[rfc-i] LaTeX proposal misunderstood
yaakov_s at rad.com
Mon Apr 2 05:37:09 PDT 2012
1) I was careful to state that TeX enables handling "international characters".
I never said "Unicode".
This handling of extended characters is part of basic TeX,
and thus universally supported.
I agree that there is no 1-1 correspondence between the basic TeX method
and Unicode - in fact TeX can create many characters that do not exist
in Unicode, and the combination of TeX and Metafont can create any imaginable symbol.
2) I agree that only a small fraction of RFCs need equations.
Unfortunately, it is the fraction that I tend to work on.
3) Converters to pdf, html, and text already exist.
The missing link is the direct TeX to ebook formats.
I have accomplished something of this sort by TeX -> HTML and after a bit of hacking -> epub
but haven't tried creating mobi, azw, kf8, IEC-62448, LIT, etc.
and don't know of any existing tools.
From: "Martin J. Dürst" [mailto:duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp]
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2012 12:25
To: Yaakov Stein
Cc: rfc-interest at rfc-editor.org
Subject: Re: [rfc-i] LaTeX proposal misunderstood
Sorry to be late in replying. I haven't listened to your talk, but I
have read all the followup to this posting. I also want to make it clear
that I in no way dislike (La)TeX; I use it myself and have my students
I just want to make three comments:
1) Various versions of (La)TeX can handle various ranges of
"internationalized" characters, but it's one of the technologies that is
moving to Unicode at a rather slow pace. As far as I am aware of,
there's not yet a version of (La)TeX where I can input a wide range of
Unicode text and just get it formatted and printed well. We would also
have to include various fonts with the source to make sure the output is
reproducible. [If you know better, pointers would be appreciated.]
2) Mathematical formulae are definitely easier to hand-author in (La)TeX
than in MathML. But in a different thread, it was pointed out that using
complicated formulae is only necessary/important for a rather small
percentage of RFCs. Also, there are good (La)TeX -> MathML converters.
3) On a higher level, you write "there would be a suite of converters"
and "Perhaps someone would .. develop .. tools". Lot's of woulds. Well,
for XML2RFC, some people *did* develop tools. It's running code, which
is one of the tenets of the IETF. So if you'd develop some tools to
produce IDs and RFCs from (La)TeX, then I think nobody would oppose
that. Eventually, there might be enough users that it could be adopted
as the "canonical" format. But even XML2RFC, which is widely used and
has something like a 10-year history, isn't yet the "canonical" format,
so I'd expect that to take some time.
On 2012/03/28 15:38, Yaakov Stein wrote:
> Hi all,
> After hearing from several people after the BOF yesterday,
> I believe that perhaps I was not clear enough.
> What I suggested was to move from XML to LaTeX as input format,
> and to make the LaTeX source code the normative (and everlasting) version.
> There would be a suite of converters (most of which exist today and run on every conceivable platform)
> that convert on-the-fly LaTeX source into HTML, PDF, plain text, epub, etc. for viewing and/or printing.
> By moving from XML to LaTeX we automatically get beautiful equations,
> various graphics, international characters, metadata, etc.
> It is also MUCH easier and more intuitive to use than the present XML,
> produces much nicer documents,
> and there are dozens of (introductory to advanced) books describing its use.
> The only "special" thing we would need to maintain is an RFC style file
> (with the defaults, boiler plate, headers/footers, etc.).
> We would not need to continue coding tcl or xslt for our own proprietary typesetting formats
> as everything else is taken care of by the large and mostly Open Source TeX ecosystem.
> Since TeX is used by all major publication houses and academic journals,
> this ecosystem is not going away any time soon.
> Perhaps someone would be able to develop semi-automated tools to convert old text
> or xml documents to the new format.
> Although a nontrivial job, that is no harder than creating a text to xml or text to epub converter.
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