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Re: How should one handle condensed etc., variants?

I was intrigued to read Rowland's comments on the limitations of the
NFSS font selection scheme, especially his remarks on how font weight
and width are lumped together in the ``series'' specification of a font.
His thoughts coinside remarkably with similar recent findings of my own.

The issues with weight and width are actually fairly well covered in
_The LaTeX Companion_ (page 190) where it explains how the two parts
are to be combined (weight is concatenated width, dropping any `m's,
unless weight and width are both m, in which a single `m' is used).

But, neither _The LaTeX Companion_, nor any of the documentation I've
found, seems to mention what to do if one has a font which fits more
than one of the available (standard) font shapes (e.g., Italic Small
Caps, for which I currently use {itsc} in my FD files). Combining two
shape attributes into one raises similar issues to those Rowland was
talking about with weights and widths -- it is a less than ideal solution.
If I want to typeset an acronym (using \textsc) in the middle of of an
emphasized piece of text, it shouldn't set the it in roman.

Of course, things get even stranger when it comes to things like old-style
digits, where for some reason the variation in shape gets put into the
name of the font, which seems really wrong to me. (BTW, while I'm on
old style digits, does anyone know if fontinst has the smarts to take
the dollar, cent, percent, sterling, and any other symbols that need to
be different for a text using oldstyle digits, from the `Small Caps and
OldStyle Digits font' if such a font is available? [Or, at the very
least does it take the dollar and cent signs out of an available expert

I guess there are reasons why the NFSS works as it does -- although I may
be puzzled by its design sometimes, it remains a big step up from what
LaTeX had before.

Thoughts welcome,