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Re: Strange behavior of "root" in "over"'s context

From: Tamas Papp
Subject: Re: Strange behavior of "root" in "over"'s context
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2000 22:42:44 +0300 (MSK)

On Sat, Jan 01, 2000 at 02:51:35AM +0100, Giovanni Zezza wrote:

> This has nothing to do with *output*. PostScript would be simply (well, not
> so simply) the internal graphic language of Lout. From that you could get
> whatever you want (in a single passage too, if you want).
> You have to have some sort of a graphic language or tool; if I correctly
> understand this is something even Jeff Kingston agree about, in a way. I
> say, let's be it PostScript.
> You may not like chimeras, but you already have a sort of them. You may
> throw it away and write a pure Lout set of graphic functions, or regularize
> your position with a (to be hoped) happy marriage and go on with it. Take
> your choice.

There are many typesetting engines in existence, but I notice a
general tendency: they all get a little to baroque after a couple of
years. TeX is able to do everything you can imagine, one can even
write simple programs in it (`simple' meaning trivial stuff with
extremely obfuscated TeX `source code'). 

On the other hand, Lout starts out as a `cleaner' language, with clear
syntax and straightforward concepts. The core concepts of lout are
easy to understand, and all is well, until one discovers the
facilities for making diagrams and such. IMO, they are absolutely
unnecessary for lout, and these kind of things (diagrams, graphs,
etc.) should be created by other programs and imported as eps
files (or any other convenient format.)

IMO, Lout should be treating these objects as boxes (as it does, after
they are processed) and should not be used for creating them. The
temptation for including another `feature' is great, because Lout is
such a comfortable language and `doing everything in Lout' seems to be
the solution for all the problems, but it's not. Look what it has done
to TeX. I'm not saying that graphic functions are useless, on the
contrary. But they should be kept separate from Lout as a typesetting
engine (whose main purpose is arranging text and boxes on a page.)

So I agree Giovanni Zezza's point: decide whether Lout is gonna be an
all-purpose thing like TeX (a swiss army knife for anything one can do
with black marks on a sheet of paper), or a clean typesetting
engine. If you choose the former, I doubt that you can create
something better than Tex. If you choose the latter, you've already
created something far more useful. Plenty of programs exist to create
graphics, which create far better output than a graphic function
language could achieve.



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