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Re: \ell

>I don't understand the purpose of the \ell glyph from a
>mathematician's point of view. My conjecture: In ancient times
>mathematicians had to use typewriters where lowercase Latin l was
>indistinguishable from the numeral 1.

I agree with this conjecture, but I would also add that it's a
`blackboard' glyph.  In the same way that open letters started being
used to simulate bold on the blackboard, \ell was used to distinguish
`l' from `1'.

Unfortunately, since DEK included it in CM, it's become accepted as a
glyph in its own right (it's used as `label' in Milner's (1989,
Prentice Hall) Communication And Concurrency, for example).

It would be nice to junk the thing, or insist that it's really the
lower case script `l', but this means we're no longer upwardly
compatible.  So I'm afraid I'd have to go for solution 2.

A classic case of `I wouldn't start from here, mate.'
There's a similar problem with `v' and `w' in that some fonts (such as
MathTime) provide a `curly v' that can be distinguished from `\nu',
and a `curly w' to match the `curly v'.  Should these be given
separate slots?  (I'd say no, on the grounds that the math italic
glyph shapes are often different from the text italic shapes, c.f.
cmmi `a' and cmti `a'.)