[Dev-luatex] Modifying the LuaTeX Engine

David Kastrup dak at gnu.org
Mon Dec 29 19:10:53 CET 2008

Jonathan Fine <jfine at pytex.org> writes:

> Hans Hagen wrote:
>> well, you made a remark and david's responded, so the discussion is
>> now two mails long
>> anyhow, if it's so off topic (and david's mail was quite
>> on-the-topic that you started), then why did you made your remark in
>> the first place; 
> To answer your question, briefly.
> In my view, my remark (on proliferation of pseudo-TeXs) was relevant

How so?  We are on the LuaTeX developer list.  It is quite useless to
argue about the prudence of its existence either way.

> and David's remark (on worship of Donald Knuth) was not.

You quoted Knuth as a reverence on changing/extending TeX.  And we just
have heard on this list

    > I'm just curious: Did Yazdipur try to communicate with the Omega
    > developers and offer patches etc?

    I do not think so, It seems that he has got no interest in the
    Unicode world and he is a big fan of Knuth's TeX engine only and
    does not want to write codes for PDFTeX, XeTeX and LuaTeX.

So yes, I do think that it is quite on-topic for the problem at hand to
point out that it is taking veneration too far when one tries using only
an 8-bit-font capable TeX with only built-in L-R typesetting
capabilities in this manner.

If there is one thing Knuth's example should teach people is that for
best results, you use the best-suited system and if there is none that
can in a reasonable way do the job, you build the best-suited system

And that's what LuaTeX is growing into.  Now the style in which this
happens is different from Knuth's: he designed and later coded the whole
thing in its WEB incarnation (strictly speaking, the second generation)
on paper, and basically hacked it into the computer in one piece during
a month of work.

In contrast, LuaTeX development is filling in some of the blanks while
development is going on: there has not been a "we want to typeset this
particular document, and now plan everything necessary for this document
before starting to code" phase.  And for a much more general-purpose
system, I find this approach reasonable, even though it may cost a few
dead ends.

> Having answered your question, I'm happy for this discussion to end.

Same here.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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