[tex-live] Ftuture state of XeTeX in TeXLive

Khaled Hosny khaledhosny at eglug.org
Sun Oct 30 11:42:46 CET 2011

On Sun, Oct 30, 2011 at 04:25:21PM +1100, Vafa Khalighi wrote:
> XeTeX font support is heaps better and  stable than what luaotfload package 
> offers and I guess that is why many users still like using xetex instead
> luatex. I personally believe that it is a bad practice that luaotfload just
> copies ConTeXt code, it should not be deeply dependent on ConTeXt because Hans
> may want to try experimenting with some features today and next day he gets rid
> of them just like the recent updates of luaotfload that Khaled talked about it.
> I think, this is awful! What should users who used those features (and need it
> heavily in their daily typesetting tasks, do?). They wake up one day and
> suddenly see that yes, luaotfload does not provide the features they need.
> luaotfload needs to be written from scratch independent of any ConTeXt code.

The situation is not as bad as you make it seems, what have gone is two
minor features that IMO was a mistake to provide them in the first
place, but since we are talking about a yet to be released version of
luaotfload, there might be an alternate solution at the time of release.

Writing an OpenType layout engine is not a simple task, and you can
judge from the many years it toke FOSS community to have a really good
one, HarfBuzz (the name luaotfload is misleading, font loading is about
the easiest part of luaotfload, OpenType implementation is really what
matters.) If it were for me, I'd plug HarfBuzz into luatex proper and
call it a day, but this does not align well with the "design" principles
of luatex so it is unlikely to happen.

The main goal of luaotfload, besides having an OpenType engine for
lualatex, is too make sure we don't end up with two different OpenType
implementations for luatex, each broken in its own way. OpenType is such
a horribly documented "standard" that is there is no single
implementation of it that does not have its own share of bugs (it is
often not easy to tell if a bug is a bug or since the documentation are
so fuzzy in certain areas).


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