[texhax] mktexpk fights wasy2, ibycus4-greek, cmcsc...

Uwe Lück uwe.lueck at web.de
Sun Sep 25 13:13:49 CEST 2005

Hi (K)a(r)l(l)!

This is an _announcement_ of a bug report concerning
MetaFont/mktexpk. For a proper bug report I would have
to collect _which_ version of mktexpk produces _which_
errors with _which_ font -- according to what I have observed
so far -- and I would have to find out who is the proper
addressee (it seems that it is kpathsea/Karl Berry).
I post this here in order to learn about similar experiences
or maybe about my own mistakes (or to avoid the proper
bug report).

E.g., mktexpk.exe -- as coming with MiKTeX -- fails in
producing .pk's from .mf's in the cases of wasy2 (extension
of lasy, including astronomical symbols), fibr84 (ibycus-greek),
and even cmcsc17 (sometimes only wrt. certain sizes).
It likes to claim a syntax error in Silvio Levy's grbase.mf
(necessary both for ibycus and Silvio Levy's original font),
and immediately afterwards: "This can't happen".
In some forum contribution, a Mac user reports a problem
in the same situation (google for `ibycus4.pdf').

The UNIX version of mktexpk produces a hundred or so
arithmetical overflows with fibr84 (ibycus-greek), the final
outcome is _nothing_.

I'm quite sure that these experiences indicate a recent
mktexpk (MetaFont!?) bug since my Atari MetaFont from
1992 doesn't have any problems with generating the
wasy2 .pk's, and it is stopped in generating the ibycus4
fonts by its pool size limit only (ibycus4 is essentially
rather T1 than OT1 and comprises a large bunch of ligatures).
-- `Recent': (a) The recent version of mktexpk seems to
date from 1998. The problem may have been unnoticed
since users of ibycus4 (e.g.) have generated their .pk's
earlier and had no need to update them afterwards, etc...
(b) If I remember correctly, I realized the problems only
after some bold MiKTeX updates. The most recent relevant
MiKTeX package seems to be miktex-metafont-base
(or so -- sorry, I'm writing this at home, the MiKTeX
installation is at my boss' office).

I finally found out how to circumvent the problem using
PDF-TeX. Yet I think that mktexpk/MetaFont _should_
be able to generate these .pk's (from a moral point of

An additional final question: For generating .pk's using
my Atari MetaFont from 1992, I need the mode_def for ljfour.
I guessed from nearby examples that o_correction = .95
is appropriate -- but what is the _official_ mode_def ljfour?
(And how could I have found this essential fact on the web
or in documentations, or why couldn't I?)


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