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Re: math fonts

On Thu, 10 Apr 1997, Johannes Kuester wrote:

  [some valuable comments deleted]

> Some comments on MC: the ordering of the Greek glyphs seems to be somewhat
> arbitrary, they should either be ordered in the order of the Greek
> alphabet or according to the input conventions of e.g. Haralambous's
> Greek fonts (I think the first is preferable, but the current alpha,beta,
> delta,... gives a new ordering never to be seen so far). I also think that
> upright and slanted/italic glyphs should reside at a multiple-of-8 distance
> in the font; e.g. upright Alpha at "81, slanted Alpha at "B9, to make
> then more easily findable and comparable. There are some glyphs for

I'll try to correct the ordering, for the distance-8-question I'm not so
sure which constraint is more important: keeping groups together or
having a nicely laid out font table ? The upright greek is just a
one-minute hack of mine and I don't really know how upright greek for use
in mathematics should look like. And I have no idea about the appearance
of the letters varbeta, Qoppa, Sampi. Are there any metafont versions
of these glyphs out there ?

> which I don't see any reason for being in the core, namely "5F, "61,
> "F8 and "F9 (barred V, upright and slanted, thorn (variant) and Thorn),
> as they are very rarely used in mathematics (if at all?). Justin didn't
> give any example of their usage. Also, to include the upright "d" seems
> arbitrary, as other upright glyphs aren't taken into account.

Yes, I wondered about that myself. Perhaps people who were actively
involved in the math-font-discuss list at the time the paper was written
can comment on the reason for these glyphs to be in the math core ?

>   Freeing some slots could be advantageous, but for some delimiters the
> reason to reside here is kerning, so this should be considered before
> taking them elsewhere.
>   Oh, and the digits should be upright, I think, as slanted/italic digits
> should not appear in mathematics.


> >  - moving *all* charlist-accessed glyphs (even the wide accents) out of
> >    MC, MSP, MS1 and MS2 .
> Consider kerning, taken them out of the fonts could well be quite
> disadvantageous.
>   I didn't like Justin's proposal at first, because doesn't seem to me
> that it cleanses up the current mess of math fonts, but puts together
> some new fonts which show the same mess only on a larger scale, but
> I didn't think of kerning then: this is still the major restriction
> here to make deliberate decision and putting different groups in different
> fonts (this restriction won't be overcome in TeX, though). So here
> Justin made some very valuable points: to get proper kerning at least
> with the most important symbols, one has to keep things in the same font
> here. And the basic sizes of the delimiters occur more often than their
> extended counterparts, so I think they should kern properly e.g. with
> italic letters.

This point can certainly be made for keeping basic size delimiters
in MC, but is it valid for wide accents ? If I read appendix G, rule 12
correctly, the only kerning that affects the positioning of accents
is the kerning between the nucleus and the skewchar of its font (and even
this only for single-glyph-nuclei). So there should be no need to keep
the wide accents in the same font as their most frequent nuclei.

> And there should be upright versions of all the integral sings (as the
> integral falls under the "upright type rule" discussed here before; to
> be consistent in using this rule, these glyphs are needed.

You might be right about the need for a third MX encoding then...
but I'll try to find a place for them.

> I have metafonted a few glyphs which I could contribute
> (in rather poor METAFONT, as these were among my first glyphs,
> but I think they look the right way, even when their programs need
> to be polished). Namely:

I would really appreciate such contributions.

[ list of glyphs deleted]

> upright lowercase Greek glyphs
>     (these are merely a matter of taste, I made them by "unslanting"
>      the usual ones and changing the code when it seemed appropriate
>      to get a goodlooking glyph. May be Greek has to be redesigned
>      completely anyway, as I don't see a reason for having uppercase
>      Greek letters which are undistinguishable for their Latin counterparts)

I did the same; my change can be cooked down to just inserting slant := 0;
at the right spot :-).

> And as for font naming conventions: please do use preliminary names
> for the fonts (how about "d" instead of "e" as a starting letter?).
> I don't see a good reason for the naming "emsp", I think this should
> just be the first math symbol font, named "emsa" ("dmsa" for now?),
> the other names shifted accordingly, thus it will be privileged enough.

I'll rename the fonts accordingly, the names I gave them were just the
first choices I came up with, and at that point of time I did not think
about showing them to other people...

Regards,  Matthias