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Re: tlug: Japanese emails and jlatex under RedHat 6.1

On Thu, Oct 14, 1999 at 09:44:10PM -0400, Matt Gushee wrote:
> Yeah, I guess it is. Well, on the horizon is Omega, which is
> Unicode-based and will solve all the world's typesetting problems
> (yeah, right ;-) .  The developers seem serious about it, though they
> haven't put out much documentation, so I dunno whether they are (a)
> hard at work dealing with the genuinely enormous problems of
> international text-handling, (b) busy with other projects, or (c) just
> being lazy professors.

Takes me right on back, that.  The one and only TUG annual meeting I have
attended was at Birmingham (UK) where Omega was originally announced.  I
remember the lead developer saying that he had taken a hint from Donald
Knuth's earlier exit from TUG circles, and didn't plan to dedicate the
remainder of his working life to creating font and spec files for use with
the new baby.  It's great to hear that it's still alive, but I'd expect it
to take awhile. TeXies count unintended offsets of a scaled point or more
as bugs.[1]

If I recall correctly, the largest change over TeX to be introduced in
Omega was to be in its handling of ligatures.  TeX puts this info into the
font, I think, but international experience had shown a need for
language-dependent ligatures that apply to a whole class of fonts within
the language.  Adding the extra layer of abstraction to the typesetter
could not be done without changes internal to the binary; and Knuth's
parting word on the TeX project was that if the code base is changed, it's
no longer to be called TeX.

The name Omega is an in-joke.  The version of the TeX Web proper is Pi,
out to some number of digits.  When a bug is found (hasn't happened in a
long long time now) and fixed, Knuth tacks on another digit to Pi to the
version number; the program is not undergoing revision, but creeping
toward ultimate perfection.

Omega is meant to be the last word in typesetters.  Version names will run
the other way up the scale toward Pi.  If I recall correctly what I
overheard the lead designer telling someone...


[1] A scaled point is below the resolution threshold of any printing
device you're likely to have around --- the wavelength of visible light is
approximately 100 scaled points. 

Frank G Bennett, Jr         @@
Faculty of Law, Nagoya Univ () email:
Tel: +81[(0)52]789-2239     () WWW:

Next Technical Meeting: October 9 (Sat), 13:30   place: Temple Univ.
* Linux Internationalisation Initiative (Li18nux) speaker: Akio Kido
* Japanese TrueType Fonts                     speaker: Adrian Havill
Next Technical Meeting: November 13 (Sat), 13:30 place: Temple Univ.
* Network Security                               speaker: Steve Baur
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