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Again about root

From: Giovanni Zezza
Subject: Again about root
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 15:21:57 +0100

I realize this isn't a frequently used symbol, neither one intended for a
very general task (like "over" or so); you have to have it, though, and you
have to have it right, so I hope this reports of mine may be useful to
improve the Eq package.

I've done my tests using Aladdin Ghostview (and Ghostscript) for Windows
(respectively 2.70 and 5.50 version); some of the inaccuracies I report may
then arise from some inconsistencies between metric's font files coming
with Lout and fonts actually used by Ghostscript. I think this unlikely,

Eq seems to work at least questionably with index that have descendants:

    @Eq {j root a}

again, the index symbol is too near to the root[1].

This may seem a little pedantic:

    @Eq { something root a }

you may think this will never occur; anyway, it's better to have a
reasonable way to handle it. TeX does a better job by *right* justifying
the index to the left of the root symbol.

I tried to achieve this in Lout, but wasn't able to do other than this

    def myroot
        precedence 56
        left x
        right y
         1w @HShift {""  sup x }  &0co {0.4f @HShift sqrt y} 

It works, in a way, but I hope there is a better way to do the job.

This IS definitely pedantic: the intersection between the straight line of
the root and the "radical" character isn't correctly drawn; this is a well
known PostScript behavior, that requires some caution to be solved
(possibly a redrawing of "radical").


[1] Trying to fix this problems I couldn't help to ask me some questions:
why can't I use any arithmetics in lengths? (something like
{x &{1r - 1f}o y} could possibly solve anything) Why aren't here variables
(where to store objects lengths and so on), logical operators and all the
other stuffs usually present in every language (even a functional one (like
Lisp), even a logical one (like Progol) and other far more esoteric

No doubt, it has to be a "Lout's way" to do all is needed, and all these
questions arise from my inexperience, but up to now I'm not able to
understand. Lout is no doubt a very better designed language than TeX or
LaTeX (a not so difficult goal), but for now I feel me like I can only
choice to get the right thing the wrong way (LaTeX) or the wrong thing the
right way (Lout). A not very comfortable feeling; so correct me, please.

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