[metapost] Does MetaPost catch on?

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Tue Sep 7 23:47:31 CEST 2010

On 7 September 2010 Stephan Hennig wrote:

 > Am 03.09.2010 02:32, schrieb Reinhard Kotucha:
 > > On 2 September 2010 Stephan Hennig wrote:
 > >
 > >   >  I'm more interested in the non-TeX fraction.
 > >
 > > Can you define the non-TeX fraction?
 > People that don't use TeX to typeset text in their vector graphics
 > program.  That is, those who don't have text in their graphics at
 > all or who use the built-in text rendering capabilities, e.g., in
 > Inkscape.

This is the GUI fraction.  TeX and Metapost are used more or less by
academics (mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, engineers)
only.  They all have to typeset a lot of stuff containing math
formulas.  They all are aware of TeX and Metapost already, even if
not all of them don't use these programs.

There are two fractions, the TeX fraction and the GUI fraction.  Those
who refuse to use a text editor in order to write text will also
refuse to use a text editor in order to create graphics.

Your definition of a non-TeX fraction is much more specific than mine.
But I think that if people don't have text in their graphics, it's
because they don't use appropriate tools, though they are aware of
them.  Metapost requires a certain amount of education in mathematics.
Academics are aware of TeX and Metapost.  Believe me.

 > There might be people among them that could be interested in
 > MetaPost but don't consider installing a full TeX distribution just
 > to peek at it.

TeX Live is modular.  You don't have to install everything.  But this
doesn't matter so much nowadays.

Regarding troff, I must admit that I only used it for writing a few
manual pages (abt. five per decade).  I wouldn't recommend it for
anything else.  People already complain that LaTeX is too cryptic.

BTW, it's possible to create a very tiny TeX distribution.  All you
need is an engine which supports system fonts and plain TeX.  And, as
Hans already said, it's best to have an engine with mplib built in.

Sure, providing only plain TeX helps to keep the distribution small,
but I'm pretty sure that when such a distribution exists, people will
ask for high-level macro packages very soon.

IMO, Luigi's approach is much more realistic and more profound because
it's based on something which exists already, is known to work fine,
and well supported.  A standalone Metapost is not convincing at all
because error handling is a pain.  It's mplib which makes Metapost


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

More information about the metapost mailing list