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Re: the next version of Lout

From: Paul Zarucki
Subject: Re: the next version of Lout
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2012 15:25:36 +0000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv: Gecko/20110505 Icedove/3.0.11


I would just like to say that I definitely think Lout has a future. I use it in a web based document production system where the documents are stored in a database in HTML format, edited in a web browser using a (somewhat) WYSIWYG HTML editor, and then typeset for printing or PDF using Lout (with the help of a rudimentary HTML-to-Lout converter written in PHP). I intend to publish the code when I am happy with it.

I tried other typesetting solutions, such as wkhtmltopdf, html2ps, or simply printing from the web browser, but these didn't work as well as Lout for producing professional-looking paginated output. The fact that Lout is a single, relatively small, executable also helps when using it as a component in a larger application, which is partly why I preferred it over Latex (and the fact that Latex seemed more intimidating).


On 16/01/12 03:54, Jeff Kingston wrote:
It's time to start thinking about updating Lout from 3.39 to 3.40.

Several Lout users have made major contributions over the years,
but they have always had to send them to me, and I have always
reviewed them carefully and, as it were, made them my own before
incorporating them.  I would like to make this the first truly
collaborative update of Lout, starting from the 3.39 version
held on the Savannah web site and doing the updates through that
site.  This would change Lout into a thing that was maintained
directly by interested people generally, rather than by me.

What do people think about this?

I'm a newbie at Savannah and such things.  I imagine there are
several aspects to the change to collaborative style, for example
reporting bugs through a bug tracking system rather than via the
mailing list, and building a new pipeline from the current version
to the Linux distributions.

Up until now, I have decided everything, and that has had its
advantages and disadvantages.  Some decisions are not easy to
make.  Presumably, interested expert people would make them
collaboratively using tools provided by Savannah.  I am not sure
whether anyone is interested in contributing to Lout in this way
at this advanced stage of its life.  Learning the tools and
negotiating with other people takes time.

Below is the current list of things to do.  Dates refer to emails
I received, mostly Lout mailing list emails, in MM/DD/YYYY format.
I expect to do most of the jobs myself, as usual, but this time I
expect to structure the changes as separate updates to the Savannah
version.  Some could be done by others, and a few are patches that
could be applied directly on Savannah by their authors.


Copyright headers

The Savannah people are picky about correct copyright headers, for
which I don't blame them.  See 09/21/2010 and 10/02/2010.

I need to go through the directories and put a correctly formatted
copyright line on every file I created myself.

Another major area is the font metrics files.  If anyone would like
to find and contribute demonstrably public domain versions of the
font metrics files, that would be great.  The files currently
distributed with Lout are old, with out of date copyright information
at the top of them.  According to one knowledgeable email on the Lout
list (10/05/2010), there are many slightly different versions around.

A third area, one which is a total train wreck, is the hyphenation
files.  These are basically TeX hyphenation files with some trivial
extra stuff, mostly written by me, stuck on the front.  They came
from everywhere in a totally chaotic manner.  I really don't know
where to start with these files.  They do have comments that preserve
whatever information about their provenance I received, but even so
I think they belong in the too hard basket, unless the TeX people
have been putting effort into standardizing them, in which case we
could use their work.

Everything else needing work that has accumulated since 3.39

11/20/2010 Mark Summerfield sent me an updated prg2lout.c.
12/02/2010 Request for @Foreword; it comes before @Preface.
12/08/2010 @CrossLink problem?
12/13/2010 Problem parsing Perl
01/12/2011 Patch to allow References section to start on a new page
01/11/2011 Patches for including and scaling image files (too major?)
02/10/2011 Suggestions re vertical gaps around figures etc. (too hard?)
07/08/2011 Increase z06.c MAX_STACK to 250
07/11/2011 Reverse paragraph order in whatsnew file
10/21/2011 Bug report from self
12/07/2011 Documentation bug (already fixed?)
12/08/2011 @Place defined in wrong package, needs moving to bsf
12/24/2011 Patch for coloured edges in Diag
12/24/2011 Patch related to ligatures (why needed?)
01/09/2012 Suggestion for a @PageMark on every page (why needed?)



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