[rfc-i] Proposed way forwards on backward compatibility with v2

Ted Lemon mellon at fugue.com
Tue Feb 18 07:04:59 PST 2014

On Feb 18, 2014, at 9:16 AM, Riccardo Bernardini <framefritti at gmail.com> wrote:
> To me  "Occasional hand-hacking" meant "apply  corrections by hand in
> those cases when the formatting tools do not a good work." 

I don't want to belabor the point, but where does it end?   Widow and orphan support?   Font sizes?

The thing that stimulated this discussion was vspace, which some people seem to think is important, and some seem to want to get rid of.   My personal opinion about vspace is that it's a mistake, because its purpose is to work around brokenness in the rendering code.   The right thing to do is fix the brokenness.

E.g., if you have a figure that you are trying to align at the top of the page using vspace because it won't fit the way it lands naturally, this isn't going to work if the PDF and the text are rendered differently, as some people want, and as people certainly can do for their own purposes regardless of whether we support it.   That's why a canonical format is such a good thing.

So the right way to address that point is to be able to specify that a figure doesn't get broken, and let the layout engine figure out where to put it.   If you don't like the output, fix the layout engine, not the canonical input.   For figures that won't fit on a single page, you need to specify where it's okay to break them; again, with this information the layout engine should produce good output.   If it doesn't, it's broken.

The reason you need these tweaks in LaTeX is because you have no hope of fixing LaTex if it's broken in some way.   Write-only code.   We should avoid that.

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