[metafont] Re: [metapost]

Hans Hagen pragma at wxs.nl
Wed Jan 19 09:41:23 CET 2005

Christophe Grandsire wrote:
> En réponse à Larry Siebenmann :
>> Hans wrote (Tue Jan 18 05:56:10 2005):
>>  > imo, in a sense mf is kind of 'dead', i.e. replaced by metapost  > 
>> and/or font editing programs and.or a combination of those
>> The opposite seems just as plausible. Metapost and metafont will
>> either prosper together or perish together. A parting of these
>> siamese twins could be fatal to both.
> Exactly! Not only that, but there are some people out there trying to 
> keep METAFONT very much alive ;) (I don't usually name people but I can 
> point, at myself in this case ;) ). Check at 
> http://metafont.tutorial.free.fr (/ shameless plug ;) ), which is far 
> from finished, but has already brought people who knew nothing about 
> METAFONT to take an interest in it :) .

get me right, i have no problem with metafont, but let's look at its possible 

- font design: too complex for most font designers, also, bitmaps and not outlines
- general symbolic graphic design: bitmaps and therefore not that handy

but luckily, metapost offers:

- at least a way to create outlines (using jacko's toolkit)
- some very basic extension mechanisms so that we can do more advanced graphic 

The syntax/features of both metavariants are more or less the same (it would be 
nice of mp has something simular to this picture addition stuff)

If I look at our applications / users, i cannot find reasons for them to use 
metafont over metapost. Of course there are things missing in metapost (and 
those things are then also missing in metafont), but there are some efforts to 
extend metapost, so in the end mp may be a richer system than mf in terms of 
functionality; so, mp is kicking and alive -)

>> As for the idea that both will perish, let us recall that, already in
>> the early 90's, the demise of TeX was predicted not just by
>> commercials, but by certain directors of the AMS (bb excluded!).
>> Instead, the plush GUI environments competing with TeX have withered
>> with the OSs and interfaces for which they were built, like autumn
>> leaves before the winter winds.

sure, but it's not per definition all good what tex does; ok, 95% of the docs 
produced by tex is simple in terms of layout, design (if any), and demands, but 
the remaining 5% can give one a pretty hard headache (esp when one has to 
compete with professional dtp)

i think that for quite some time tex will stick around, if only because the 
problems related to typesetting will not change and if better solutions were 
known, they would already have been implemented 15 years ago;

> Hear hear! In 99 when I worked for Philips (yes, Philips! not even a 
> university) it was unthinkable to write your reports in anything else 
> but LaTeX (which is how I got in contact with the wonderful world of 
> TeX/LaTeX :) ). So much for a dead program ;) . And as long as TeX is 
> alive, METAFONT will live. The only thing it needs is a bit of 
> recognition ;) .

eh ... i never said that tex was dead, actually, i spent most of my time dealign 
with tex [and mp];

>> I hope metafont is just as welcome on the metapost list as metapost 
>> has been on the metafont list. Simply a *meta* list would be another 
>> solution.

i think that simply the 'font' part in a name will make users thing that it has 
to do with fonts, so better not mention that one -)


a big fan of metapost -)

                                           Hans Hagen | PRAGMA ADE
               Ridderstraat 27 | 8061 GH Hasselt | The Netherlands
      tel: 038 477 53 69 | fax: 038 477 53 74 | www.pragma-ade.com
                                              | www.pragma-pod.nl

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