[tex-live] Ftuture state of XeTeX in TeXLive

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Fri Oct 28 14:33:28 CEST 2011

On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 8:58 AM, Mojca Miklavec
<mojca.miklavec.lists at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 13:19, Vafa Khalighi wrote:
>> Hi
>> Since Jonathan has no time any more for coding XeTeX, then what will be the
>> state of XeTeX in TeX distributions such as TeXLive? will be XeTeX removed
>> from TeXLive just like Aleph and Omega (in favour of LuaTeX) were removed
>> from TeXLive?
> Omega was remove because it was buggy, unmaintained, but most
> important of all: hardly usable. It took a genius to figure out how to
> use it, while XeTeX is exactly the contrary. It simplifies everything
> in comparison to pdfTeX. Omega was low quality and Aleph was
> deprecated also because LuaTeX now contains all functionality that was
> worth keeping.
> There is no reason to remove XeTeX yet (unless it gets merged with
> LuaTeX one day, but that won't happen yet), but it is true that a
> maintainer is desperately needed. If nothing else, if nobody adapts
> the code, it might stop working with next version of Mac OS X or a
> version after that.

If I have an old house that meets my needs but has substandard
plumbing and wiring, I may be in desperate need of a contractor
who can bring it up to current standards, or I can tear it down and
build a new house.  Both options are expensive, but renovation
involves greater uncertainties requires more skills than does new
construction, so unless there are other considerations (house is a
historical landmark), new construction is often better than renovation.

Clearly XeTeX fills a need, but that doesn't mean it deserves ongoing
development.   The groups that rely on XeTeX have to either find a way
to support development or switch to a new engine, which at present is
LuaTeX.   There has already been discussion of what would be needed
to make the changes in XeTeX, maybe there needs to be discussion
(in LuaTeX forums) of the barriers to adoption faced by the groups who
currently rely on XeTeX.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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