATEX-L Archives

LATEX-L Archives


LATEX-L@LISTSERV.UNI-HEIDELBERG.DE


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

LATEX-L Home

LATEX-L Home

LATEX-L  February 2009

LATEX-L February 2009

Subject:

Re: "Microkernel" comments

From:

David Kastrup <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 23 Feb 2009 16:54:47 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (164 lines)

Will Robertson <[log in to unmask]> writes:

> Hi David,
>
> On 23/02/2009, at 10:04 PM, David Kastrup wrote:
>
>> Having a Lua programming interface where the control logic is mostly
>> written in Lua, controlling the execution of LaTeX stuff more or
>> less at
>> the class complexity level, will do quite a bit for more people
>> working
>> on LaTeX.
>
> I totally agree; and I think this will happen whether the LaTeX team
> does anything about LaTeX3 or not. We've never talked about what
> engines that we want to base LaTeX3 upon, and as far as I can see
> that's because it's too early to say. Will LuaTeX completely replace
> pdfTeX in TeXLive within the next few years? (I'd say probably, but do
> we know for sure?)

IIRC Han Thế Than is pretty adamant about not feature extending PDFTeX
anymore because he considers LuaTeX the principal successor.

However, we still have the "stable" Knuth TeX for reference in TeXlive
(though only for the plain format).  It is certainly conceivable that
PDFTeX will remain as a point of stability as well.  I am not all too
sure.

> 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.

It is quite different whether one "supports" LuaTeX, meaning that
incompatibilities to TeX are worked around in order to support an
unmodified LaTeX, or whether one actually makes use of it.

The ability of LuaTeX to execute scraps of Lua rather than scraps of TeX
in the inner loops may be nice, but it does not reduce complexity.  The
gains come only where one can use an algorithmic language to express the
basic control structures.

As an example: In Emacs, the basic control structures of what happens
when and where are written in Lisp.  Of course, in the end C code gets
run at the bottom level of everything.  But the C code basically
provides primitives and Lisp building blocks.  One does not tie together
stuff in C.  And that's the sane way.  If one considers that expression
applicable to the case of Emacs, that is.

> Furthermore, LaTeX2e+LuaTeX still has the same problems as LaTeX2e --
> frozen development, by design, and frozen class functionality.

Sure.  With LaTeX2e, the main goal will be to have this just work as
previously, never mind Lua.  I _think_ that Heiko created some LaTeX
class for managing LuaTeX resources: that seems like a good idea.  But
it manages Lua as an afterthought within the context of LaTeX2e.

> 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.

My impression is that we[please don't take offense at the use of this
pronoun] have no connection to a community with the work on LaTeX3.  It
appears as finger exercises for experts, to some degree.  At some point
of time, we need to regain traction with a larger set of people rather
than work in our own vacuum.

I have no recipes or useful advice to offer.  I just don't have the gut
feeling that the current fine-polishing of semi-primitive names is what
will break out LaTeX3 to a larger audience.

To some degree it feels like we have a chaotic workshop with make-shift
crafted tools all over the place and lots of shoestring and duct tape
and stuff.  And we are trying to turn this into a factory by discussing
the most systematic labels for shoeboxes that we are going to sort the
tools into, trying not to break too many contraptions in the process of
sorting into separate pieces.

> 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.

A lot of thought has fone into how Omega could be improved, too.  And
something came from that, but not necessarily where you would have
expected or hoped for it.

> 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?

Sure.  The question is what to have behind the break.

> I have no doubt that Lua is great, but I see LaTeX3 as more than a
> programming problem -- design of the user interface and what
> functionality should exist within it is just as important or more so.

The functionality does not arise in a vacuum.

> 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, ... ?

I don't know what LaTeX3 will be comprised of, so there is not much I
can comment on.

>> If the proposed microkernel would default to hook into Lua as its
>> algorithmic interface and we can get Taco and Jonathan to converge to
>> a common functionality subset that we can base this on, I think that
>> the benefits could be worth the decision to ditch all other engines.
>
> 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 :)

LuaTeX is more and more becoming a construction site.  Core features of
TeX are ripped apart and reassembled on a continuous base.  Many of
those changes are very desirable and "long due".  But there are few
people working on LaTeX support (recently, some packages have been
contributed, so that is no longer as true as once), and the manpower of
the LaTeX project would be hard put to keep pace just keeping stuff
working and tested.

Were I assigned the post of almighty project coordinator, I'd probably
order Jonathan to abandon XeTeX and instead set out to establish a
stable branch/fork of LuaTeX where he would provide existing XeTeX
functionality, preferably with most add-on work done in Lua/TeX rather
than in Pascal or C.

It appears plausible to me that somebody would have to feel responsible
for an underlying stable engine fork.  Assigning Jonathan to the task
would kill a few birds with one stone: for one it would remove the
engine competition, for another, it would make one quite capable
programmer eager to get back the functionality and interfaces he is used
to.

Obviously, one can't switch people around like that and replace their
personal projects with something else.  I probably should try offering
some Lua programming workshops in TeX conferences and make sure that
Jonathan is on the participant list (willingly or not).

>> 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: <http://www.lua.org/pil/> ?

Very good book, quite inspirational.  A real eye-opener because there
are a lot of conceptually simple problems which are then also tackled
simply and straightforwardly.

And by "conceptually simple" I mean the kind of stuff that you can state
in a few sentences, and which will usually take wagonloads of code to
actually do (particularly in TeX).

"Programming in Lua" is one of the best books I've read for programming
in any language.  Because it does not suggest the line of thought "to
tackle larger problems, expect a larger mess".

-- 
David Kastrup

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

September 2019
July 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
July 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
September 2007
August 2007
June 2007
May 2007
March 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
November 2004
October 2004
August 2004
July 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
October 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
March 2002
December 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTSERV.UNI-HEIDELBERG.DE

Universität Heidelberg | Impressum | Datenschutzerklärung

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager