[tex-live] Technical showstoppers for TL2003

Staszek Wawrykiewicz staw at gust.org.pl
Mon Sep 15 21:37:30 CEST 2003

On Mon, 15 Sep 2003, Thomas Esser wrote:

> > I am not getting a feeling of consensus on this issue. If Vladimir, Petr
> > and Fabrice cannot agree on a solution, what is to be done?
> > 
> > can someone tell me where MikTeX and teTeX stand on this?

MiKTeX also adopted using tcx files, so is compatible with web2c
in that matter.
> teTeX since version 2.0 (released early in Feb. 2003) has the changed
> behaviour:
>   \newwrite\x
>   \immediate\openout\x = xfoo.out
>   \immediate\write\x{helloäöüß}
>   \immediate\closeout\x
>   \bye
> This puts
>   hello^^e4^^f6^^fc^^df
> into xfoo.out, independent from the locale. Nobody has complained about
> it so far...

And if somebody puts in the first line (or give it in the command line):
%& --translate-file=il1-t1

xfoo.out will have: helloäöüß

I'm quite sure that we have consent that (at least) relying on
locale was bad idea.

Daniel Flipo wrote on 13 Sep:
> The problem occurs in LaTeX --- not in .toc files as Fabrice
> wrongly said --- but when 8bit chars are written to a file 
> (é is written as ^^e9) and input back verbatim.
> This is ---for instance ---- what the 'example' 
> environment from the lshort files does. I append a short 
> test file.  With TL2003, you get  ^^e9 printed instead of 'é',
> with TL7 you got 'é' printed as expected.

Again, this is one of the best examples for using il1-t1.tcx
instead of inputenc hacks. Your test8bit.exa will contain
  L'été est fini.
and can be immadiatelly read.
Of course, you can use cp8bit.tcx and inputenc package, if you prefer, 
but what about your index files? Hope that they are also okay for

I do not have time for writing more at the moment, just to recapitulate:
1. the problem of reencoding returns like boomerang every time just
   before the release of TL. Why not more early? :-(
2. tcx can work with any format (plain, context, texinfo, etc. for every
   engine), as well as with MetaFont and MetaPost
3. tcx doesn't break DEK's ideas found in The TeXBook
4. tcx idea *is* documented in the web2c manual (though not perfectly)
5. everybody knows that the main disadvantage of using tcx is that
   one cannot change input and/or font encoding in the same file,
   so only latex (and perhaps context ?) have some tricky support
   for that. For all programs we doesn't have yet better solution
   without changing TeX itself
6. Petr's enctex should be reconsidered carefully by more people;
   I strongly suggest doing that in more friendly manner, but not 
   at this hot moment, please!

I agree that including cp8bit.tcx by default is OK to make people 
more happy, provided that such change doesn't break 
possibility of using other files from the command line,
or (preferably) in the first line %& construct.

All the best,

Staszek Wawrykiewicz
StaW at gust.org.pl

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