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Re: Math font announcement in TTN 4,2

 > Yesterday, I received Vol. 4, No. 2 of TTN (TeX and TUG News), which
 > on pp. 17--18 included an announcement of the availability of Justin
 > Ziegler's final report on math font encodings.
 > While I personally happended to have come across this report a couple
 > of months ago on Denis Roegel's WWW server, I must say that I find it
 > very irritating that the availability of this report has never been
 > announced on this mailing list which IMHO should have been the very
 > first group to be informed about it.

I'm sorry if that hasn't happen, i thought it had. It has definitely
be announced on various platforms and lists. the fact that it took so
long to appear in ttn is not within the responsibility of the ltx3
project although it is certainly our fault if we haven't included the
announcement on that list. However, nearly everything in Justin's
report went of this list in triple if i remember correctly :-)

 > After reading this announcement, I would also like to ask for
 > clarification about the statement in the last paragraph which states:
 >     Based on Justin's analysis the LaTeX3 Project is now undertaking 
 >     to provide a prototype implement for math fonts ...  We expect 
 >     this implementation to be available for public usage during 1995--96.
 > Is this to be seen merely as a statement of intent or does this
 > indicate that there is actually some work going on right now, of 
 > which we as members of this working group are unaware and haven't 
 > been notified so far?

it was a statement of intend and unfortunately still is as i haven't
yet found the energy to actively look into organizing it although i
think it is overdue.

also i would like to clarify that statement insofar as the intention
would be to implement a public usable prototype implementation which
could then be used to decide on a final layout.

 > Please do not take this as criticizing the work of the LaTeX3 team 
 > or anyone else. 

thanks, will try to feel not criticized with my ltx3 head on :-)

 > To the contrary, I will be glad about any progress 
 > made in the area of math fonts, provided it meets the requirements.
 > Nevertheless, I want to express my concern about the way things have
 > been handled here.  In particular, let me emphassize that I consider
 > it very important that any ongoing or future work in this area will 
 > be open and transparent to members of this working group, especially
 > since there are still a number of important design decisions awaiting
 > to be tackled when preparing a prototype implementation.

I beg to be allowed to disagree. 

I think that the work done by Justin (with the help of a lot of people
on the math-font-discussion list) gives a good basis for actually
implementing a prototype. I don't think it would be helpful to redo
the analysis before having that prototype available. In other words, I
think that it was time and still is to implement exactly what we have
got so far. If the ltx3 project would be spending money on that it
would be that intermediate goal and not some long term future TWG

I think the fact that the work of the TWG seems to have come to an end
after the ltx3 project stopped putting resources into it confirms the
analysis that for getting results that would be the next step.

Speaking of "provided it meets the requirements" and "open and
transparent to members of this working group": 

  even if this report was unfortunately not announced to this list it
was available to the head of this working group with requests for
comments. I know that we all are busy but given the long time in which
nothing happened since the report got public also suggests that it is
good enough to be put on as a prototype implementation.

and excuse me, but i guess i have another comment concerning TWG's
openness and design decisions: 

there is, for example, a group on standardizing \special's which
exists I think longer than i'm part of the TeX community which goes
way back. Nothing really ever happened in terms of final decisions or
actual implementations although a lot went on over the years. 

Now at some point in the LaTeX design we came to the conclusion that
we can't wait for this standard to appear, so we put some resource
into developing a standard which abstracts from the \special's (which
is only a second best solution) but at least it works and we now have
some sort of graphic extension to TeX which is independent (or as
independent as possible) of the driver software. And no, we didn't
presented our thought to general discussion lists other than those
directly concerned with LaTeX otherwise we would still wait for a

A similar remark applies to the math font TWG. I would be happy if the
ltx3 project wouldn't need to put in any resources into that area as i
don't think it lies at the heart of what we are trying to achieve. But
since basically nothing happened since Cork to produce a standard for
math fonts that would complement the Cork standard, we finally decided
to put some resources in from our side.  Which in this case meant
having a student working on this project.  During that time the TWG
was active as well (perhaps triggered into action?) but that stopped
more or less with the end of Justin's assignment. So after having
another <void> for more than a year from the general TeX community I
made up my mind that we (that is the latex3 project) do need at least
the prototype.  But since our resources are very limited I'm not
prepared to put them into another design phase but I would put them
into implementing that prototype and then see if it is good enough or
if it needs improvements. In other words i guess we would be prepared
to put some money from the royalties of the LaTeX Companion into that
effort but it would need to be a project will clear deliverables which
are a usable prototype.

Which i guess will bring me back to "Please do not take this as
criticizing the work of the TWG team or anyone else".

consider it a remark on the general interaction in large groups.

 > Is there anyone of the LaTeX3 team who wants to comment on this 
 > or offer an explanation?

hope this helps a bit


ps. having said all this I just want to warn everybody that any flames
will go to /var/spool for some time as i have to leave tomorrow on a
project unrelated to TeX---ie to earn my living as free TeX work
unfortunately doesn't provide me for that