[metafont] Re: [metapost]

Laurence Finston lfinsto1 at gwdg.de
Wed Jan 19 12:17:24 CET 2005

On Wed, 19 Jan 2005, Hans Hagen wrote:

> i know, but i'm talking from the perspective of a user community: in order to
> keep tex and friends around we need a substantial number users (most users are
> not aware of the enourmous efforts that take place to keep tex and friends
> running on all platforms, keep the textrees and archives up to date);

There is a range of views on this topic.  Some people are satisfied
with fewer packages, GUIs, IDEs, etc.  Making anything run on
"all platforms" is a programmer's nightmare.

> the font part of metafont consiste of the ability to make tfm files (which mp
> can also do) and for the rest it's macros (most of which can be used in mp as well)

Macros don't have quite the same importance in MF as in TeX.

> just like tex is a basic typesetting engine, mf/mp are basic graphic production
> engines, and for all of them it's the macros that do the magic;

Sorry, I must disagree with you here:  It's the primitives that
do the magic.  However, you may define "magic" differently from me.

> my remarks about mf being dead do not concern the language; it's always tricky
> to talk about languages here: tex as system and language, mf/mp as system and as
> language. The meta-language is ok, the meta-compiler/interpreters can evolve and
> be replaced.

I just used natural languages as an example.  Personally, I wouldn't be
so quick to discard the compilers.  I haven't used any code from MF or MP,
but that's not because I'm a better programmer than Knuth.  In fact,
I'm no match for him and I know it.

> metafont at ....... -> font development in metafont
> metapost at tug.org -> usage of metapost for whatever application

I think a lot of discussion involves language features common to MF and MP.
That's why I cross post.

> Being involved in user group activities, i also tend to think of marketing:

I respect your point of view, but mine is quite different.  What I'm
thinking about is Free Software and the Art of Computer Programming
(the idea, not the books).  I'd like to think that these points of
view (and others) can coexist.


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