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**To**:*math-font-discuss@cogs.susx.ac.uk***From**:*Michael Downes <MJD@MATH.AMS.ORG>***Date**: 05 Aug 1993 10:38:01 -0400 (EDT)**Cc**:*MJD@MATH.AMS.ORG*

My 2 cents worth. > 2 - I believe that NFSS is a major improvement over the > default scheme used in LaTeX 2.09. However, it leaves a lot > to be desired for. Namely: > > NFSS assigns *all* the math fonts at each *size* command. ... > The solution to these problems is to load math fonts *truely* on > demand, that is *within* each math formula. ... > be replaced by new commands such that, for example, \Gamma > could be defined as \MathCharDef\Gamma7\rm00 . > This means that the \rm command would load the default > font for \Gamma and then typeset the 0'th character in the font. In order for this argument to be convincing you must explain how you handle loading of the proper math font for \Gamma if it occurs in \scriptstyle or \scriptscriptstyle. Also the loss of speed that you mentioned later is a compensating factor that weakens your statement that NFSS `leaves a lot to be desired'. > One could also modify \MathCharDef so that these symbols can be used > both in math and in text modes freely. The primary reason why \mathchardef'd characters produce an error message outside of math is to help the user catch mistakes that involve forgotten begin-math or end-math commands. If you use a different \MathCharDef that gives no error message the user loses this aid. > 3 - I have often found myself wondering whether the > "design size" approach has lived out its usefulness. I support Martin's response, that specifically designed smaller size fonts for subscripts provide better readability, regardless of the resolution. AMS editorial staff and mathematician authors who have no knowledge of the technical details underlying math font usage have noticed and complained about unsatisfactory appearance of scaled-down fonts used in subscripts. Indeed it is fairly obvious to the eye, I would say, if you compare. > Besides, I should also have mentioned that AMS now uses Times-Roman as > its main font] in its journals. If they see it acceptable to scale > fonts, who am I to argue? The use of scaled Times Roman math roman and math italic fonts at the AMS is not an intentional abandonment of the design size approach but an expedient because it was desired to use Times Roman but the phototypesetter manufacturer (Autologic) did not provide specifically designed subscript sizes of the font. Given an arbitrary 10-point scalable font in PostScript or other format, I would say that the ideal way to tailor it for math usage would be to add specifically designed smaller sizes, at least, let's say, for the 7 and 5-point sizes as Blue Sky and Y&Y have done in their PostScript versions of the CM fonts. But that is an expensive and time-consuming task. Given a choice between devoting some hundreds or thousands of staff-hours to font development or accepting lower quality, it's obvious which way most publishers and other users will choose; but that doesn't mean the users won't recognize and admit the loss of quality. > There is one more major problem though. And that is the huge size > of the PostScript files generated when one uses different > design sizes, which in many cases yields a VM error on most modest > printers. Sorry, this is irrelevant. If the current technology for some PostScript printers has difficulty supporting the design size approach, that does not change the fact that the design size approach provides higher quality typesetting. Your original proposal was that the design size approach should be abandoned because you believed it didn't give any significant quality advantage. [PS. Justin, I think the design-size discussion is not completely irrelevant to the math font encoding discussion, since practical limitations on the number of different fonts that can be loaded in TeX or printed may suggest that the math font encoding should be organized along the lines of grouping together the symbols most commonly used, rather than along the lines of common design features---in order to allow most users to get by with (let's say) 6 or 7 mathgroups instead of 11 or 12.] > I hope this rather long piece of "complaints" will be viewed > as a constructive, albeit possibly naive, attempt to stimulate > discussion. I would say it's always valuable to challenge the assumptions, to make sure that they are reliable and weed out ones that are not. Michael Downes mjd@math.ams.org (Internet)

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