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**To**:*MJD@MATH.AMS.ORG***Subject**:**Re: \ell****From**:*alanje@cogs.susx.ac.uk (Alan Jeffrey)***Date**: Thu, 5 Aug 93 15:20 BST**CC**:*math-font-discuss@cogs.susx.ac.uk, mjd@MATH.AMS.ORG*

>I don't understand the purpose of the \ell glyph from a >mathematician's point of view. My conjecture: In ancient times >mathematicians had to use typewriters where lowercase Latin l was >indistinguishable from the numeral 1. I agree with this conjecture, but I would also add that it's a `blackboard' glyph. In the same way that open letters started being used to simulate bold on the blackboard, \ell was used to distinguish `l' from `1'. Unfortunately, since DEK included it in CM, it's become accepted as a glyph in its own right (it's used as `label' in Milner's (1989, Prentice Hall) Communication And Concurrency, for example). It would be nice to junk the thing, or insist that it's really the lower case script `l', but this means we're no longer upwardly compatible. So I'm afraid I'd have to go for solution 2. A classic case of `I wouldn't start from here, mate.' There's a similar problem with `v' and `w' in that some fonts (such as MathTime) provide a `curly v' that can be distinguished from `\nu', and a `curly w' to match the `curly v'. Should these be given separate slots? (I'd say no, on the grounds that the math italic glyph shapes are often different from the text italic shapes, c.f. cmmi `a' and cmti `a'.) Alan.

**Follow-Ups**:**Re: \ell***From:*bbeeton <BNB@MATH.AMS.ORG>