[tex-live] Technical showstopper

Vladimir Volovich vvv at vsu.ru
Tue Sep 16 00:05:31 CEST 2003

"HH" == Hans Hagen writes:

 >> TeX and the UNIX locale

 HH> right, and -as maintainer of a quite big macro package and
 HH> supporter of a user base- i didn't like the outcome of that
 HH> discussion -)

 HH> (i rally wonder why tex cannot be 8-bit like all those other byte
 HH> based programs; the problem is in operating systems doing locale
 HH> things with file writes not so much in tex)

being able to write 8-bit chars into files and being dependent on
locale in that are different things. if TeX's behavior will depend on
locale (which may be different even on the same machine), then it will
not be portable: the data written to files will be different
(depending on locale, it may end up either as 8-bit char or as ^^),
and it is very possible that this may lead to different typesetting

as we've read from the TeXbook, it is acceptable to be able to
influence on printability of characters; by setting that dependable on
locale may make it quite "unpredictable" (i.e. TeX's behavior will be
different without changing TeX-specific configuration files or command
line options).

also, making printability dependent on locale is WRONG because it
assumes that you process documents in the input encoding which is the
same as your UNIX console encoding. such assumptions are very untrue
if you process a greek document in french locale or similar things.
The encoding of the TeX document should be specified in the document
itself (like in XML) - e.g. as an option to the inputenc package.


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