[metapost] MetaPost - terminally ill or just playing dead? Also New Version

Michail Vidiassov master at iaas.msu.ru
Wed Mar 22 20:11:03 CET 2006

Dear Taco,

you wrote in BachoTex 2006 program:

>                       ... it seems that just 
> about every MetaPost user runs into some kind of limitation that makes 
> the use of MetaPost far from ideal for the proposed task.
> The diagnosis we have to make is whether these symptoms indicate a fatal 
> disease in the program, or if they are only idiosyncracies and scratches 
> that can be cured with some therapy and a few band-aids.

And in EuroTex abstracts

> The latest release of metapost includes some new features as well as a 
> number of bugfixes. The new functionality includes: the possibility to 
> use a template for the naming of output files; the option to generate 
> Encapsulated PostScript files adhering to Adobe's Document Structuring 
> Conventions; the ability to embed reencoded and/or subsetted fonts; and 
> support for the GNU implementation of troff (groff).

For me that changes look like "Paint and Dump" approach.
Is metapost being prepared for fossilization?
The improvements you mention are late 5-7 years at least,
they are likely to attract as much attention in the TeX world as 
improvements in Motif are now attracting in the world of GUI.
Just my very HO.

Plus a plead to you to share some of your thoughts on this list or 
somewhere online.

And a call to the list participants to provide some feedback.
For example - where are people migrating from metapost?

As to details:

  On Mon, 13 Mar 2006, Taco Hoekwater wrote:

>>> ... your stuff will be integrated for
>>> the next version, and the current troff stuff removed.
> There will be a new release before  eurotex 2006, with
> your stuff included.

OK, please, drop me a note when it comes to real coding/configuring.
Since groff PS fonts set is under some change now, I may have
a slighly different set of texmf files and another tfm generation script.

Another point worth mentioning is that dvips code not only reencodes
and/or slants fonts, but also (AFAIK) changes their metrics to the ones
from tfm files. Since groff takes all information about font metrics
from afm and it is written in tfms for groff - changing font metrics
back to their original values does not make sence (and is subject to 
rounding errors). Thus it would be nice to have that part of dvips font
handling switchable on/off.

              Sincerely, Michail

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