[metapost] Does MetaPost catch on?

Stephan Hennig mailing_list at arcor.de
Thu Sep 2 22:53:34 CEST 2010

Am 02.09.2010 20:21, schrieb Reinhard Kotucha:
> On 2 September 2010 Stephan Hennig wrote:
>   >  Am 02.09.2010 16:25, schrieb Hans Hagen:
>   >  >  On 2-9-2010 3:25, Stephan Hennig wrote:
>   >  >>
>   >  >>  for OTF fonts, that probably wouldn't include mathematics. So again, a
>   >  >>  full TeX installation were needed. Too bad.
>   >  >
>   >  >  well, mp is not tex and meant for simple graphics; if you want the
>   >  >  fullpower of tex (and typesetting) you need to look at other tools
>   >
>   >  The problem is, MetaPost is for technical graphics, but those in turn
>   >  often call for mathematical typesetting.  Just think about graphs ...  A
>   >  troff + MetaPost bundle would fill the gap.  But this is all
>   >  theoretical, since, personally, I'm fine with TeX.  I just wonder if
>   >  such a bundle could bring more people to MetaPost.
> I'm wondering how many people can be convinced to learn troff.

I haven't find the time to learn troff, yet I think the learning curve 
is less steep than TeX's.  But to cite from documentation of troff's 
mathematics package:

   Mathematical expressions are described in a language
   designed to be easy to use by people who know neither
   mathematics nor typesetting.

<URL:http://www.kohala.com/start/troff/v7man/eqn/eqn2e.ps>  [1]

I have never read something like that about TeX.  Really, it occurred 
more than once to me, that I found LaTeX getting in the way when 
typesetting in MetaPost.

>   >  >  or follow the reverse approach: use mp inside tex which is what
>   >  >  mplib is for
>   >
>   >  Yeah, but what typesetting system are you suggesting that is portable
>   >  and easy to learn?
> TeX.  You need a system which people are familiar with.

Well, I'm wondering how to bring people to MetaPost that aren't familiar 
with TeX, yet.  The answer might well be, there is no greater audience 
for MetaPost out there.

> What do non-TeX-users do with the graphics then? Convert them to jpeg
> in order to use them in Word documents?

;-)  I'm not thinking about Word users, but Inkscape users and other 
graphics enthusiasts, that know what a ps or svg file is.  Another 
example, and let me say in advance that I'm not involved in the 
OpenStreetMap project in any way and don't know what rendering machine 
they are currently using (several, AFAIK), but I think it would be great 
to see a MetaPost-based map renderer that really typesets street, city 
etc. labels.

> Before you invest more time you can ask the Asymptote guys how many
> people already use Asymptote for anything else (except SVG for output)
> but including the graphics into TeX documents.

But isn't Asymptote using TeX for rendering text labels, too?  Then no 
surprise there is a large TeX fraction among Asymptote users.  I'm more 
interested in the non-TeX fraction.  Sure, I'll contact Asymptote guys 
(and report back).  Thanks for the hint!

Best regards,
Stephan Hennig

[1]  I just found troff.org linking to Hobby's original MetaPost manual 
dating 1992 instead of a current one.  Isn't that a sign that MetaPost 
has disappeared from public perception?

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