[tex-live] Conflits in gsfonts packge and tex-live distro

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Fri May 22 23:21:30 CEST 2009

On 5/20/09, Reinhard Kotucha <reinhard.kotucha at web.de> wrote:
> On 20 May 2009 George N. White III wrote:
>   > Is it acceptable for TeX Live to make decisions that may create
>   > extra problems for people who can't use the orginal URW fonts?
> Which decision had been made by TeX Live?
>  Which (non-existent) "decision" created extra problems?
>  Please explain.
>  Your message is worthless if it only contains such platitudes.
>  It's quite bizarre that the TeX Live team is made responsible for all
>  this mess.  George, you obviously are on the wrong mailing list.

Sorry to take so long to respond -- time has been a scarce resource
this week.

Most other packages just rely on the "system" fonts, so the issue
doesn't arise until a) TeX is installed, and b) there is some crossover
with sytem fonts.  This could be a user creating an EPS figure without
embedding fonts they assume with be provided by the "printer", or
a user adding TeX font dirs to their fontpath in order to get maths
glyphs in other applications.

>  George, if you think that there is something wrong in TeX Live, please
>  provide a qualified bug report instead of bothering us with arbitrary
>  assumptions.  The TeX Live team doesn't make any decisions and is
>  definitely not responsible for other people's mistakes.

It is a question of whether TeX "plays well with others".  In many respects,
CTAN TL keeps to itself by putting everything under one top-level directory.
It is a fact of life, however, that some fonts exists in multiple
versions with the same ID and internal FontName, if not the same
filename.  If that isn't bad
enough, applications use names like Helvetica for URW NimbusSanL.
XeTeX would not be a useful if it was limited to fonts installed with
TeX Live.

When TL installs fonts that clash with widely used fonts it is TL that has
to change:

  1) people who never use TL, e.g,, the vast majority, are not affected, and

  2) some TL users want only TL's fonts, while others expect TL
     to have the same fonts in TL and the system.

No TL file can be mistaken for a system file because the latter are found
outside the TL tree.   Fonts are harder because they move back and forth
in documents, and it is impossible to prevent someone from generating
new font clashes by installing a corrupt version of a font provided in TL.

In the long run, I hope we will have better system fonts and that TL will
not need to provide fonts.  The DejaVu example shows that collaboratrive
development of derivative fonts is possible (and that the result has to
get a new name).  I think there are similar efforts for fonts similar to
various URW fonts.

It the moment, however, the URW fonts are a special case and it is TL
needs to sacrifice one principle (people who change fonts should give
them different names) for another (TL plays well with others).

I'm not sure what TeX support exists for the modified URW fonts -- what
I _have_ seen is users finding cyrillic glyphs in some WSIWYG package
or character map tool and asumming the same fonts and glyphs will be
available in TeX documents.

I think the most useful approach would be for TL to change the names in
the versions of the URW fonts using either a prefix like "legacy" or "classic"
or "original" or "real" or a suffix to indicate the set of provided glyphs.
I would prefer to see names that indicate the glyph set since adding new
glyphs is a common reason (thanks to the "euro") a font is changed, and
might encourage consistency in the sets of provided glyphs.

>  Regards,
>   Reinhard
>  --
>  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  Reinhard Kotucha                                      Phone: +49-511-3373112
>  Marschnerstr. 25
>  D-30167 Hannover                              mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
>  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.
>  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

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