[Dev-luatex] HarfBuzz [slightly off-topic]

Patrick Gundlach patrick at gundla.ch
Wed Feb 2 08:11:54 CET 2011

Hi Graham,

very interesting link/thought. Thanks.

TeX has been the software for the best typesetting, at least for english texts and for some other languages and scripts. Now with XeTeX and LuaTeX we have the chance to extend the covered scripts to all used ones, so I guess.

So we need a text shaping engine, there is no doubt about that. The current situation is that every macro package has to reinvent the wheel and with LuaTeX, there will be many more applications beyond classic \TeX input, and these application also need to reinvent the wheel. So having a text shaping engine such as harfbuzz is only a question of time.

I'd like to see LuaTeX shipping with some default set of modules, for example an harfbuzz or an xml parser (I still can't believe that there is none built in)(, such as TeXlive ships with a bunch of LaTeX packages). Each one with a suitable interface for LuaTeX.

I don't expect this to happen anytime soon, for LuaTeX still needs a wider spread audience and there is currently a showstopper that prevents module loading in LuaTeX, but one day some experts will jump in and provide glue code/modules.

If LuaTeX does not open up, there will be a risk of forks. There is already a LuaTeX fork with an xml parser built in. I can understand the reluctance of the LuaTeX team to include unnecessary modules, and it would be helpful if there was a "contrib" directory with third party modules that will be built as a library (.so, .dll) which get installed in the TeXlive system. So one can say for example 'require "harfbuzz"' and have harfbuzz loaded on all platforms LuaTeX is running on.


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