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James,

 > I don't know how verbatim environments will be implemented in latex3,
 > but the verbatim package requires this short hand.  One posiblity that
 > comes to mind is that there should be a class writer's version of \begin
 > and end (\BeginEnvironment ?) that do not set the current environment,
 > and could perhaps be used with verbatim and other unusual things.

i know that the current verbatim needs to be used in a special way to build
other environments. but I doubt that this is a serious problem. verbatim and
\verb are special in the way they circument several conventions and syntax
rules within LaTeX (due to their very nature) and if they need a special
interface or different handling that would not be too bad in my opinion.

 > BTW, how is the vertical space handling and the rest of latex2e coming
 > along, now that Y2K has come and gone.

well contratry to common believe Y2K may has come but it is far from gone. in
fact in the area I earn my living the problems are now starting to surface
(quite interesting that)

but yes it is now proceeding more on normal pace again and I'm about to
publish what I promised. In fact the two modules now run to about 70 pages
documentation (including code) so I have done something inbetween

perhaps I should put out the first (the one containing the high-level
paragraphing interfaces) while finishing the documentation of the second
(low-level interfaces to build modules from). They need each other to actually
run (ie to be used) but the code itself is not the interesting part but the
interfaces (types/templates/instances) and the documentation of this is ready
or mostly anyway :-) ...

frank