Re: Documentation (was Re: [OS X TeX] Kanbun (漢文) and French...)

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at
Sun Jan 4 00:00:59 EST 2009

On Jan 3, 2009, at 8:54 PM, Jean-Christophe Helary wrote:

> If it uses the default Computer Modern (for whatever reason)

The reason, I think, is historical. Computer Modern was developed by  
Knuth and, to quote Companion 2ed, "until the early 1990s,  
essentially only those fonts were usable with TeX". As far as I know,  
it is what I am still using. (But then I don't really care about  
fonts.) Page 346 of Companion 2 ed, though, has a subsection entitled  
"Changing the default text fonts".

>  it _is_ making a design choice.

I beg to disagree. It is just a default value. By your logic, a TeX  
installation ought to come without any preset font. I sure would have  
hated that when I first started with LaTeX. There was enough that I  
didn't understand without having to deal with fonts.

> It seems to me that making things uselessly obfuscated to be able  
> to type a few French accents (or other latin characters, since  
> Latin seems to be the default in Computer Modern) is also a design  
> choice.

This is the first time I hear about anyone having difficulties with  
accents in French or Italian or Spanish. For that matter, I tried to  
read Companion 2 ed on the subject but didn't go anywhere. The  
setting of the default language would appear to be somewhere deep  
down. But what I don't understand is that LaTeX is used in France  
fairly widely and I can't believe that everyone there went through  
the same hassle.

Whatever is wrong though, and if I understand your frustration, may I  
say that letting it show doesn't exactly entice people to try to help  

> Since I renamed this subthread "Documentation", I'd like to mention  
> that when one checks the XeteX top page there is no link to any  
> documentation set. The only reference there is is a one liner  
> bellow the screenshots, like at the bottom of the second screen of  
> data (for a reasonably sized browser window).


> The download page, similarly, puts the download links on the second  
> screen, while the first screen indicates an obsolete "latest version".


> I eventually bumped into the documentation by googling "xetex  
> documentation", because the current page layout does not make it  
> obvious at all where one can find it. But more that that, the  
> simple preamble that made it work was found in the XeteX article on  
> Wikipedia...
> Talk about "design choices" !!!


>>> I have just created (copy-pasted from the XeteX CJK sample) a new  
>>> command:
>>> \newcommand{\cjk}[1]{{\fontspec[Scale=0.9]{Hiragino Mincho Pro}#1}}
>>> for Japanese strings that appear within French sentences.
>>> But how can I be sure that the font I set for CJK is of the same  
>>> style as Times (the one I choose as the main font) for ex ?
>> It's not clear to me what it would mean for a Japanese font to be  
>> "of the same style as" a Latin one.
> Well, it is not clear to me either. But obviously, latin character  
> in Times and Japanese characters in Osaka would not look like they  
> belong together, unless it is a "design choice".

I don't get it.


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