[rfc-i] LaTeX proposal misunderstood

"Martin J. Dürst" duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp
Mon Apr 2 02:24:53 PDT 2012

Hello Yaakov,

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 
use it.

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.

Regards,   Martin.

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.
> Y(J)S
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