[NTG-context] Aleph - description & more info

Mojca Miklavec mojca.miklavec.lists at gmail.com
Sun Jan 1 19:05:45 CET 2006

Idris Samawi Hamid wrote:
> On Sat, 31 Dec 2005 10:08:33 -0700, Mojca Miklavec wrote:
> > Many people know something about Aleph, but I guess that not so many
> > are using it. I've seen some
> Your message died off, but feel free to ask me any questions u have about
> Aleph, which I use quite extensively, and without which I would be lost-)

(Scary! I thought I saved the message under drafts - I have no idea
how I managed to send it without even noticing that.)

Thanks for your kind reply. I mainly wanted to ask if someone could
have written something about Aleph to the wiki.

There is hardly any info about it on internet except the Hans's
manual. There's a mailing list, which is hardly active and there are a
couple of one-sentence descriptions spread over different tex-related
sites. So the wiki might be a good place for "Aleph homepage".

I was wondering about the current state of development (which you
mostly described in this mail) - ie. that there is some effort to
include the functionality in pdfTeX, that it's stable and currently
not developed that fast.

It would be nice to mention how to manipulate fonts with many glyphs
and how to use them. For example, there's a font Arial Unicode on
every PC with Office with over 50.000 glyphs. Since we (PC users) are
not able to use XeTeX, it would be fine to have an example of how to
use this font under windows and perhaps an example of how to typeset
arabic, hebrew or some other (right-to-left) language. How can
symbolic fonts be used there?

Patrick has enough to do, I'm sure, but perhaps there could be some
collaboration with Hraban (and you?) to enable also some more fancy
fonts and languages to be used on the garden. I think that Patrick
already put some effort into enabling Chinese to work (I'm not sure
about it). Currently there are also many .tfm for common fonts
If Aleph could work there as well and if some additional fonts would
be installed, this would be fantastic.

Thanks again,

> Giuseppe is the main developer and we owe him a great debt of gratitude
> for stabilizing it to the point where it can be used for reliable
> bidirectional production purposes using large fonts. Personally, I really
> cannot thank him enough-)
> Hans & Co. are pursuing getting all of Aleph's useful features into
> pdftex, so maybe the the two projects will merge after Giuseppe gets some
> time.

this would be more than wonderful!

> Useful aleph features + opentype support in pdfTeX will open a new vista
> where the encoding file mess can be thrown away and even virtual fonts
> will no longer be needed.
> One challenge will be replacing the otp filter mechanism with something
> more user-friendly. I am a bit worried that this will be more difficult
> than expected, but we'll see.
> Best
> Idris

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