TeX & Friends (Planet by DANTE e.V.)


TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

Bibliothek des Gutenberg-Museums in Hebis recherchierbar

Das Börsenblatt weist heute darauf hin, dass die Bibliothek des Gutenberg-Museums nun einen neuen OPAC erhalten habe und dass der gesamte Bestand der Bibliothek nunmehr auch über den Hessischen Verbundkatalog Hebis recherchierbar sei. Die Titel werden in Hebis in der Bestandsinfo unter „Mainz, Stadtbibliothek und Gutenberg-Museum“ nachgewiesen.

Das Gutenberg-Museum in Mainz betreibt eine Bibliothek zur Buch-, Druck- und Schriftgeschichte mit rund 91.000 Bänden und etwa 50 laufend gehaltenen Zeitschriften. Die Migration auf die neue Plattform hat zwei Jahre benötigt, ist zum größten Teil vollzogen und wird bis zum Jahresende abgeschlossen sein.

(via TeX-D-L/de.comp.text.tex/InetBib)

by schneeschmelze at Friday, 2019-09-13 18:03


Uwes kleines Technikblog - Kategorie LaTeX (by Uwe Ziegenhagen)

Meiner TUGboat-Artikel zur TUG 2019 in Palo Alto

Nachdem ich meine Präsentationen zur TUG 2019 bereits hochgeladen habe (LINK) folgen nun die Artikel, die in der TUGboat erscheinen werden.


Uwe Ziegenhagen mag LaTeX und Python, auch gern in Kombination. Hat Dir dieser Beitrag geholfen und möchtest Du Dich dafür bedanken? Dann unterstütze doch vielleicht die Dingfabrik Köln e.V. mit einem kleinen Beitrag. Details zur Bezahlung findest Du unter Spenden für die Dingfabrik.

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by Uwe at Thursday, 2019-09-12 18:45

Aufgaben zum Bruchrechnen erstellen mit LaTeX und Python

Hier ein kurzes Beispiel, wie man mit Python eine TeX-Datei mit vielen Brüchen erzeugen kann. Nützlich, wenn Kinder Brüche kürzen oder erweitern sollen. In der nächsten Zeit werde ich sicher noch entsprechende Anpassungen für das Rechnen mit Brüchen hinzufügen.

EDIT: Erweitert um das Löschen der Hilfsdateien.

import os
import random

head = """
\\documentclass[14pt, twocolumn]{scrartcl}



foot = """

def create_bruch():
    zahlen = list(range(1,13))
    zaehler = random.choice(zahlen)
    nenner = random.choice(zahlen)
    return '\\item \\( \\frac{'+ str(zaehler) + '}{' + str(nenner) + '} \\)\\vspace{1em}'

with open("Brueche.tex", "w") as document:
    for i in range(32):
os.system("pdflatex Brueche.tex")



Uwe Ziegenhagen mag LaTeX und Python, auch gern in Kombination. Hat Dir dieser Beitrag geholfen und möchtest Du Dich dafür bedanken? Dann unterstütze doch vielleicht die Dingfabrik Köln e.V. mit einem kleinen Beitrag. Details zur Bezahlung findest Du unter Spenden für die Dingfabrik.

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by Uwe at Thursday, 2019-09-12 18:40


Some TeX Developments (by Joseph Wright)

Finding files by expansion

The TeX core situation

Loading files is an important part of using TeX. At the primitive level, reading an entire file is done using \input. As many people know, files are found by a TeX system using the kpathsea library, which means that the argument to \input should (usually) be the file name alone.

However, it’s often convenient to have files found in subdirectories of a project: the LaTeX2e \graphicspath command is perhaps the classic example where this is used. Looking in multiple places means having an approach to searching for files. The same idea comes up again with graphics whenever you use \includegraphics: most of the time, you don’t give the file extension but rather let (La)TeX do some searching.

At the same time as this need to search for existing files, there’s the issue of when a file might be missing. The \input primitive is pretty unforgiving if the file is not found, and there are lots of times we want to ‘use this file only’ if it actually exists, or to retain control of the error state if a file is missing.

Classical TeX offers one way to check for files before trying to input them. That’s done by using the \openin primitive to open the file, then using an \ifeof test to see if we have reached the end of the file. That works because a non-existent file gives an immediate end-of-file for a read (\openin), but does not lead to an errors (in contrast to \input). The downside to this approach is it performs an assignment, so is not usable in an expansion context.

Some years ago, pdfTeX introduced a number of ‘file information’ primitives, including \pdffilesize. This takes a file name, and expands to the size of the file. Importantly, it works without error with a non-existent file, and expands to nothing at all. That means that it can be used to know if a file exists: any value at all means that it does. As the primitive works by expansion, it also can be used anywhere in TeX.

Searching in expl3

For TeX Live 2019, the LaTeX team did some work to bring primitives into line between XeTeX and other engines. That means that we can now look to exploit \pdffilesize as a way to find files and add new functionality. (The team looking after pTeX and upTeX had already added \pdffilesize.)

I’ve just sent an update of expl3 to CTAN which uses this new approach to file finding. There’s more to it than just changing the file opening primitive. To do a search for different paths, we need to be able to check one at a time. The older expl3 code checks each possible path using an assignment: again, not allowed in an expansion context. So I’ve re-written all of the search code to work by expansion: tricky but workable.

This means we have some new goodies: things like \file_size:n which can be used inside an x-type expansion (\edef) to give the size of a file even if it is not on the standard search path. Of course, being expl3 code, everything still handles spaces-in-filenames and active characters correctly.

Future plans

At present, where \pdffilesize is not available we will still fall back on the older code, so not everything can be done by expansion. However, in the near(ish) future we will likely make \pdffilesize a required primitive for expl3. At that point, some other code can be made expandable, most obviously \file_if_exist:n(TF). That will lead to some changes in the minimal engine versions: more news as and when a change happens.

Friday, 2019-09-06 00:00


LaTeX Project

Major news: LaTeX development formats are now available

LaTeX development formats are now available

We know that many of you, especially developers and maintainers of important packages, have a strong interest in a stable LaTeX environment.

In order to keep LaTeX very stable for users whilst allowing for further development to continue, we now have a development branch of LaTeX on GitHub containing development code for the upcoming release. When this code is ready for wider consumption and testing, we generate a pre-release of LaTeX from this development branch and make it available on CTAN.

For users of the TeXLive and MikTeX distributions it is therefore now straightforward to test their documents and code against the upcoming LaTeX release with ease, simply by selecting a different program name (when using the command line) or by selecting a menu entry (after setting it up, see below).

If you do this then the latest version of the LaTeX development format will be used to process your document, allowing you to test the upcoming release with your own documents and packages. For example, if you run

pdflatex-dev myfile

then you will be greeted on the screen with LaTeX2e <2019-10-01> pre-release-2 (identifying the pre-release format) instead of the normal LaTeX2e <2018-12-01>. In this pre-release you will find the latest new features that we have developed. Here is an example of upcoming features that are currently only in the pre-release format: better UTF8-handling as described in Taming UTF-8 in pdfTeX.

Note, that these are not `nightly builds’ of the format reflecting the very latest stage of development, but pre-release versions that we have tested ourselves so that we consider them ready for testing by a broader community, prior to their public release.

Our hopes

We don’t expect everybody to start using the development formats to participate in testing, but we hope that people with a strong interest in a stable LaTeX environment (especially developers and maintainers of important packages) will use the new facilities and help us to ensure that future public releases of LaTeX do not (as has happened in the past) require some immediate patches because of issues that were not identified by our internal regression test suite or by other testing that we do.

Any issue identified when using the development format should preferably be logged as an issue on GitHub, following the procedure outlined in www.latex-project.org/bugs/ including the use of the latexbug package as described.

Our bug reporting process normally states that issues involving third-party software are out of scope as we can’t correct external packages. However, in the particular case of the development format showing an incompatibility with a third-party package, it is fine to open an issue with us (in addition, please, to informing the maintainer of that package) so that we know about the problem and can jointly work on resolving it.

Details please …

More details and some background information about the concepts and the process is available in an upcoming TUGboat article:

The LaTeX release workflow and the LaTeX dev formats

  • Frank Mittelbach
  • TUGboat 40:2, 2019 to appear
  • Abstract

    How do you prevent creating banana software (i.e., software that gets ripe at the customer site)? By proper testing! But this is anything but easy.

    The paper will give an overview of the efforts made by the LaTeX Project Team over the years to provide high-quality software and explains the changes that we have made this summer to improve the situation further.

Setting up menu items

While the command line call works out of the box if you have a recent uptodate TeXLive or MikTeX installation, the use within an integrated editing environment doesn’t at this point in time (maybe the developers of these editors will include it in the future). However, it is normally fairly simple to enable it as most (or even all?) of them provide simple ways to call your own setup. How this works in detail depends very much on the environment you use, so we can’t give much help here. But as an example: to provide an additional menu entry for XeLaTeX-dev all I had to do was to copy the file XeLaTeX.engine to XeLaTeX-dev.engine and change the call from xelatex to xelatex-dev inside.

Enjoy — Frank & Chris

Sunday, 2019-09-01 00:00


LaTeX Project

New kids on the block (2)

New kids on the block (2)

I’m happy to be able to announce that Phelype Oleinik and Marcel Krüger have joined the LaTeX Project Team. Contact details are on the team page.

Phelype is a Civil Engineer, a TeX enthusiast and an expl3 advocate—you’ll find him on Stack Exchange answering complex questions. Marcel is an accomplished and well-known LuaTeX expert and besides other activities is maintaining luaotfload. With Marcel joining we have formally adopted the work on luaotfload which is a core component for making LaTeX available with a LuaTeX engine. The repository for this code is now https://github.com/latex3/luaotfload.

We are extremely greateful to have both of them on board and gain from their experience and knowledge!

A warm welcome — Frank

Sunday, 2019-08-25 00:00


LaTeX Project

New kids on the block (2)

New kids on the block (2)

I’m happy to be able to announce that Phelype Oleinik and Marcel Krüger have joined the LaTeX Project Team. Contact details are on the team page.

Phelype is a Civil Engineer, a TeX enthusiast and an expl3 advocate—you’ll find him on Stack Exchange answering complex questions. Marcel is an accomplished and well-known LuaTeX expert and besides other activities is maintaining luaotfload. With Marcel joining we have formally adopted the work on luaotfload which is a core component for making LaTeX available with a LuaTeX engine. The repository for this code is now https://github.com/latex3/luaotfload.

We are extremely greateful to have both of them on board and gain from their experience and knowledge!

A warm welcome — Frank

Saturday, 2019-08-24 00:00


Uwes kleines Technikblog - Kategorie LaTeX (by Uwe Ziegenhagen)

Slides for my TUG 2019 presentations in Palo Alto

This year I was able to visit the TUG 2019 meeting in Palo Alto, California. I gave two talks, one on LaTeX & Python, the other one on the creation of exams using the exam class. Find below the slides, all sources are included in the PDF and accessible at least via Adobe Reader.


Uwe Ziegenhagen mag LaTeX und Python, auch gern in Kombination. Hat Dir dieser Beitrag geholfen und möchtest Du Dich dafür bedanken? Dann unterstütze doch vielleicht die Dingfabrik Köln e.V. mit einem kleinen Beitrag. Details zur Bezahlung findest Du unter Spenden für die Dingfabrik.

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by Uwe at Wednesday, 2019-08-21 19:34


TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

Aquamacs unter neuer Leitung

Gestern notierte ich nur kurz, dass Aquamacs 3.5 freigegeben worden ist. Aquamacs ist eine Distribution des freien Editors Emacs für macOS, die eine Reihe von nützlichen Erweiterungen fertig vorkonfiguriert enthält und außerdem die üblichen Keybindings aus macOS mitbringt. Wer diese nicht nutzen möchte, sondern einen Emacs sucht, wie er ihn von anderen Plattformen her kennt, kann das sehr leicht zurückbiegen. Keine Sorge vor Emacs-Lisp: Als ich vor einigen Jahren mein System von Grund auf neu aufbaute, war Aquamacs die Anwendung, die als erstes einsatzbereit war. Ich mache fast alles, was ich mache, in Aquamacs mit org-mode und LaTeX. (Den Rest mache ich in LibreOffice, wenn es dafür gute Gründe gibt.)

Eine weitere Meldung lief in der darauffolgenden Nacht über die Mailinglisten: Der Entwickler von Aquamacs David Reitter, der Aquamacs erdacht und seit 2003 betrieben hatte, hat das Projekt verlassen. Es ist ein Abschied aus persönlichen Gründen. Viel ist passiert seitdem, es sah schon mal düster aus, was die Zukunft von Aquamacs anging, aber nach der Modernisierung durch den Umzug auf GitHub im Jahr 2015 wurden Schritt für Schritt Hindernisse aus dem Weg geschafft, die auch andere freie Softwareprojekte für den Mac zunehmend behindern. Im Falle von Aquamacs ging es um die Integration gnutls, die notwendig geworden war, weil die Unterstützung für openssl in macOS aus Emacs entfernt worden war. Diese steuerte Win Treese bei, der auch das Projekt insgesamt übernommen hat. Ich danke David für seine Mühe über die vielen Jahre hinweg, und ich hoffe, Aquamacs bleibt den Mac-Anwendern noch lange erhalten.

A propos Mac und Freie Software: Bei der gerade zuende gegangenen TUG 2019 berichtete Dick Koch über die Großen Veränderungen bei MacTeX, von denen die Anwender möglichst nichts bemerken sollten. Von den Hürden, die Apple den Entwicklern zunehmend in den Weg stellt, die die Vorteile, die Unix eigentlich für freie Lösungen bieten sollte, immer mehr schwinden lassen. Notarization und hardened runtimes machen es auch zunehmend schwerer, eine so komplexe Distribution wie MacTeX bereitzustellen. Wer es nicht glaubt, der lese Dicks Bericht. Die Probleme bei der Entwicklung des freien PDF-Viewers Skim, der auf PDFkit aufsetzt, möge man auf dessen Mailingliste nachvollziehen. Nicht schön. Das ständige Hase-und-Igel-Spiel durch jährliche System-Upgrades (früher gabs das alle zwei bis drei Jahre) erzeugt einen erheblichen Druck und tut ein übriges. Auch andere Projekte sind betroffen. Vor zwei Wochen kompilierte Poppler zum ersten Mal nicht bei meinen MacPorts unter High Sierra. Es könnte sein, dass die Zeiten, zu denen macOS eine gute Wahl für den Einsatz freier Software war, vorbei sind und der Wechsel zu Linux ernsthaft in Betracht kommt.

by schneeschmelze at Tuesday, 2019-08-20 21:22



(LaTeX) Font Catalogue now on tug.org

The LaTeX Font Catalogue, created and still maintained by Palle Jørgensen of DK-TUG, has short samples of most fonts available in TeX distributions, categorized in several ways, and with LaTeX usage examples. It is now hosted on tug.org, as tug.org/FontCatalogue, Happy font-finding!

Tuesday, 2019-07-30 21:52


TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

Aquamacs 3.5 Nightly Build

David Reitter bittet um Tests des Nightly Build von Aquamacs 3.5. Neu im Vergleich zur vorhergehenden Version ist die Integration von gnutls 3.6.8. Sie war notwendig geworden, weil die Unterstützung für openssl in macOS aus Emacs entfernt worden war. Aquamacs 3.5 setzt deshalb mindestens Mac OS X El Capitan voraus. Den Code zur Integration von gnutls in Aquamacs steuerte Win Treese bei. Außerdem gab es Updates der vielen ergänzenden Pakete, die in in Aquamacs integriert sind. Aquamacs 3.5 beruht auf Emacs 25, also nicht auf der allerneusten Version von Emacs, sondern auf der vorletzten.

Die Entwickler weisen darauf hin, dass unter macOS Mojave ein Problem beim Öffnen der Menüs auftreten könne. Wer doppelt klicken muss, damit sich ein Drop-Down-Menü öffnet, sollte in den Systemeinstellungen bei den Bedienhilfen Aquamacs ausdrücklich freischalten. Ich kann das nicht selbst testen, weil ich noch nie mit der neuesten Version von macOS gearbeitet habe, also auch derzeit nicht. Mir fiel unter macOS High Sierra auf, dass Text beim fortlaufenden Eintippen manchmal am Zeilenanfang kurz ausgeblendet wird und dann wieder erscheint, als wäre nichts gewesen… das ist etwas merkwürdig.

Der Nightly Build ist nicht signiert. Um alles, was damit zusammenhängt, kümmert sich David Reitter später.

Zur Erinnerung: Wer möchte, dass sich Aquamacs so verhält, wie man es von einem Emacs gewöhnt ist, kann ihm das sehr leicht beibringen.

by schneeschmelze at Friday, 2019-07-26 20:20



TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

Der Nachlass von Jan Tschichold wird digitalisiert

Die Erben des Typografen Jan Tschichold haben dessen Nachlass als Schenkung an das Deutschen Buch- und Schriftmuseum der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek in Leipzig gegeben.

Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek hat in einer Pressemitteilung vom 13. Juni 2019 bekanntgegeben, dass die Digitalisierung des Nachlasses von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft gefördert werde. Die Digitalisate sollen nach entsprechender Erschließung über die Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek online frei abrufbar sein:

Nachlass Jan Tschichold wird mit DFG-Förderung digitalisiert

Die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) fördert die Digitalisierung und Erschließung des Nachlasses von Jan Tschichold. Der Nachlass befindet sich im Deutschen Buch- und Schriftmuseum (DBSM) der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek (DNB) in Leipzig. In einem achtzehnmonatigen Projekt werden ausgewählte Teile des Nachlasses digitalisiert und erschlossen. Das Projekt wird mit circa 110.000 Euro gefördert. Die Digitalisate werden mit Normdaten versehen und über das Portal der DNB weltweit im Netz zugänglich gemacht. Gleichzeitig werden die Materialien unter der wissenschaftlichen Leitung von Prof. Dr. Patrick Rössler von der Universität Erfurt inhaltlich erschlossen. Noch nie war ein so tiefer und einfacher Blick in die Werkstatt Tschicholds möglich. Zum Abschluss des Projektes wird eine Buchpublikation und eine Tagung die Ergebnisse zusammenfassen.

Jan Tschichold war einer der bedeutendsten Typografen und Schriftgestalter des 20. Jahrhunderts. Er wirkte im Umfeld des Bauhauses und gilt dort als Stichwortgeber für die sogenannte Neue oder Konstruktive Typografie. Nach dem zweiten Weltkrieg orientierte er sich zunehmend an traditionellen Vorbildern und veröffentliche zahlreiche typografiehistorische Werke und Lehrbücher zur Schriftgestaltung.

Die Erben Jan Tschicholds schenkten dem DBSM den Nachlass, damit er für Forschung und Lehre dauerhaft zur Verfügung steht. In den letzten Jahren gehörte er zu den meistgenutzten Nachlässen des Museums. Je mehr Wissenschaftler und Wissenschaftlerinnen, Künstler und Künstlerinnen und Studierende den Nachlass vor Ort sichten, desto stärker wird er aber auch in Mitleidenschaft gezogen. Die Digitalisierung ist ein guter Weg, um vielen Menschen einen Einblick in den Nachlass zu ermöglichen und ihn dabei bestmöglich zu schonen. Dabei ist es besonders wichtig, die Digitalisate mit treffenden Beschreibungen (sogenannten Metadaten) anzureichern, damit Nutzerinnen und Nutzer genau das finden können, was sie suchen. Nach der Digitalisierung werden die Daten Teil der Deutschen Digitalen Bibliothek und von Europeana, dem europäischen digitalen Kulturportal.

Noch bis zum 6. September 2019 ist in Leipzig die Ausstellung „Jan Tschichold – ein Jahrhunderttypograf?“ zu sehen. Die Ausstellung, zu der der Wallstein-Verlag eine reich bebilderte Publikation veröffentlicht hat, rekonstruiert an einer Auswahl der interessantesten Stücke aus dem Nachlass den Lebens- und Schaffensweg Tschicholds.

by schneeschmelze at Wednesday, 2019-06-26 17:55



LyX 2.3.3 released.

Third Maintenance Release in 2.3.x Series

Tuesday, 2019-06-25 00:00




Weblog von Markus Kohm

Ist wirklich etwas faul in der Community?

Seit einigen Wochen mehren sich in der TeX-Community Meldungen der eher negativen Art. Auch persönlich wurde die Ansicht an mich heran getragen, dass »in der Community etwas faul« sei. Teilweise kann ich das nachvollziehen, teilweise finde ich es auch bedenklich, gleichzeitig sehe ich aber auch die Notwendigkeit, zu relativieren.

Hier auf komascript.de selbst ist keine große Veränderung festzustellen. Auch von Admin-Seite her sind keine wirksameren Angriffe auf die Seite zu erkennen. Der Wettlauf zwischen Angriffen und Abwehrmechanismen ist weiter im Gange und weiter offen, hat sich aber nicht nennenswert verstärkt. Angestiegen ist allerdings die Zahl der offenkundigen Fake-Account-Anmeldungen. Ob der Anschein, dass wir diese meistern, korrekt oder ein Trugschluss ist, wird sich irgendwann zeigen. Aufgrund von gewissen Annahmen lag zunächst er Verdacht nahe, dass es sich dabei weniger um Angriffe auf die Serversoftware oder gar auf die Community auf komascript.de handelt, sondern sie eher gegen mich persönlich gerichtet sind. Allerdings zeigt ein Vorfall in einem Partnerforum, dass dort ähnliche Kräfte am Werk sind. Dadurch drängen sich nun zwei mögliche Szenarien auf. Entweder ist das dort aufgrund des Partnerseiten-Links geschehen, einfach weil hier bisher kein Erfolg zu erzielen war, oder die verantwortliche Szene hat tatsächlich neuerdings TeX-Foren oder allgemein technische Foren als neues, vermeintliches Opfer auserkoren. Beides wäre in der Tat unschön, ersteres wäre mir zudem sehr unangenehm.

Was mir gegenüber explizit geäußert wurde ist die Beobachtung, dass ein gewisses Anspruchsdenken um sich greife. Das kann ich allerdings nicht bestätigen. Es gab schon immer Anwender, die ihre Aufgaben auf die Helfer in Foren abwälzen wollten. Schon immer gab es Menschen, die nicht bereit waren, die Forensuche oder Internet-Suchmaschinen zu bemühen oder gar in Anleitungen nachzulesen. Wobei ich bezüglich der Qualität der Ergebnisse von Internet-Suchen gewisse Vorbehalte teile und ohnehin empfehle die Ergebnisse nicht unreflektiert zu übernehmen. Ich kann auch nicht feststellen, dass sich die Anzahl der entsprechenden Versuche, andere auszunutzen gesteigert hätte oder dass die Reaktionen, wenn solche Versuche auf Widerstand stoßen, insgesamt gröber werden würden.

Persönlich habe ich allerdings durchaus den Eindruck, dass einige wenige, durchaus langjährige Anwender besonders hartnäckig ihr Anspruchsdenken verteidigen und kultivieren und – lasst mich auch hier ganz unverblümt sein – dabei auch vor öffentlichen, recht garstigen Angriffen nicht zurückschrecken. Dazu kommen einige Benutzer – ich spreche hier bewusst nicht von Anwendern –, die jede Gelegenheit nutzen, gegen gewisse Helfer zu stänkern. Von beidem war ich auch selbst schon betroffen und in der Tat demotiviert mich so etwas so sehr, dass man auch sagen könnte, dass es mich geradezu deprimiert. Und ich bin offenbar nicht der Einzige. Wirklich neu sind beide Phänomene aber nicht. In meinen frühen Mailbox- und Usenetzeiten gab es das auch bereits. Damals war es allerdings noch unüblich, darauf politisch korrekt zu reagieren. Und die Community hat in solchen Fällen in der Tat dem Unruhestifter sehr schnell Grenzen aufgezeigt. Es kam allerdings auch vor, dass danach eine Gruppe faktisch nicht mehr existent war oder Wochen gebraucht hat, sich davon zu erholen.

Trotzdem, was ich tatsächlich beobachten kann, ist dass einige Helfer zunehmend müde oder – nennen wir es beim Namen – gereizt werden. Einige Helfer in anderen Foren haben diesen bereits eher im Stillen aber teilweise auch mit einigem Aufsehen den Rücken gekehrt. Das kann ich auch durchaus nachvollziehen. Nach einer gewissen Zeit, nervt es einfach, Neulingen immer wieder die gleichen wichtigen Informationen aus der Nase zu ziehen. Irgendwann hat man keine Lust mehr, genau darüber aber auch über die eigenen Lösungsvorschläge länger zu diskutieren als man für die Lösung selbst dann braucht. Irgendwann hat man auch keine Lust mehr, die immer gleichen Fehler in den gezeigten Code-Ausschnitten zu erklären, bevor man sich dem eigentlichen Problem zuwenden kann. Irgendwann nervt es gewaltig, wenn diese Fehler dann trotz aller Hinweise bei der nächsten Frage desselben Fragestellers wieder auftauchen. Irgendwann nervt es ganz gewaltig, sich dafür rechtfertigen zu müssen, dass man nicht jedem Hilfesuchenden erst einmal Honig ums Maul schmiert und die eigene Kritik nicht hinter vielen Lagen buntem Geschenkpapier und wohlriechenden Düften weitgehend unkenntlich verbirgt. Das oben bereits genannte, demotivierende Verhalten einzelner macht das nicht besser.

In einer solchen Situation kann dann durchaus bereits eine kleiner inhaltlicher Disput mit einem anderen Helfer, das Fass zum Überlaufen bringen. Dass Helfer sich nicht bei allem einig sind, ist dabei ganz normal. Dass nahezu kein Helfer bei den vielen Hilfestellungen, die er ständig leistet, komplett vor eigenen Fehlern gefeit ist, liegt in der Natur und der Komplexität des Themas. Wie schon Goethe im Urfaust schreibt: »Es irrt der Mensch, solang er strebt.« Da sollte eine Diskussion zwischen Helfern eigentlich kein Problem sein. Man sollte davon ausgehen, dass sich alle gegenseitig respektieren und Missverständnisse leicht auszuräumen sind. Leider scheint bei einigen aber das Fass bereits vorab so voll zu sein, dass sie darin dann so etwas wie einen Brudermord wittern. Das kann zu schwer nachvollziehbaren Reaktionen führen. So ließen Helfer bereits ihre sämtlichen Antworten in Foren löschen (oder haben es selbst erledigt) und haben damit Jahre eigener Arbeit sinnlos vernichtet. Auch andere unsinnige Aktionen, die sich letztlich gegen den Ausführenden selbst oder das eigene Wirken richteten, wurden schon beobachtet.

Ist also wirklich etwas faul in der Community? Ganz sicher. Faul war schon immer etwas. Aber ist es mehr? Das ist für mich schwer zu sagen.

Da ich selbst bei mir derzeit deutliche Anzeichen dafür erkenne, dass meine Schmerzgrenze wieder einmal längst überschritten ist, werde ich mir in den nächsten Wochen eine Auszeit verordnen. Selbst hier auf komascript.de wird es von mir in den nächsten 14 Tagen nur in Ausnahmefällen oder mit Verzögerung Antworten geben. Andere Foren werde ich gar nicht erst lesen. Auch die Bearbeitung von E-Mails wird verzögert geschehen. Was ich nicht zeitnah lese, kann ich erst recht nicht zeitnah beantworten. Umgekehrt besteht dann aber auch nicht der selbst auferlegte Zwang, zeitnah auf alles reagieren zu müssen. Weitgehend unbemerkt, aber keineswegs im Stillen habe ich das in der Vergangenheit immer wieder einmal durchgezogen und es hat beim Aufladen der Batterien sehr geholfen. Dank Smartphone gehört dazu inzwischen aber in der Tat eine gewisse, ganz bewusste Disziplin. Einen solchen möglichst weitreichenden Urlaub vom Netz kann ich allen genervten Mitstreitern sehr empfehlen.

Bis demnächst

by Markus Kohm at Wednesday, 2019-06-12 10:06




TUGboat 40:1 published

TUGboat volume 40, number 1 (a regular issue) has been mailed to TUG members. It is also available online and from the TUG store. In addition, prior TUGboat issue 39:3 is now publicly available. Please consider joining or renewing your TUG membership if you haven't already.

Friday, 2019-05-17 17:52


TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

TeX Live 2019

Zugegeben, ich bin etwas spät dran in diesem Jahr mit dem Upgrade, aber sooo viel Neues hat sich bei TeX Live 2019 im Vergleich zu 2018 ja nun auch wieder nicht ergeben. Jedenfalls nichts, was mich beträfe.

Die New-Features-Seite zu MacTeX liest sich betont entspannt und besteht zu einem großen Teil aus Hinweisen, die auf Neuigkeiten bis ins Jahr 2010 zurückgehen.

In diesem Jahr hatte ich leider an den Pretests nicht teilnehmen können. Das Setup lief klaglos durch, und bisher sind mir auch noch keine Probleme aufgefallen. Seit heute Morgen sind auch die ersten neuen Pakete auf dem CTAN-Mirror meines Vertrauens verfügbar.

Mein Dank geht an die Kolleg/inn/en, die die neue Version auch in diesem Jahr erstellt haben.

by schneeschmelze at Sunday, 2019-05-05 12:37


TeXblog - Typography with TeX and LaTeX (by Stefan Kottwitz)

Supporting users on LaTeX.org

I’m on a carribbean cruise for three weeks and don’t have so much time as before for answering questions on LaTeX.org. Especially since I actually do work here, on improving the WiFi onboard the cruise ship.

It would be great if somebody could jump in from time to time and answer a few questions, if you know how to help the user. Unlike strict q&a sites, it’s a discussion forum where any friendly LaTeX chat is welcome in supporting our LaTeX friends.

Big thanks already to Johannes, who is moderating and helping users all the time!

Quick links:

Thank you all!

by stefan at Friday, 2019-05-03 13:55



TeX Live 2019 released

TeX Live 2019 has been released, along with the entire TeX Collection 2019. The DVD is in production and will be mailed to TUG, and most other TeX user group, members when manufacturing is complete (expected by the first week of June). The software can also be downloaded in various ways, and the DVD ordered from TUG store. Please consider joining or renewing your membership in TUG or another TeX user group, and thanks if you already have. Thanks to all the contributors.

Monday, 2019-04-29 22:02

WSPR.IO (by Will Robertson)

Google Season of Docs 2019

As a board member of the TeX Users Group, earlier this month I was investigating the Google Season of Docs scheme to establish whether it would be feasible for TUG to participate in 2019. The idea of these scheme is to bring in technical writers looking for experience in real-world ‘gaps’ in open source software documentation. The activities can range from frameworks, to tutorials, to reference documentation.

The TeX ecosystem is somewhat unique in the open source software world in that its software is often highly documented in a ‘soft’ literate programming approach using LaTeX’s DocStrip syntax or variants thereof. This documentation is distributed in PDF form and is one of the main reasons that a ‘complete’ TeX Live distribution is multi-gigabytes in size (the other reason being fonts).

However, just because code in TeX Live tends to come with PDF documentation doesn’t mean there aren’t ample opportunities for more and better documentation. The GSOD scheme looks fantastic but time ended up running short for our proposals; most importantly, we didn’t want to propose projects for which we didn’t have confidence we could provide adequate support.

Despite not progressing with the scheme this year, if it returns again in 2020 I’m more confident we will be in a better place to make a strong set of proposals. For reference I’ve listed what would have been our intended entries into our Google Season of Docs 2019 submission, had it gone ahead.

Best practice LaTeX for the web

Description: LaTeX has traditionally been geared towards generating print documents, nowadays generating PDF output. There is now more and more need to develop documentation in HTML form as well, and with the widespread adoption of MathML and alternative rendering technologies such as MathJax, there is little technical reason that LaTeX documents can not produce first-class HTML output as well as PDF output. In fact, there are a number of actively developed projects which allow this, including TeX4ht, LaTeXML, lwarp, HEVEA, and others.

For a newcomer, this creates a problem — each tool is suited toward different workflows and it is often not clear which would be the best to choose for a given project. As these are quite complex tools, it is also sometimes hard to get started and to know the limitations of each technology. This project proposes to write a comprehensive user guide to writing HTML documents using LaTeX workflows, comparing and contrasting the currently available technologies.

Related material:

TikZ tutorials for programmatic drawing

Description: The PGF/TikZ environment for programmatic drawing in TeX documents has become the de facto standard for including high-quality visual elements to a (La)TeX document. Its interface has evolved over a number of years and achieves a remarkable level of clarity given it is built on top of the TeX macro environment. PGF/TikZ and related add-ons can draw anything from flowcharts to 2D and 3D graphics to entire graphs (replacing, e.g., matplotlib for generating figures, with the benefit of tight coupling between graph style and document design in terms of fonts and colours).

The vast capabilities and improvements to its interface over time have lead to a noticeable gap in the documentation. The PGF/TikZ documentation is formiddable at 1289 pages, and while it provides some tutorial elements it is more of a reference document than a user guide. There are also a large number of example graphics online through the TeXample website, but these are often written using older or ad hoc idioms and are often not good examples of best practice. For this project we propose that a set of worked examples are developed that showcase TikZ’s range and can be used as reference examples to build from for new users. This project may also lead to improvements in the core PGF/TikZ documentation.

Related material:

LaTeX3 and LuaTeX programming tutorials

Description: In the early 2010s the expl3 programming layer started gaining significant traction for LaTeX programming. expl3 was a re-think of how TeX macro programming could be performed with rigorous syntax and robust data structures. Around the same time, the LuaTeX project was released, which allows TeX documents to be programmed using the Lua programming language. These two approaches are complementary and in some sense provide a transition from the legacy code of LaTeX2e into a future version of LaTeX that has clean interfaces for the document author, class designer, and code writer.

While expl3 and LuaTeX are both extensively described with reference documentation, neither have comprehensive user guides or tutorials for teaching a newcomer to TeX how to adopt these new best practices. This project would create a suite of documents for doing so.

Related material:

LaTeX2e reference documentation (https://latexref.xyz)

Description: LaTeX2e, the version of LaTeX used worldwide since 1993 by myriad mathematicians, scientists, engineers, computer scientists, linguists, and so on, lacks comprehensive reference documentation. An ambitious project has been started at https://latexref.xyz that catalogues and documents all non-private LaTeX2e commands. Further improvements to that document are necessary, including expanding the scope of the documentation to private/internal commands as well as general programming interfaces. As part of this effort, the documentation provided via the literate programming implementation of LaTeX2e could be thoroughly updated and re-written to harmonise with this project. In parallel with this project the interface to the documentation could be thoroughly revamped to exploit modern web technologies, but this would not fall under the direct responsibility of the technical writer.

Related material:

Monday, 2019-04-29 11:32


LaTeX Project

Two papers on the history of LaTeX

Two papers on the history of LaTeX

We have added two papers on different aspects of the history of LaTeX to the site. While both are somewhat older they present interesting accounts on the evolution of LaTeX.

The first was given by Chris Rowley at a conference celebrating Leslie Lamport’s 60th birthday and discusses the relevance of LaTeX throughout several decades (including some interesting predictions that can be checked against reality).

The LaTeX Legacy

  • Chris Rowley
  • Published paper, PODC ‘01 Proceedings of the twentieth annual ACM symposium on Principles of distributed computing, Pages 17-25
  • Keywords: LaTeX history, LaTeX future
  • Abstract

    The second edition of The LaTeX Manual begins: `LaTeX is a system for typesetting documents. Its first widely available version, mysteriously numbered 2.09, appeared in 1985.’

    It is too early for a complete critical assessment of the impact of LaTeX 2.09 because its world-wide effects on many aspects of many cultures, not least scientific publication, remain strong after 15 years—and that itself is significant in a technological world where a mere 15 months of fame can make and break an idea.

    Therefore this paper provides simply a review and evaluation of the relationship between TeX, LaTeX and some of the major technical developments in the world of quality automated formatting since the publication of LaTeX 2.09 in 1985. It is is neither definitive nor comprehensive but I hope it is informative.

The second is an interview carried out by Dave Walden (for the TUG interview corner) and Gianluca Pignalberi (for the Free Software Magazine).

Interview of Frank Mittelbach – A combined interview of the LaTeX Project director

  • Frank Mittelbach, Gianluca Pignalberi, Dave Walden
  • Published paper, 2006, Free Software Magazine
  • Keywords: LaTeX history, LaTeX future, LPPL, LaTeX3
  • Abstract

    Free Software Magazine (FSM) and the TeX Users Group (TUG) both like to publish interviews. Recently, Gianluca Pignalberi of Free Software Magazine and Dave Walden of TUG both approached Frank Mittelbach about interviewing him. Rather than doing two separate interviews, Mittelbach, Pignalberi, and Walden decided on a combined interview in keeping with the mutual interests already shared by Free Software Magazine and TUG.

We hope that both of them will give you some interesting insights into the evolution of LaTeX.

Tuesday, 2019-04-23 00:00


LaTeX Project

Uploading to CTAN with l3build

Uploading to CTAN with l3build

A new version of l3build has recently been released with the ability to use curl to automatically upload packages to CTAN.

This functionality has been on our wishlist for some time, with early thoughts around the idea of “reverse engineering” the CTAN upload page like the (now defunct) ctanupload tool by Martin Scharrer. Luckily for us, the CTAN team added an API to allow developers to interface with the CTAN upload process in a well-documented and stable manner.

This API has been used for some time by the ctan-o-mat tool by Gerd Neugebauer, which provides the ability to send package updates through to CTAN via the command line, with metadata for the package loadable via a configuration file. While it’s not a cumbersome process to manually upload packages through CTAN, it’s nice to be able to automate the process.

For a tool like l3build, we prefer not to rely on additional tools beyond a standard TeX distribution, and as Windows now provides a curl utility this has allowed us to build a CTAN-uploading tool into l3build directly. The mechanics of this tool were written by David Carlisle; thanks!

Its use is relatively straightforward. In the package’s build.lua file, add a table along the following lines:

uploadconfig = {
  pkg          = "vertbars",
  version      = "v1.0c",
  author       = "Peter R Wilson; Will Robertson",
  uploader     = "Will Robertson"
  license      = "lppl1.3c",
  summary      = "Mark vertical rules in margin of text",
  ctanPath     = "/macros/latex/contrib/vertbars",
  repository   = "https://github.com/wspr/herries-press/",
  note         = [[Uploaded automatically by l3build...]]

Additional fields to what are listed above are possible; this example isn’t intended to be exhaustive. The full list of possibilities is available either through the CTAN API documentation or through the l3build documentation.

Running l3build upload

With the build.lua configuration file in place, to submit a new version of the package to CTAN you would first run l3build ctan to generate the package zip archive, then execute something like

l3build upload --message "Minor update to fix some erroneous spaces from missing % signs"

For a longer message you could use --file releasenotes-v1.0c.txt where the listed filename contains the release notes for this update. Note, however, that there is a fairly small character limit on what can be included here; you may wish to maintain a longer, more detailed, list of changes in a separate CHANGELOG file.

Before the upload process, l3build will check whether any required fields have been omitted and prompt them in an interactive terminal. In particular, the user will be asked their email address for verification purposes; in general this information should not be hard-coded into the build.lua file if that file is to be stored publicly.

Rather than an interactive query, the email field can also be set as a command line option as in

l3build upload --email "my.email@mail.com" ...

Alternatively, you could create a build-private.lua file in your personal texmf/scripts directory containing

uploadconfig = uploadconfig or {}
uploadconfig.uploader = "My Name"
uploadconfig.email    = "my.name@gmail.com"

And read this into your build.lua file with require('build-private.lua').

Further automation and future plans

The current support does not attempt to automate any aspect of the release process. For instance:

  • You may wish additional logic to check the status of your version control system before proceeding with tagging or upload.
  • You may wish to have l3build tag update the package version automatically.
  • You may wish to populate the announcement field within uploadconfig automatically from an associated CHANGELOG file.

And so on. It’s also worth noting that this tool does not automatically run l3build ctan as that process can be very slow if the test suite needs to be re-run. It is a manual process to run the appropriate tag then ctan then upload steps.

As we gain more experience with how we and others are using the tool we will look into providing more functions around automation and/or convenience, especially integration with version control.

In the mean time, I’m looking forward to having it be a good bit easier to make a quick change to a package and send it through to CTAN.

Tuesday, 2019-04-16 00:00


Uwes kleines Technikblog - Kategorie LaTeX (by Uwe Ziegenhagen)

Vortragsfolien „Briefvorlagen erstellen mit LaTeX und scrlttr2“

Hier die Folien von meinem Vortrag zum Thema „Briefvorlagen erstellen mit LaTeX und scrlttr2“, gehalten auf der Dante e.V. Vereinstagung in Darmstadt.

Alle Code-Beispiele sowie der Quelltext der Folien selbst sind Teil des PDF, dazu nutze ich das attachfile-Paket. Mit einem einfachen \newcommand Befehl baue ich dann den \ta Befehl, der als Parameter nur den Dateinamen entgegennimmt und im PDF dann ein rotes klickbares Paragraph-Symbol setzt.

\newcommand{\ta}[1]{\textattachfile[color=1 0 0]{#1}{\textparagraph}}


Das github-Repository liegt unter https://github.com/UweZiegenhagen/scrlttr2_darmstadt


Uwe Ziegenhagen mag LaTeX und Python, auch gern in Kombination. Hat Dir dieser Beitrag geholfen und möchtest Du Dich dafür bedanken? Dann unterstütze doch vielleicht die Dingfabrik Köln e.V. mit einem kleinen Beitrag. Details zur Bezahlung findest Du unter Spenden für die Dingfabrik.

More Posts - Website

by Uwe at Sunday, 2019-04-07 07:30




Beautiful Type

Fantastic work from @tobiashall for the Rolling Stones. Well...

Fantastic work from @tobiashall for the Rolling Stones. Well Deserved Tobias ! https://ift.tt/2UK2a88

Monday, 2019-03-18 12:27


Some TeX Developments (by Joseph Wright)

TeXworks v0.63

Regular readers will know that I’m a fan of the light-weight TeXworks editor. It keeps the user interface pared down, letting both new and experienced users focus on their input, whilst at the same time having lots of handy features.

Steffan Löffler has recently released v0.63 of TeXworks, and despite the minor version change (from v0.62), there’s quite a lot of new stuff. Highlights for me are

  • Basic support for BibTeX, including a new menu entry to insert citations into sources
  • More granular SyncTeX sypport, making it easier to go backward and forward from source to PDF
  • Re-written syntax highlighting, addressing some of the long-standing issues TeXworks has had with longer sources
  • Improved syntax patterns and keyword completion lists (both from me!)

Sunday, 2019-03-17 00:00


Some TeX Developments (by Joseph Wright)

Collecting environment content using xparse

LaTeX environments are almost always used for cases where the content does not make sense as a macro argument. That can happen for example because there are clear ‘start’ and ‘end’ conditions, because the content is long and open-ended, or because category code changes are needed.

The amsmath bundle first implemented an approach to collecting up the entire content of environments. For amsmath, this is needed to allow two-pass measurement of the width of align environments. Not surprisingly, this idea turns out to be more widely useful. It appears in a generic form in the environ package, which allows us to do

Some content

with the content of the environment referred to as \BODY.

There have been long-standing requests to add a similar ability to xparse. After some consideration, the LaTeX team have now added this ability as a new type of argument: b-type. Rather than requiring a separate command, this integrates directly into the existing approach in xparse:

Some content

Probably most notable here is the fact that the environment content is available simply as #1, rather than requiring a special macro name. It also means that there are no new mechanisms to learn: we can add optional and mandatory arguments to the environment before collecting the body.

Some content
Some content

Of course, there is a reason that most of the time you do not want to collect up all of an environment. But equally there are times when you do want to do exactly that. Adding support in xparse should make that a little easier.

Thursday, 2019-03-07 00:00



The Oldest Surviving Printed Advertisement in English (London, 1477)

Over the years I have developed a passion for the ways in which medieval scribes and booksellers (i.e. stationer, libraire) promoted their products. Commercial book artisans had a variety of tools available to attract clients to their shops, from spam scribbled in the back of manuscripts (“If you like this, I can make you one … Continue reading The Oldest Surviving Printed Advertisement in English (London, 1477)

by Erik Kwakkel at Thursday, 2019-01-24 18:27


TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

„Moderne am Main 1919–1933“ im Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt am Main

In der Ausstellung „Moderne am Main 1919–1933“, die vergangene Woche im Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt am Main zum Baushausjahr eröffnet worden ist, ist auch viel Neue Typografie und Vorarbeiten bzw. künstlerisches Umfeld zu sehen – wer also Gelegenheit hat, nach Frankfurt zu kommen, möge sich die Schau nicht entgehen lassen. Der kleinformatige, aber dicke Katalog ist auch schön gemacht und mit informativen Texten versehen. Leider muss man viel Wissen mitbringen, um die Zusammenhänge zwischen den Ausstellungsstücken und dem Hintergrund herzustellen, in der Ausstellung gibt es nur kurze Wandtexte, und der Katalog liegt leider auch nicht aus – ich habe das beim Gehen angeprangert, und das Museum verspricht Besserung. Wir haben etwas gewikipediat, um unsere Lücken zu füllen, und das ging gut.

Moderne am Main 1919–1933. Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt am Main. Kuratiert von Grit Weber, Annika Sellmann, Klaus Klemp und Matthias Wagner K. Bis 14. April 2019. Katalog: 29 Euro.

by schneeschmelze at Wednesday, 2019-01-23 09:53


TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

TeX: A branch of desktop publishing evolution

Die letzte und die folgende Ausgabe der IEEE Annals of the History of Computing widmen sich der Geschichte des Desktop Publishings. Darin auch ein zweiteiliger Aufsatz zur Geschichte von TeX:

Ergänzende Materialien findet man auf der Website der TeX Users Group.

by schneeschmelze at Wednesday, 2019-01-09 12:38


TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

TeX-Tagungen 2019

Die Ankündigungen zu drei TeX-Tagungen sind hereingekommen:

by schneeschmelze at Friday, 2019-01-04 23:56


TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

Some TeX Developments, TeX und GitHub, Org-mode 9.2, MediaWiki2LaTeX, Variable Fonts

Das neue TeX-Jahr beginnt mit einem Glückwunsch an Joseph Wright: Nachdem bereits TeX & Friends auf sein Zehnjähriges zurückgeblickt hatte, ist es heute auch für Some TeX Developments soweit, wie wir nebenan lesen.

Das Beispiel zeigt: Die teXnische Blogosphäre hat sich etabliert, auch wenn die Abrufzahlen im Vergleich eher niedrig sind, leisten doch auch die Blogs einen wertvollen Beitrag zur Information und zur Dokumentation über die Mitgliederzeitschriften und die Webforen hinaus.

Joseph Wright hat aber auch noch einmal bekanntgegeben, dass er sein Blog von WordPress auf GitHub Pages umgestellt habe. Dementsprechend liegt der RSS-Feed nun unter https://www.texdev.net/feed.xml, und das eigentliche Blog liegt nicht da, sondern dort. Etwas verwirrend. Aber: Der Trend zu kommentarlosen Blogs hält also an, ich bin nicht der einzige, der es so macht. Und auch der Trend zu Blogs mit statischen Seiten ist ungebrochen.

Bleibt nur zu hoffen, dass es den TeX-Projekten mal nicht auf die Füße fallen wird, dass man in der Zeit ab 2018 so sehr auf GitHub gesetzt hatte. Nach dem LaTeX Project und der englischen TeX-FAQ nun also auch Blogs. Dezentralisierung wäre angesagt.

Der auch von TeX-Anwendern häufig verwendete Org-mode beispielsweise betreibt sein eigenes Git-Repositorium. Zwischen den Jahren wurde Version 9.2 veröffentlicht, die ggf. einige Änderungen in der Konfiguration erforderlich macht. – Beim 35C3 hat es eine Assembly von Karl Voit zu Org-mode gegeben – kein Video, aber die Gliederung zum Vortrag ist veröffentlicht worden, wie sich das halt so gehört für einen Talk zu einem Outliner.

Über MediaWiki2LaTeX hatte ich zuerst (und zuletzt) 2013 geschrieben. Dirk Hünninger hat sein Projekt jetzt in einer neuen Version auf WMFLabs bereitgestellt. Man kann damit nicht nur Seiten aus Wikimedia-Projekten, sondern beliebige MediaWiki-Seiten online nach PDF, EPUB oder ODT wandeln. Der LaTeX-Quelltext kann gezippt heruntergeladen werden. Das Projekt steht unter einer GPL-Lizenz und steht nicht auf GitHub, sondern auf Sourceforge zur Verfügung.

Zum Schluss ein Hinweis auf einen Beitrag zur Typografie: Christoph Zillgens erklärt in t3n , was es mit Variablen Fonts auf sich hat, ein neues OpenType-Feature, das man in der deutschsprachigen Wikipedia noch vergebens sucht, nur die englische und die russische haben dazu einen Artikel. Und natürlich das Typolexikon von Wolfgang Beinert. Seit Ende 2018 sollten demnach alle relevanten Webbrowser Variable Fonts unterstützen, so dass man sie demnächst wohl denn auch häufiger sehen wird.

by schneeschmelze at Tuesday, 2019-01-01 14:02

Some TeX Developments (by Joseph Wright)

Ten years of Some TeX Developments

Just over ten years ago, I decided to establish a blog about TeX matters. After a bit of consideration and searching, I found that texdev.net was available, and decided to call the blog Some TeX Developments.

I’ve written nearly 400 posts since then, from one-liners about the blog itself to extended ‘articles’ on highly-technical aspects of TeX programming. I know that some of the most useful posts are ‘user’ advice, for example comparing TeX Live to MiKTeX, or explaining how overlays work in beamer.

The blog recently moved to GitHub Pages, making it a bit easier for me to run, and to fix older posts. I expect to keep blogging, and look forward to the topics that come up in the next ten years!

Tuesday, 2019-01-01 00:00


TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

Zweimal ConTeXt und Open Access für TUGboat

Stefan Kottwitz weist auf eine neue Einführung zu ConTeXt hin, die Axel Kielhorn auf GitHub veröffentlicht hat. Context-Intro erklärt auf insgesamt 45 Seiten, was es mit der Alternative zu LaTeX auf sich hat. Das PDF ist etwas versteckt in einem Unterverzeichnis zu finden.

Weitere Einführungen findet man übrigens in der Zeitschrift der TeX Users Group TUGboat, in der mindestens 16 Aufsätze zum Thema erschienen sind, zuletzt ConTeXt for beginners von Willi Eggers. Es gibt dort aber sicherlich noch mehr Beiträge, die ConTeXt betreffen, interessant dürfte auch Exporting XML and ePub from ConTeXt von Hans Hagen sein.

Was uns zu der revidierten Open-Access-Policy von TUGboat führt: Seit diesem Jahr ist das Online-Archiv der Zeitschrift allgemein zugänglich. Nur die jeweils neueste Ausgabe bleibt zunächst den Mitgliedern vorbehalten. Viel Stoff zum Stöbern, also. Ein Fundgrube für TeX-Anwender.

Der Trend zum freien Zugriff steht leider in einem gewissen Widerspruch zur Praxis in der TeX-Gemeinde, was die Kommunikation angeht. Man zieht sich immer mehr auf die geschlossenen Kanäle zurück und vernachlässigt die öffentlichen Listen und Newsgroups. So wurde denn auch die Veröffentlichung von Context-intro zuerst in der geschlossenen Vereins-Mitgliederliste von DANTE bekanntgegeben und danach erst anderweitig verbreitet. Der Trend zum digitalen Biedermeier, in dem sich die geschlossenen Hinterzimmer immer weiter ausbreiten, dürfte im ganzen nachteilig für TeX and Friends sein. Ich wurde vor etwa 20 Jahren nicht zuletzt deswegen auf LaTeX aufmerksam, weil die Community damals sehr offen aufgetreten und unmittelbar zugänglich war, jedenfalls zugänglicher als heutzutage. Freie Software gehört ins freie Web.

by schneeschmelze at Sunday, 2018-12-23 22:54


TUGboat 39:3 published

TUGboat volume 39, number 3 (a regular issue) has been mailed to TUG members. It is also available online and from the TUG store. In addition, prior TUGboat issue 39:2 is now publicly available. Please consider joining or renewing your TUG membership if you haven't already.

Sunday, 2018-12-23 18:53


TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

Der TeX Catalogue sucht neue Mitarbeiter

Im Sommer dieses Jahres hatte ich mich von einem Projekt getrennt, das ich 2001 begonnen hatte, den Topic Index zum TeX Catalogue, der das Ziel verfolgte, alle TeX-Pakete im Comprehensive TeX Archive Network CTAN thematisch zu erschließen.

Wir haben den Topic Index auf CTAN in den Obsolete-Zweig verschoben, um ihn zu erhalten, aber gleichzeitig klarzustellen, dass er von nun an nicht mehr aktualisiert werden wird.

Der Grund für meinen Rückzug aus dem Projekt ist kurz erzählt. Der Topic Index war ursprünglich ein reines Prokrastinations-Projekt, das ich während meiner Promotion begonnen hatte, um mich zu zerstreuen und gleichzeitig etwas Gutes für die Gemeinschaft zu tun. Bis dahin gab es noch keine thematisch geordnete Übersicht über die TeX-Pakete. Der TeX Catalogue bestand nur aus automatisch generierten endlos langen Listen, die entweder alphabetisch oder systematisch sortiert ausgegeben und bereitgestellt wurden. Man konnte aber nicht direkt nach einem Paket suchen, das einen bestimmten Zweck erfüllen sollte. Das änderte sich mit dem Topic Index. Von nun an gab es eine weitere endlose Liste, die allerdings thematisch sortiert war. Das war ein großer Fortschritt für die Benutzer. Aber da der Paketbestand auf CTAN erfreulicherweise ständig wächst, muss auch der TeX Catalogue laufend aktualisiert werden. Und hier bin ich im Laufe der Jahre leider immer weniger aktiv gewesen. Mea culpa.

Es war an der Zeit, daraus Konsequenzen zu ziehen, vor allem im Interesse der Benutzer, die sich bei einem offiziellen Angebot wie dem TeX Catalogue vor allem aktuelle Daten erwarten, die mit dem Stand auf CTAN übereinstimmen.

Die aktuellen Angaben zu den TeX-Paketen findet man heutzutage auf dem CTAN-Portal, wo sie auch laufend gepflegt werden, einschließlich einer thematischen Erschließung, wie sie der Topic Index bisher geboten hatte. Das Portal bietet gegenüber der Liste den erheblichen Vorteil einer effizienten Suchfunktion, die zudem den gesamten aktuellen Bestand erfasst. Jedes Paket, das auf CTAN aufgenommen wird, erscheint also auch ohne weitere Verzögerung in der Suche und im thematischen Index.

Aus persönlichen Gründen habe ich mich gegen eine Mitarbeit bei ctan.org entschieden. Man muss auch einmal loslassen können. Meine regelmäßige Kolumne zu den Neuen Paketen auf CTAN in der DTK führe ich aber gerne fort.

Außerdem möchte ich ausdrücklich dazu ermuntern, den Kolleginnen und Kollegen bei ctan.org unter die Arme zu greifen und dort mitzuarbeiten, wenn man sich ein Engagement bei der Pflege der Bestandsdaten vorstellen kann. Das kleine Team kann Hilfe gut gebrauchen.

Näheres zur Geschichte des TeX Catalogues und über eine Mitarbeit bei ctan.org habe ich in einem kleinen Aufsatz in der aktuellen TeXnischen Komödie Nr. 4/2018 zusammengefasst, der den gleichen Namen trägt wie dieser Blogpost.

by schneeschmelze at Sunday, 2018-12-16 00:04



LyX 2.3.2 released.

Second Maintenance Release in 2.3.x Series

Saturday, 2018-12-15 02:10


TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)


Heute ist es zehn Jahre her, dass der erste Blogpost bei TeX & Friends erschien. Damals gab es eine Inhaltsangabe der letzten Ausgabe der TeXnischen Komödie, aber auch schon ein Blick auf das TeX-affine Umfeld in Form von Erweiterungen, die es damals für OpenOffice.org gab. Übrig geblieben ist davon mittlerweile nur noch Writer2LaTeX, das es mittlerweile in Version 1.9.3 alpha gibt.

TeX & Friends war formal mein erstes Blog – wobei ich ja immer die Ansicht vertreten habe, dass das Blog nur eine Spielart des Schreibens in Datennetzen ist. Das Usenet und die Mailinglisten gingen ihm voraus, und wie bei jedem Medienwandel ersetzen neue Medien die alten nicht, sondern ergänzen sie. Die schneeschmelze folgte im Januar 2009, der albatros genau vier Jahre später, aber so richtig erst seit 2015.

Blogs sind Zeugnisse von Übergängen – gesellschaftliche ebenso wie persönliche. Man beginnt ein Blog, man führt es, es entwickelt sich, was die Frequenz und die Inhalte angeht, man schreibt mal mehr, mal weniger, vielleicht schreibt man eines Tages gar nichts mehr oder nimmt das Blog ganz vom Netz. Bekanntschaften entstehen, Blog-Nachbarschaften auch, und lösen sich wieder. Das Netz folgt den Regeln der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft, die „kein anderes Band zwischen Mensch und Mensch übrig gelassen [hat], als das nackte Interesse, als die gefühllose ‚baare Zahlung.‘“ Und das freie Netz, das es vor zehn Jahren durchaus noch gab, gibt es nicht mehr. Die Folge: Immer mehr ziehen sich in virtuelle Hinterzimmer zurück, in ein digitales Biedermeier von geschlossenen Gruppen, geschlossenen Mailinglisten, geschlossen halt. Immer mehr verschließen sich, der Diskurs im Netz, von dem ich einmal ein Teil war, löst sich auf und verschiebt sich in private E-Mail-Verteiler, wo man weiß, an wen man sich wendet. Die Sklavensprache nach außen, die vertraulichen Verteiler als engstes Band nach innen. Und der Ekel vor dem Netz, den Günter Hack im Dezember 2013 ausgemacht hatte, legt sich über all das und bedingt es.

Ich glaube, ich gehöre zu denen, die sich mittlerweile doch wenigstens ein bisschen ausgebloggt und auskommentiert haben. Man ist müde geworden, die 15 minutes of world-fame kennt man schon, und ich wundere mich über die Kolleginnen und Kollegen, denen ich schon so lange folge und die es immer noch schaffen, regelmäßig etwas zu veröffentlichen und immer so weiter zu machen wie früher, und wenn man ihre Blogs mitliest, meint man tatsächlich, es wäre alles noch wie damals, oder jedenfalls ganz ähnlich. Wie wenn da einer… Chapeau! Ich meine das sehr ernst, und etwas depressiv gestimmt, durchaus.

Simone Stratil hat ihr Blog Papiergeflüster im Oktober geschlossen. Ein Jahr, nachdem sie bereits an ihrer Rolle gezweifelt hatte. Zu dieser Buchmesse war es soweit. I bid you farewell.

Bei Robert Basics plötzlichem Tod Anfang November 2018 war dieser stille Punkt zu fühlen, als die Gemeinde, die man in dem Moment zu Recht auch so nennen sollte, Rückschau hielt auf den gemeinsamen Weg, die Richtung unbekannt, und, wenn man es genau nimmt, schon so viele sind zumindest aus dem Blickfeld verschwunden. Die Zeit ist lang geworden. Das „Berliner Buch“ Zero Comments von Geert Lovink datiert von 2008, es ist so alt wie TeX & Friends. Ich stieg also ein, als es schon zuende ging. Pardauz.

Zum Schluss noch ein paar TeX-Neuigkeiten: Die LaTeX News 29 beschreiben den Dezember-2018-Release von LaTeX2e. Und LyX 2.2.3 ist heute veröffentlicht worden.

Zeit für ein Update.

by schneeschmelze at Friday, 2018-12-14 18:11


Typeset In The Future

The Book


Exciting news: there’s a Typeset in the Future book! Typeset in the Future: Typography and Design in Science Fiction Movies was published by Abrams Books on December 11 2018, and is available to buy from all good bookstores.


The book contains new and expanded TITF studies for seven all-time classic science fiction movies, in a form that is beautiful enough to adorn even the most discerning of coffee tables. It’s the perfect holiday present for the design / sci-fi geek in your life, even if that geek happens to be yourself.

Does it include my favorite sci-fi movie, [MovieName]?

For the book, I’ve hand-picked seven classic sci-fi movies, focusing on those that create a detailed vision of the future through design and typography. (The list is also heavily inspired by requests I’ve received on TITF over the past few years.)

Here’s the line-up:

The book also includes interviews with sci-fi, typography, and design experts, including:

  • Paul Verhoeven, director of Total Recall, RoboCop, and Starship Troopers
  • Mike Okuda, scenic art supervisor for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise (plus associated spin-off movies)
  • Ralph Eggleston and Craig Foster, production designer and graphic designer for Pixar’s WALL¡E
  • Stephen Coles, co-founder of Fonts In Use, author of The Anatomy Of Type, and Associate Curator at Letterform Archive
  • Antonio Cavedoni, font designer and expert on Eurostile creator Aldo Novarese

And if that’s not enough, there’s also:

How does the book differ from the web site?

Four existing articles from typesetinthefuture.com have been revised and expanded for the book, with even more geeky detail than the originals. (The book’s 2001: A Space Odyssey chapter already contains twice as much goodness as when I first studied the movie in 2014.) Three new studies have been written entirely from scratch, alongside in-depth interviews with the typography and sci-fi experts listed above.

How can I keep up to date with the project?

You can sign up for the book’s mailing list to receive occasional updates about book-related things. I’m also posting regular updates on Twitter as @daveaddey, along with random fascinating design observations and ephemera.

Awesome – good luck!

Thank you! (And don’t forget to buy a copy.)

by Dave Addey at Tuesday, 2018-12-11 13:52


LaTeX Project

New December 2018 LaTeX release available

December 2018 LaTeX release available

We have released the December 2018 LaTeX distribution to CTAN. From there it will move to the major TeX distributions within a few days.

This release is a maintenance release in which we fixed a number of older and newer issues. The most important ones are documented in “LaTeX2e News Issue 29”. This document can be found on the LaTeX2e news page where you will also find release information for earlier LaTeX releases.

Topics are:

  • Bug reports for LaTeX2e and packages
  • Changes to the LaTeX kernel
  • Changes to packages in the tools category
  • Changes to packages in the amsmath category
  • Website updates

Bug reporting and compatibility mechanism

We like to take the opportunity to thank everybody who provided helpful bug reports using the issue tracker that we are now using. Writing up a good issue report including a clear MWE (Minimal Working Example) takes some effort, but it is also essential to help us identifying and fixing issues. Details on how to report bugs can be found in the article “New rules for reporting bugs in the LaTeX core software”. Please consult this article if you intend to submit a problem.

While I have the stage I would also like to remind package developers and other interested parties to check out the rollback mechanism for packages that we introduced already with the last release. The more packages embrace this approach the better will it work for the users. Details on the rollback concept is given in “A rollback concept for packages and classes”.

Seasonal Greetings — Frank

Monday, 2018-12-10 00:00


Some TeX Developments (by Joseph Wright)

Floating point calculations in LaTeX

TeX does not include any ‘native’ support for floating point calculations, but that has not stopped lots of (La)TeX users wanting to do sums (and more complicated things) in their document. As TeX is Turing complete, it’s not a surprise that there are several ways to implement calculations. For end users, the differences between these are not important: what is key is what to use. Here, I’ll give a bit of background, look at the various possibilities, then move on to give a recommendation.


When Knuth wrote TeX, he had one aim in mind: high-quality typesetting. He also wanted to have sources which were truly portable between different systems. At the time, there was no standard for specifying how floating point operations should be handled at the hardware level: as such, no floating point operations were system-independent.

Knuth decided that TeX would provide no user access to anything dependent on platform-specific floating-point operations. That means that the TeX functions that look like floats (in particular dimen work) actually use integer arithmetic and convert ‘at the last minute’.

Technical considerations

There are two basic approaches to setting up floating point systems in TeX: either use dimensions or doing everything in integer arithmetic.

Using dimensions, the input range is limited and the output has restricted accuracy. But on the other hand, many calculations are quite short and they are fast. On the other hand, if everything is coded in integer arithmetic, the programmer can control the accuracy completely, at the cost of speed.

Although it’s not an absolute requirement, e-TeX does make doing things a bit easier: rather than having to shuffle everything a piece at a time, it is possible to use inline expressions for quite a lot of the work.

Another key technical aspect is expandability. This is useful for some aspects of TeX work, particularly anywhere that it ‘expects a number’: only expansion is allowed in such places.

One other thing to consider is handling of TeX registers as numbers. Converting for example a length into something that can be used in a floating point calculation is handy, and it matches what e-TeX does in for example \numexpr. But in macro code it has to be programmed in.


The other thing to think about here is functionality: what is and isn’t needed in terms of mathematics. Doing straight-forward arithmetic is obviously easier than working out trigonometry, logarithms, etc. What exactly you need depends on the use case, but obviously more functionality is always better.

(Package) options

For simple work using the dimen approach is convenient and fast: it takes only a small amount of work to set up stripping off the pt part. I’m writing here for people who don’t want to delve into TeX innards, so let’s assume a pre-packaged solution is what is required.

There are lots of possible solutions on CTAN which cover some or all of the above. I don’t want to get into a ‘big list’, so I’ll simply note here that the following are available:

Some of these have variable or arbitrary precision, others work to a pre-determined level, and they also vary in terms of functions covered, expandability and so on.

I want to focus in on three possible ‘contenders’: fp, pgf and the LaTeX3 FPU. The fp package formally uses fixed not floating point code, but the key for us here is that it allows a wide range of high-precision calculations. It’s also been around for a long time. However, it’s quite slow and doesn’t have convenient expression parsing (it does reverse Polish).

On the flip side, the mathematics engine in pgf uses dimens internally, so it is (relatively) fast but is limited in accuracy. The range limits also show up in some unexpected places, as a lot of range reduction is needed to make everything work. On the other hand, \pgfmathparse does read ‘normal’ mathematical expressions, so it’s pretty easy to use.

The LaTeX3 FPU is part of expl3, but is available nowadays as a document-level package xfp. In contrast to both fp and the pgf approach, the LaTeX3 FPU is expandable. Like pgf, using the FPU means we can use expressions, and we also get reasonable performance (Bruno Le Floch worked hard on this aspect). The other thing to note is that the FPU is intended to match behaviour specified in the decimal IEEE 754 standard, and that the team have a set of tests to try to make sure things work as expected.

There’s one other option that one must consider: Lua. If you address only using LuaTeX, you can happily break out into Lua and use its ability to use the ‘real’ floating point capabilities of a modern PC. The one wrinkle is that without a bit of work, the Lua code doesn’t know about TeX material: registers and so on need to be pre-processed. It also goes without saying that using Lua means being tied to LuaTeX!


As you can see above, there are several options. However, for end users wanting to do calculations in documents I think there is a clear best choice: the LaTeX3 FPU.

\fpeval{round(sqrt(2) * sind(40),2)}

You’d probably expect me to say that: I am on the LaTeX team. But that’s not the reason. Instead, it’s that the FPU is almost as fast as using dimens (see pgf benchmarking), but offers the same accuracy as a typical GUI application for maths. It also integrates into normal LaTeX conventions with no user effort.

Sunday, 2018-12-09 00:00


Some TeX Developments (by Joseph Wright)

Bringing XeTeX into line

In parallel with work on the \expanded primitive, I’ve been working recently on bringing the ‘utility’ primitives in XeTeX into line with those in pdfTeX, pTeX and upTeX.


XeTeX was written to extend e-TeX to allow full Unicode working, including loading system fonts. The development started from the DVI-mode e-TeX, rather than from pdfTeX, which had added various new primitives to e-TeX. Much of the difference between pdfTeX and e-TeX is directly to do with producing PDF output, but there are some additions that are entirely independent of that.

Over the years, some of the ‘utilities’ have been added to XeTeX (for example \pdfstrcmp, which in XeTeX is just \strcmp). However, several have not made it, but have been added to pTeX and upTeX. That’s meant that XeTeX has between ‘a bit behind’ in feature terms: there are things that simply can’t be done without primitive support.

An opportunity arises

As I’ve said in my other post today, the recent setting up of a Travis-CI testing environment for TeX Live building means that it is now easy to try adding new material to the WEB sources of pdfTeX, XeTeX, etc. As I was working on \expanded anyway, I decided that I’d look at bringing XeTeX back ‘into line’ with pTeX and upTeX. That’s important as for expl3, the LaTeX team have been using almost all of the primitives that were ‘missing’ in XeTeX.

The new features

So what has been added? The new additions are all named without the pdf part that pdfTeX includes, as they have nothing to do with PDFs:

  • \creationdate
  • \elaspsedtime
  • \filedump
  • \filemoddate
  • \filesize
  • \resettimer
  • \normaldeviate
  • \uniformdeviate
  • \randomseed

These enable things like random numbers in the LaTeX3 FPU, measuring code performance and checking the details of files: all stuff that is in expl3 and will now work with XeTeX.

I should add that although I did the grind of working out how to integrate the pdfTeX code into XeTeX, Akira Kakuto sorted out the areas that needed knowledge of C, in particular where XeTeX’s Unicode internals don’t match up with pdfTeX’s 8-bit ones.

One more thing

As well as the above, I made one other minor adjustment to XeTeX: altering how \Ucharcat works so it can create category code 13 (‘active’) tokens. That probably won’t show up for users except it helps the team extend some low-level expl3 code. Hopefully it will mean there is on fewer XeTeX restriction.

Getting the code

TeX Live only gets binary updates once per year, so users there will need to wait for the 2019 release. On the other hand, MiKTeX already has the new features, so if you are on Windows it’s pretty trivial to try out. If you use TeX Live and really want to test out, you can update your binaries in-place, for example from W32TeX: if you understand what that means, you probably know how to do it!

Thursday, 2018-12-06 00:00

A ‘new’ primitive: \expanded

In recent years, development of pdfTeX has been very limited, with the v1.40 branch now being around for over 10 years. However, in the past there were plans for a v1.50 branch, and some code was actually written. One primitive that was fully coded-up at that time was \expanded. The idea of this is pretty simple: it carries out full expansion like \message (and almost like \edef), but it is still expandable. For example, try

\message{Hello \a\space #}
\detokenize\expandafter{\expanded{Hello \a\space #}}

using LuaTeX.

Why is the example for LuaTeX? When LuaTeX development started, the team behind it used the development code from pdfTeX as a starting point, and that included \expanded. However, release pdfTeX itself didn’t incorporate this code, and so it’s not been more widely available.

Enter the LaTeX Team

For some time, the LaTeX Team have been thinking about asking for \expanded to be made more widely available. Unlike the \romannumeral ‘trick’, \expanded does not require any hard work to get ‘past’ any output, so it is very useful for creating macros that work like functions. It’s also fast and clear in intention.

In the past, making requests for changes to the pdfTeX codebase was hard as building and testing is non-trivial. However, nowadays there is a GitHub repo which is also set up for Travis-CI. That means that there is an easy way to test: set up an Ubuntu virtual machine, clone the repo there, and run the tests in the same way Travis-CI does.

With that handy set up available, I sat down (on behalf of the team) and did the hard work: a bit of copy-pasting! As well as pdfTeX, I worked out how to add \expanded to XeTeX and the Japanese TeX engines pTeX and upTeX. After a bit of discussion, this code has been accepted by TeX Live, and will be there in the 2019 release.

Get it now

For those people who want to test now, LuaTeX of course has \expanded, so it is easy to try out. For MiKTeX users, Christian Schenk has already updated all of the binaries, so a quick update will give pdfTeX and XeTeX with \expanded. For TeX Live users, binary updates only happen once a year. But if you want to grab something now, you could look for example at W32TeX (which is the source for Windows binaries in TeX Live): you’ll have to manually rebuild your formats, but if you know enough to want to test, you probably understand that instruction!

Using \expanded

The team have already started planning to use \expanded, and recently added a new expansion type to expl3: e-type. We have some emulation code that allows this to work (slowly) even with older binaries. I’d expect us to make heavy use of this in new functions: it’s a lot easier than the \romannumeral approach.

Thursday, 2018-12-06 00:00


Typeset In The Future


From a trash-filled Earth to the futuristic Axiom and back again, WALL·E is a finely crafted balance between consumerist dystopia and sixties space-race optimism. Please join me, then, for a detailed dive into the uniquely robotic future of a remarkably human film, as seen through the eyes of its eponymous hero, WALL·E.

[This article is from the Typeset in the Future book, which is really very good and you’re probably going to want to buy a copy of. If you’d rather read the article first, don’t worry—I’ll remind you again later on.]

Before we get started, there is an important detail we must clear up. Our hero’s name is not, as you might think, WALL-E. Moreover, it definitely isn’t WALL•E. His name is WALL·E, and that dot is an interpunct, not a hyphen or a bullet.

WALL·E’s front plate, clearly showing his interpunct.

An interpunct is, of course, a vertically centered dot originally used to separate words in Latin and ancient Greek. (Spaces weren’t invented until several centuries later.) The interpunct is still in use today—it’s the official decimal point in British currency (£9·99), and is used to represent the dot product of two vectors in mathematics (x · y). Most relevantly, it’s used in Japanese to separate titles, names, and positions, as in “課長補佐 · 鈴木” (Assistant Section Head · Suzuki). It is therefore entirely appropriate as the separator in WALL·E, which is short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter · Earth Class.

The bold extended typeface seen on WALL·E’s front plate is Gunship, designed by Dan Zadorozny, one of the unsung heroes of modern sci-fi type design. Dan is an amateur type designer from Texas whose Iconian Fonts website features more than six hundred free hand-crafted typefaces, many of which have been used by sci-fi movies, TV shows, and book designers.

In addition to WALL·E’s front plate, Gunship is seen on Earth and aboard the Axiom, the flagship spacecraft of megacorporation Buy n Large (BnL, for short), most notably for robot-facing wall and door typography. Its upper- and lowercase variants include different combinations of cutouts and curve orientations, giving designers flexibility when crafting robot signage. (Strictly speaking, this means that our hero’s name, correctly capitalized, is “waLL·e,” with the interpunct as a further customization—Gunship’s own interpunct is rectangular.)

Gunship (lowercase characters).
Gunship (uppercase characters).

The movie begins with an insight into WALL·E’s typical workday, which is spent building gigantic piles of trash by compacting waste into neat, stackable cubes. After a hard day’s crushing, we follow him on his journey home, learning some useful exposition along the way. This includes a bank of electronic ads for BnL, promoting everything from liquid air to quadruple-patty burgers. Common throughout these ads is an insistence on immediate consumption—“DRINK NOW,” “HUNGRY NOW,” “RUN NOW,” “CONSUME.” And if consuming a product once isn’t enough, you can repeat the experience a second time—the signage seen below includes ads for both “100% Reused Food” and “Regurgi-Shake: Twice the Flavor.”


We’ve seen how corporate mergers, such as Alien’s Weylan Yutani and Blade Runner’s Shimata-Dominguez, are an inevitability in sci-fi futures. WALL·E’s Buy n Large is similar, except that this company was formed by a merger between a frozen yogurt manufacturer (Buy Yogurt) and a maker of suits for the larger gentleman (Large Industries). Clearly a marriage made in heaven, this corporate combination led to a rapid expansion, culminating with Buy n Large owning every company and government in the world.

The Buy n Large logo is an over-italicized customization of Futura Extra Bold Oblique, as demonstrated by a super-distinctive capital G in the BUY N LARGE BANK logotype that WALL·E passes early in the movie.

Futura Pro Extra Bold Oblique, released by Berthold. Original Futura design by Paul Renner.
“BUY N LARGE BANK” signage, set in Futura Extra Bold Oblique, showing its distinctive capital G.

If the red-and-blue logo feels familiar, it shouldn’t be a surprise—it’s because BnL uses the exact same typeface and color scheme as real-world retail giant Costco Wholesale Corporation.

The Costco Wholesale Corporation logo, in Futura Extra Bold Oblique.

There’s another curious BnL subsidiary to be found among the city’s electronic ads, on a beaten-up billboard advertising “Eggman Movers (Creating More Space).” This company is an Easter-egg reference to WALL·E production designer Ralph “Eggman” Eggleston, and it shares the name of the moving company from 1995’s Toy Story, for which Ralph was art director.

Eggman Movers, from 2008’s WALL·E.
Eggman Movers, from 1995’s Toy Story.

The presence of a Buy n Large–branded bank means Buy n Large–branded banknotes, which are unusual for being strewn across the floor of the deserted city. If you look closely at the notes, you’ll see that some of them have “106” in the corner, and are marked “ten million dollars.” Others look to be marked “996,” suggesting that Buy n Large stores continued the classic $9.99 pricing trick even after adding six zeroes to the end of everything. (Indeed, it says much about the Buy n Large approach to consumerism that it prints notes with the 99s already included, to avoid customers having to receive any change.)

$10 million and $99 million bills lie abandoned on the ground near a Buy n Large Bank.

We discover later in the movie that the Axiom left Earth in the year 2105. This suggests that in the preceding years of overconsumption there was a period of severe hyperinflation, making a $10 million note a necessity. This is not without historical precedent—Earth’s most extreme example of hyperinflation occurred in Zimbabwe in November 2008, just a few months after WALL·E’s release, when the inflation rate for the Zimbabwe dollar reached a staggering 79,600,000,000 percent per month. At this point, a single US dollar was equivalent to 2,621,984,228 Zimbabwe dollars. The largest-denomination note printed during this time was the $100 trillion note, which makes Buy n Large’s $10 million bill seem like small change by comparison.

A $100 trillion bill from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, showing some impressively pointy Futura.

WALL·E leaves the bank behind and continues his journey via the disused tracks of the BnL Transit monorail system. In the absence of working trains, these concrete tracks provide a convenient route through the middle of the deserted city.

WALL·E climbs an escalator to a BnL Transit monorail station.

Despite their association with aspirational futures, monorails have been failing to become a global mass-transit system for almost two hundred years. The first passenger monorail opened in 1825 in Cheshunt, England, primarily to transport bricks, though it was also utilized for transporting people, mostly for novelty purposes. Unlike the top-of-rail system seen in WALL·E, Cheshunt’s monorail consisted of carriages suspended beneath an overhead track, and was powered by a single horse.

The Cheshunt style of monorail—with suspended carriages hanging beneath a single rail—was also adopted by the Wuppertal Schwebebahn, which began operation along the Wupper River in Wuppertal, Germany, in 1901. The Wuppertal’s suspended system is still in operation today, carrying more than sixty-five thousand passengers on an average weekday.

A Wuppertal Schwebebahn monorail train arrives at the Werther Brücke station in Wuppertal, 1913.

The monorail seen in WALL·E is of the style popularized by Swedish entrepreneur Axel Wenner-Gren, whose prototype ALWEG (Axel Lennart Wenner-Gren) monorail system came to the attention of Walt Disney after a family visit to Wuppertal gave him monorail fever. Disney saw the potential for a monorail attraction at his new Disneyland theme park in California, and the Disneyland-ALWEG Monorail System opened in June 1959. The system remains in operation today (under the name Disneyland Monorail), and there are similar attractions at Disneyland Tokyo and Walt Disney World in Florida. In total, Disney monorails have transported more than one billion passengers into an aspirational transportational future.

The Disneyland-ALWEG Monorail System at Tomorrowland station, 1963. Photograph by Robert J. Boser, CC BY 3.0.
The Disneyland-ALWEG Monorail System at Disneyland Hotel station, 1963. Photograph by Robert J. Boser, CC BY 3.0.

It’s not entirely clear what US city WALL·E lives in, but the presence of a monorail network certainly positions it as a location that was once optimistic about the future. This mid-century futurism is borne out by other architectural features of the city, most notably a curved building seen among the billboards encountered earlier. This building is strongly reminiscent of the Space Needle observation tower in Seattle, Washington, which was built for the city’s 1962 World’s Fair, together with an ALWEG monorail system that is still in operation today.

Seattle’s ALWEG monorail passing in front of the city’s Space Needle, 2008. Both were built for Seattle’s 1962 World’s Fair. Photograph by Smart Destinations, CC BY-SA 2.0.
A remarkably space-needle-like building seen close to the monorail in WALL·E’s home city.

Near the monorail, WALL·E passes a promotional poster for himself, with the caption “Working to dig you out!” This poster has definite communist propaganda undertones, showing a stylized army of WALL·Es working together to build a brighter future. The implication of this design choice—that communist values are the solution to decades of rampant consumerism—is a pretty bold political statement for what is only the fourth minute of the movie.

Buy n Large poster for WALL·E robots, with the caption “Working to dig you out!”

The future to which these WALL·Es aspire is apparently just above and behind the viewer—a common trope for communist propaganda, where the aspirational group gaze is almost always in this direction.

Chinese communist propaganda poster with the caption “To go on a thousand ‘li’ march to temper a red heart.” A “li” is about 500 meters, so a thousand-li march is about 310 miles.
Soviet communist propaganda poster, with the caption “Let’s raise a generation utterly devoted to the cause of communism!” Designed by Victor Ivanov, 1947.
North Korean propaganda poster, with the caption “The party calls! To important construction!”

Indeed, this gaze is such a common trope that it became the primary styling of the promotional poster for 2014’s banned comedy movie The Interview, in which two Americans travel to North Korea to interview the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un. (The WALL·E poster’s bottom-edge caption, punctuated by an exclamation mark, is a recurring design feature in North Korean propaganda posters.)

Promotional poster for The Interview, with the Korean-language caption “Don’t believe these American bastards!”

This aspirational style is an example of socialist realist design, the officially sanctioned visual aesthetic of the Soviet Union, which positioned broad-shouldered, purposeful workers as the true heroes of the age. As a robot who is literally a rectangle, there is surely no worker more broad-shouldered and purposeful than our movie’s eponymous hero, WALL·E.

WALL·E’s self-promotional poster is also a fine example of Handel Gothic, one of the movie’s supporting typefaces. Originally designed in 1965 by Donald J. Handel, the font has become a mainstay of design futurism. (Indeed, it is quite possibly the originator of one of our rules for futuristic type: Make straight things curved.)

Handel Gothic Com Bold, from Linotype. Handel Gothic was originally designed in 1965 by Donald J. Handel for FotoStar.

My favorite use of the typeface in WALL·E occurs later in the movie, when we see the distinctly curved E of some Handel Gothic… on a handle. (I refuse to believe this is anything but a deliberate typographic joke.)

“Handle” Gothic.

Handel Gothic enjoyed a particular resurgence when the type family was expanded in the 1980s, and will be immediately familiar to anyone who visited EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World in Florida, which opened in 1982. (Later in this article, we’ll look in detail at the theme park, which is now named simply Epcot.) The original EPCOT Center logo was Handel Gothic all the way, making particularly good use of a lowercase n in “Center” to bring some extra curviness, and choosing a font variant with a curved leg in its R for consistency. (It also added letter joining and slicing for good futuristic measure.)

Original logo for the EPCOT Center theme park at Walt Disney World, Florida.

Handel Gothic will also be familiar to Star Trek fans, from its appearance in the credits for both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–99) and Star Trek: Voyager (1995–2001).

Opening credits from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Emissary,” showing some shiny metallic Handel Gothic (in this case, with a straight-legged R).
Opening credits from the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Unimatrix Zero: Part II,” showing Handel Gothic with a similarly straight-legged R.

The movie that made Handel Gothic synonymous with sci-fi, however, was almost certainly Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, released in 1977. Close Encounters used the typeface for its theatrical poster and for its opening credits, with the very words “Close Encounters” offering not one but three opportunities to recognize Handel Gothic’s trademark E.

Opening credits to 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

But back to WALL·E’s journey. Toward the end of his trek home, he passes many more WALL·E units, all of them rusted and dead. The sole remaining WALL·E happily cannibalizes a Caterpillar track from a nearby broken unit to replace his own damaged part, and motors onward with the new track in place.

It’s an easy detail to miss, but WALL·E’s home is a broken-down “BnL WALL·E Transport” vehicle, which may once have housed all the dead units he just passed. When he reverses himself into a WALL·E-size bin in a rotatable storage rack a few minutes later and rocks himself to sleep, his loneliness as the last robot on Earth is made all the more acute by the uninhabited bins around him, now filled with ordered trash.

Defunct WALL·E units litter the landscape, becoming part of the trash they once existed to clear.
A hulking WALL·E TRANSPORT, ironically rendered immobile by the piles of trash surrounding it.
WALL·E tucks himself into a transportation bin, as the last remaining unit still able to do so. Where there once would have been many more WALL·E’s, there is now simply ordered trash.

Before he climbs into bed, WALL·E retrieves his favorite VHS cassette from a nearby toaster, and pops it into a VCR. It turns out this is a beaten-up copy of Hello, Dolly!—1969’s awkwardly punctuated Jerry Herman musical. Delightfully, the typography of this cassette is taken directly from the movie’s 1991 VHS release, though the identity of its non-futuristic title font—half Century Schoolbook, half Benguiat Caslon—has sadly eluded my detective skills.

WALL-E’s much-watched copy of Hello, Dolly!
The front cover of 1991’s US VHS release of Hello, Dolly!

WALL·E watches his Hello, Dolly! cassette via a small, portable device that looks almost exactly like an Apple iPod Video. I say “almost,” because the real-world iPod Video had a smaller click wheel than the one seen in WALL·E, had white labels on its buttons, and did not support external playback from a VHS cassette player. Nonetheless, this iPod is just one example of many in WALL·E’s home that evoke nostalgia for gadgets past, reinforcing that WALL·E himself is the discarded, unwanted technology that humanity left behind.

WALL·E’s iPod, showing Hello, Dolly! on its LCD color screen.

To work around the tiny scale of his iPod’s screen, WALL·E uses a plastic Fresnel lens as a magnifying device to enlarge the image to several times its original size. In doing so, he follows a trend started in Terry Gilliam’s similarly dystopian Brazil, in which employees at the Ministry of Information Retrieval huddle around tiny CRT screens to watch westerns through Fresnel lenses when their boss isn’t looking.

WALL·E watches a movie on his iPod’s small screen through a rectangular Fresnel lens.
In 1985’s Brazil, Ministry of Information employees watch movies on a small CRT screen through a rectangular Fresnel lens.

WALL·E awakes from robotic sleep on day two of the movie, low on power and dynamism. The fact that his head is a big pair of binoculars gives a great opportunity for a visual gag, as we see him literally bleary-eyed before activating the zoom lock on first his left eye, then his right, to reveal an eye-test chart in the opposing rack.

From his bleary beginnings…
…WALL·E focuses first his left eye…
…and then his right, locking in on an eye test chart in the distance.

WALL·E’s binocular form is mimicked in the shape of his heads-up display (or HUD), which has the classic “two circles” shape used in many movies to indicate that we are looking from a character’s viewpoint through a pair of binoculars. This HUD raises an interesting question, however. Why does WALL·E have a heads-up display, with information overlaid on a video stream? A heads-up display really makes sense only if you are a human who has eyes; for a robot, any video input is combined with additional metadata from environmental sensors (such as direction, zoom, and power), and fed directly into the robot’s processor. Overlaying environmental information on a video stream implies that the robot has cameras that look at the world, and then more cameras that look at the augmented output of those cameras, which doesn’t make sense at all.

The answer, of course, is that WALL·E has a HUD because movie robots have HUDs, and movie robots have HUDs because they enable the viewer to visualize what the robots are thinking, even if it makes zero sense in technical reality. This trope began in 1973’s Westworld, whose final act shows us the world from the vantage point of Yul Brynner’s gun-slinging robot. Although Brynner’s HUD is not augmented with data, it is nonetheless the first use of computer-generated imagery in a feature film. Director Michael Crichton cuts several times from a real-world scene to the robot’s pixelated version of the same, including a thermal image when Brynner chases his prey in the movie’s final act.

A canyon in Westworld…
…and Yul Brynner’s pixellated view of the same.
Yul Brynner’s gunslinging robot tracks its prey with a thermal imaging interpretation of its video input.

Westworld’s “robot viewpoint” trope was codified by 1984’s The Terminator and 1987’s RoboCop, both of which augmented their HUDs with additional data and text. Following these two movies, a heads-up display pretty much became the de facto expectation for any on-screen robot whose motives need to be understood.

A HUD screen from the T-800 Terminator, in 1984’s The Terminator. Here, the T-800 is determining an appropriate auditory response to a question from its apartment’s superintendent.
A HUD screen from the OCP Crime Prevention Unit 001, in 1987’s RoboCop. Here, RoboCop’s visual tracking system is being put through its paces by detecting the location of a pen. (Note that RoboCop’s HUD has highly visible scan lines, to make sure we know we are watching a live video stream in a movie.)

Pixar’s robot HUDs tend to include the shape of the robot’s eye(s) within the heads-up display, to help us associate the HUD with the character it represents. The Incredibles’ Omnidroid predates WALL·E’s binoculars in this regard. Other WALL·E robots—M-O, SECUR-T, and EVE—also follow suit.

The Incredibles’ Omnidroid has a HUD that makes the droid’s desire for self-preservation clear via some on-screen Eurostile Oblique. It also demonstrates the Pixar trend (continued in WALL·E) for HUDs to match the shapes of their robots’ eye(s).
The SECUR-T sentry robot’s eye in WALL·E is explicitly a camera, as reinforced by a SLR (single-lens-reflex)-camera-like HUD when taking a CAUTION photo of WALL·E’s rogue robots.
EVE’s curved, lined HUD mirrors the curved, lined styling of her eyes and face.
M-O’s wide, flat eye-panel shape is mirrored in his wide, flat on-screen HUD display. This shape, of course, requires his HUD to use a certain wide, flat typeface for its informative text.

Pixar’s neatest variation on the robot HUD trope occurs all the way back in 1999’s Toy Story 2, where a plastic toy’s marketing gimmick (plus some clever camera framing) enables us to literally see through the eyes of the movie’s robotic bad guy.

Evil Emperor Zurg, arch-enemy of Buzz Lightyear, in 1999’s Toy Story 2.
As Buzz runs away from Zurg, a camera move brilliantly subverts the robot HUD trope…
…turning a plastic toy’s “LOOK HERE” scope…
…into the bad guy’s evil robot HUD…
…complete with ZURG VISION logo in Eurostile Bold Oblique.

There is one further question raised by WALL·E’s binocular HUD. How does his directional compass—seen at the top center of his HUD—continue to work when he is aboard the Axiom? Lots of planets may have a north, but the same is not true of spacecraft—north, south, east, and west make sense only when you’re on the surface of a sphere.

A detail from WALL·E’s binoculars when onboard the Axiom. This compass direction indicator, from the top of the viewport, updates as he rotates, despite the notable absence of a planet.

Day two (and act two) of WALL·E see a Buy n Large scout ship arrive on Earth, disrupting WALL·E’s routine. Most importantly, it introduces us to EVE, who is everything WALL·E is not. EVE’s shiny white design is technologically advanced; she’s the curvy iMac G4 to WALL·E’s boxy Mac 128K. Her design evokes sleek Apple products of the 2000s, with her head, in particular, highly reminiscent of a 2002 iMac G4’s base. Even her reboot sound is a futuristic take on Apple’s famous startup chime, whereas WALL·E’s post-charge chime is the version Apple introduced in 1998 and removed altogether in 2016.

WALL·E sees EVE for the first time, as she is released from her transporter pod to begin scanning Earth.
Side view of an iMac G4,
released in 2002, with an EVE-head-like base.
An Apple Macintosh 128k, released in 1984, with a WALL·E-like beige body. Photograph by Ian Muttoo, CC BY-SA 2.0.

EVE’s evocation of Apple product design is not entirely coincidental. In a 2008 interview with Fortune magazine, director Andrew Stanton stated: “I wanted EVE to be high-end technology—no expense spared—and I wanted it to be seamless and for the technology to be sort of hidden and subcutaneous. The more I started describing it, the more I realized I was pretty much describing the Apple playbook for design.” This led to a 2005 call to Steve Jobs—at that time, both owner of Pixar and CEO of Apple—which in turn led to Apple design head Jony Ive spending a day at the Pixar headquarters in Emeryville, consulting on the EVE prototype. (It is surely entirely coincidental that EVE’s wireless arms and hands are reminiscent of Apple’s wireless Magic Mouse, released the year after WALL·E.)

Eve’s wirelessly-connected fingers and hands, as seen in 2008’s WALL·E.
Apple’s wireless Magic Mouse, released in 2009. Photograph by Yutaka Tsutano, CC BY 2.0.

During a dust storm, WALL·E takes EVE back to the safety of his home, where he presents her with a small multicolored cube. In the three seconds the camera pans away for WALL·E to retrieve Hello, Dolly!, EVE solves the Rubik’s Cube and returns it to her astonished host.

WALL·E presents EVE with a Rubik’s Cube from his trash collection.

EVE’s cube-solving time would be impressive for a human; the current world record is 4.22 seconds, set by Feliks Zemdegs in May 2018. Sadly, because of the camera pan, we’ll never know if EVE broke the world record for a robot, which currently stands at a mind-boggling 0.637 seconds. This record was set in November 2016 by Sub1 Reloaded, a cube-solving robot built by German engineer Albert Beer. Six high-performance stepper motors turned the cube twenty-one times to complete the task, averaging just 0.03 seconds per rotation.

Sub1 Reloaded, the world-record-holding Rubik’s Cube robot, in November 2016.

Spare a thought, then, for poor WALL·E. His surprise at EVE’s accomplishment is understandable—he lacks color vision and has only three digits on each hand, which means that Rubik’s Cubes are really not his specialty. (There’s a reason Guinness doesn’t have a “fastest dog” Rubik’s Cube category.)

One other point of note: This scene is the only time the color green appears in WALL·E in a scene unrelated to a plant. While this breaks the movie’s careful color scripting, it’s worth it for a good gag.

All seems to be going well with WALL·E and EVE’s introductions, until they are rudely interrupted by EVE’s spotting a plant that WALL·E has excavated from the trash. She subsumes the plant, as per her “directive,” and enters hibernation mode. WALL·E’s attempts to wake her invariably end in comedic pain, though one of them does reveal EVE’s serial number, 051682, set in Handel Gothic. (I can’t help but wonder whether someone in Pixar’s art department was born on May 16, 1982.)

EVE’s serial number, seen on the inside of the door above, is 051682.

WALL·E gives up on reviving EVE and disconsolately returns to his trash-crushing routine. Shortly afterward, the Axiom’s scout ship returns to Earth and collects EVE to take her home. Desperate not to lose his new friend, WALL·E hitches a ride on the outside of the scout, causing him grief when the ship blasts through Earth’s surrounding satellite trash. As the satellites fall away, we see that WALL·E has a Soviet-era Sputnik 1 satellite on his head. This is impressive, especially given that Sputnik 1—the first man-made object to orbit Earth—burned up on reentry to Earth’s atmosphere in 1958.

As the Axiom scout ship breaks through Earth’s satellites…
…WALL·E is briefly left with Sputnik 1 on his head.
A replica of the Sputnik 1 satellite, showing its 58cm-diameter aluminum sphere and four spindly antennas

We see Sputnik 1 again later in the movie, as a model in Captain McCrea’s display cabinet. This model is accompanied by a NASA space shuttle launch/entry helmet, as worn by space shuttle astronauts between 1982 and 1986 during launch and return from space.

A space shuttle launch/entry helmet and a Sputnik model in Captain McCrea’s display case.
Payload specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe is briefed on the space shuttle’s launch/entry helmet during training for the January 1986 launch of flight STS-51L.

This “retro space tech” theme can also be seen on Earth during EVE’s scan for plant life. After scanning a Toy Story Pizza Planet truck and a portable lavatory, EVE checks a rusting Apollo command module before slamming the door shut in disgust at its absence of plant-based life.

A BnL-branded Apollo-style command module in a pile of trash on Earth.
The Apollo 14 command module, nicknamed “Kitty Hawk,” at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photograph by gordonplant, CC BY 2.0.

Showing recent space technology as trash or as museum pieces positions our personal experiences of space as archaic and quaint in comparison to the Axiom’s futuristic styling. This further reinforces WALL·E’s own obsolescence as a discarded piece of technology, and sets us up neatly for a transition to the shiny futurism of the Axiom.

The Axiom paints a vision of the future where every menial task, no matter how small, has a dedicated robot created expressly for the purpose. Like 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL and Alien’s MU/TH/UR, all these robots have cute acronyms to make them human-friendly.

SAUT-A (chefbot).
Microbe Obliterator, or M·O.
VAQ-M (vacuumbot), BUF-4 (bufferbot), and SPR-A (spraybot).
HAN-S (massagebot), and PR-T (beauticianbot).
SR-V (tennisbot).
BIRD-E (golfbot).
SECUR-T (stewardbot).
BURN-E (maintenancebot), shortly after being locked out of the Axiom by WALL·E and EVE.
GO-4 (gopherbot).
Waste Allocation Load Lifter · Axiom Class, or WALL·A.
NAN-E (nannybot).

Of particular note is VN-GO, the painterbot, whose acronym perpetuates a common yet incorrect pronunciation of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh’s surname. (According to the BBC Pronunciation Unit, it is “van Gokh,” with the kh pronounced like the ch in the Scottish word loch.)

VN-GO (paintbot).

EVE’s acronym, sadly, is even worse. Her denomination as Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator could not be more inaccurate, given that her entire reason for existing is to evaluate vegetation on the planet Terra (as Earth is known in Latin). Presumably, her moniker was chosen for cuteness rather than linguistic accuracy—after all, this movie is about WALL·E and EVE, not WALL·E and TVE.

Also of note is TYP-E, a typingbot who is designed solely to press keys when someone approaches the elevator shaft to the captain’s quarters. TYP-E provides an excuse for one of the movie’s best visual gags—as a robot, he has a keyboard made entirely, of course, from ones and zeroes.

TYP-E (typingbot).
In a brief over-the-shoulder shot, we see that TYP-E’s keyboard is made entirely from keys labeled 1 and 0.

M-O’s cleaning colleagues (VAQ-M, SPR-A, and BUF-4) may bring back memories for fans of 1997’s The Fifth Element. In Luc Besson’s over-the-top vision of the future, evil industrialist Zorg demonstrates his own array of task-specific robots by dropping a glass tumbler on the floor to trigger their “lovely ballet.” As two sentrybots stand guard, a sweeperbot, a spraybot, and a bufferbot clean up his mess before returning to a nearby storage station.

The Fifth Element pre-empts WALL·E’s cleaning robots with its own sweeperbot…
…and bufferbot.

The Axiom’s robots travel around the ship via their own dedicated corridors, separate from the craft’s passenger areas. These passenger areas are split into three classes—economy, coach, and elite—each of which has a distinct architectural style. The classes themselves do not play a functional role in the movie’s plot, but one has to wonder what they mean for the Axiom’s society. Are children born into the classes their ancestors originally purchased, as if into some kind of futuristic caste system? Would the Axiom have its own Titanic moment if a passenger from economy bumped hover chairs with someone from elite? One thing’s certain: The styling of each class is extremely useful for helping viewers orient themselves within the ship’s overall structure as the action moves back and forth along its length.

Our introduction to the passenger area starts with the economy deck, which is compact, angular, and concrete in texture and color. Its palette is deliberately sparse, rarely moving outside the Buy n Large blue, red, and white, and making extensive use of the corporation’s Futura Extra Bold Oblique.

The economy deck, as seen by WALL·E shortly after his arrival on the Axiom. Apart from a few hints of yellow, it follows the BnL corporate color scheme exclusively, with plenty of Futura Extra Bold Oblique.
The economy deck, as seen when Captain McCrea announces the Axiom’s 700-year anniversary.

The deck’s design is highly reminiscent of the interior of the Contemporary Tower at Walt Disney World Contemporary Resort, whose A-frame concrete-and-steel structure was so futuristic when it opened in 1971 that it even had a monorail running through the middle. (As anyone who has stayed at the Contemporary can attest, however, its rates can hardly be considered “economy.”)

Interior of the Contemporary Tower at Walt Disney World Contemporary Resort, as it looked in 2011. The blue raised platform on the right is a monorail station with a green-line monorail currently boarding. Photograph by Sam Howzit, CC BY 2.0.

The coach deck, unlike the economy deck, is curved, eclectic, and spacious, with brightly colored holo-ads scattered everywhere. It mimics Las Vegas’s Strip in gaudiness and style, with artificial neon colors used extensively and every sign encouraging Axiom passengers to spend more money. (How the ship’s financial economy continues to function after a seven-hundred-year flight continues to remain a mystery.)

The central mall area of the Axiom’s coach deck, with garish, over-saturated holographic ads and signs.
Las Vegas Strip at night
A section of the Las Vegas Strip at night, showing a similar palette of over-saturated cyan, purple, pink, and yellow hues, combined with omnipresent ads encouraging consumption. Photograph by rabbit75_ist.

The ceiling of the coach deck is a gigantic animated screen that can switch between day and night, complete with a BnL-branded sun or moon. The ceiling’s relationship to actual time is somewhat tenuous, as we see when Captain McCrea winds the sky back from 12:30 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. in order to make his morning announcements. In this regard, the ceiling is essentially an amalgam of two Las Vegas landmarks: the painted cloud ceilings of the Forum indoor arcade at Caesars Palace, whose lighting ebbs and changes without ever making it nighttime enough for you to want to stop buying things, and the four-block-long overhead screen of the Fremont Street Experience—the world’s largest video screen—whose 12.5 million LEDs illuminate Vegas partygoers every night. The result is an entirely fake sky for the Axiom’s population, allowing finely tuned control over their artificial environment.

The coach deck’s sky dome ceiling, transitioning from midday to early morning.
The painted, vaulted ceiling of the Forum Shops arcade at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. Photograph by anokarina, CC BY-SA 2.0.
The four-block-long LED ceiling of the Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas. Photograph by dconvertini, CC BY-SA 2.0.

The coach deck leads to the elite deck, whose styling resembles that of a high-class lido or spa. Despite their very different palettes, the coach and elite decks share a curved, futuristic environmental styling that unifies their overall architecture. According to production designer Ralph Eggleston, the architecture of this shared area is inspired by the work of architect Santiago Calatrava, whose signature curved supports and arches can be seen throughout both decks’ central concourse.

Close-up of the arched supports in the central coach deck plaza.
Transitional area between the coach and elite decks, showing arched supports around the central transportation line.
Café Calatrava, Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, completed in 2001. Photograph by Peter Alfred Hess, CC BY 2.0.
Concourse and roof supports, Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport Railway Station, Colombier-Saugnieu, France. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, completed in 1994. Photograph by Ingolf, CC BY-SA 2.0.
An arched glass half-dome in the coach deck’s food court.
Close-up of the base of the captain’s control tower, showing its arched, glass-fronted entrance.
Exterior detail, Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, completed in 2001. Photograph by joevare, CC BY-ND 2.0.
Arched exterior of the Adán Martín Auditorio de Tenerife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, completed in 2003. Photograph by Rick Ligthelm, CC BY 2.0.

The other main influence for the Axiom’s architecture is the design of the Tomorrowland area of Disneyland, in California. According to production designer Ralph Eggleston, during the movie’s production WALL·E’s design team visited an exhibition of Tomorrowland concept art and took inspiration from the designs therein. Perhaps the most obvious of these influences is the presence of a PeopleMover transportation system running through the middle of the club and elite decks, in a style very similar to the PeopleMover at Tomorrowland. (Do check out DaveLandWeb’s fantastic PeopleMover photo page for some great examples of the original in action.)

The club deck’s circular PeopleMover loading area.
Raised PeopleMover tracks running along the length of the club deck.

The evolution of Disney’s PeopleMover concept began with the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair, for which the Ford Motor Company asked Disney to design an attraction to compete with General Motors’ Futurama II exhibit. The resulting Magic Skyway gave fairgoers an opportunity to ride in a driverless Ford convertible—including the just-launched Ford Mustang—through a diorama that transported them from prehistoric times to a futuristic space city.

Following its success at the World’s Fair, the traction system behind Magic Skyway was adapted into a new feature for Tomorrowland’s 1967 relaunch. The new attraction, known as the WEDway PeopleMover, enabled Walter Elias Disney to follow Axel Lennart Wenner-Gren (of ALWEG monorail fame) in naming a futuristic transportation mechanism with his initials. It also provided an ideal inspiration for the Axiom’s central transport system.

The Axiom’s PeopleMover has much in common with its WEDway counterpart. Both are focused on a main circular loading area in the heart of a central plaza, with a long, straight stretch of track extending away from the loading deck. Both give passengers a tantalizing view of surrounding attractions as they are transported from one area to another. Indeed, I am sure Walt Disney would have been delighted to see his dream of future transportation integrated into the Axiom’s space-age environment, especially given that Disneyland’s PeopleMover was a prototype for Walt’s grander vision of futuristic living. Walt planned to build a larger PeopleMover installation as part of his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT—a new and futuristic city to be created from scratch at his planned Disney World Resort in Florida.

In October 1966, Walt recorded a short film pitching his “Florida Project” to industrialists and legislators, including a detailed description of EPCOT’s transportation system. In this new city, cars and trucks were to be pushed underground, with the community’s twenty thousand residents instead traveling by WEDway and monorail to work, play, and socialize. The concept images below from Walt’s EPCOT film give an idea of just how much imagination the creative brains at WED Enterprises applied, under Walt’s careful guidance, to everyday living challenges.

EPCOT’s transportation was planned on a radial system, as this schematic from Walt’s EPCOT film demonstrates. City residents use a series of PeopleMover systems (shown here as light blue spokes) to travel from their homes on the outskirts of the city to the central transport hub. Should they need to travel to other parts of Disney World, they then transfer to a high-speed monorail system (shown here in red).
Concept art showing one half of EPCOT’s main transportation lobby. The longer-distance monorail service (right) runs through the center of the lobby, with shorter-distance WEDway PeopleMover services departing from the edges of the lobby (left). Cars and trucks are pushed underground into lower levels of the city’s transportation network (bottom).
Concept art from the EPCOT film, showing a PeopleMover and Monorail passing through the city’s central shopping district.
In Walt’s EPCOT proposal, the city’s WEDway PeopleMovers (shown here as light blue spokes) transport residents through the city’s greenbelt, past sports facilities and schools…
…to residential areas in the city’s suburban districts, complete with footpaths and children’s play areas.

Tragically, Walt Disney died less than two months after his EPCOT introduction was filmed, passing away before the pitch was screened and before New Tomorrowland opened to the public. His ambitious vision of a prototype community did not become a reality, but its name lives on in the Epcot theme park (formerly “EPCOT Center”) at Walt Disney World in Florida—although the eventual EPCOT park became more of a permanent World’s Fair than a real-life city of the future. The WEDway PeopleMover did not realize its potential, either: The Disneyland attraction closed in 1995, to be replaced by the faster (but short-lived) Rocket Rods ride, which itself closed in 2001.

Disneyland park-goers can still see the PeopleMover’s abandoned tracks snaking through Tomorrowland, displaying curved, arched supports that Santiago Calatrava would surely approve of. (Thankfully, a PeopleMover can still be experienced at the Magic Kingdom park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, where the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover continues to provide a leisurely tour of nearby attractions.)

An overhead section of the now-disused PeopleMover track in Tomorrowland, seen in 2009. Photograph by Loren Javier, CC BY-ND 2.0.

Of course, the PeopleMover also lives on via the Axiom, whose reimagining of the concept is almost a microcosm of Walt’s vision for EPCOT. Aboard the Axiom, it’s a PeopleMover (not a monorail) that fulfills the role of high-speed arterial transport, with individual BnL hover chairs completing the “final mile” of the journey via preset illuminated paths (blue for humans, white for robots, red for stewardbots). It may not match the scale of Disney’s EPCOT dream, but it’s nonetheless fitting that Walt’s vision of a transportational future made the trip into space.

Illuminated paths provide hover-chair routes throughout the Axiom
…defining a “final mile” pathway to each passenger’s room. Here, the normally blue “human” pathways have turned bright green to indicate that plant life has been found and the Axiom is preparing to return to Earth.

During WALL·E’s tour of the passenger decks, we discover that the Axiom’s computer is voiced by none other than Alien’s Ellen Ripley. Casting Sigourney Weaver as the disembodied voice of a space-based computer is clearly ironic, especially given her experience with such voices in Alien and Aliens. WALL·E ups the irony by having Weaver narrate not one but two scenes that would feel all too familiar to her xenomorph-hunting counterpart, triggering bonus space-peril associations for Alien fans. (Weaver also plays a disembodied voice in Andrew Stanton’s Finding Dory, aping her narration of nature documentaries.)

“Twenty seconds to self-destruct,” says Ripley, as WALL·E tries in vain to stop his LifePod’s self-destruct sequence.
Ripley knows what she’s talking about—she was counted down to self-destruction herself in Alien.
“Activating airlock disposal,” says Ripley, as EVE and WALL·E try to avoid being sucked out of an industrial-sized airlock…
…with spinning red lights around the sides.
Ripley knows what she’s talking about—she narrowly avoided airlock doom herself in Aliens.

Alien and Aliens are not the only sci-fi movies to get a nod from WALL·E. On the Axiom bridge, we meet AUTO, the ship’s autopilot robot. It might be hard to believe just by looking at him, but AUTO is actually an Evil Space-Based Computer. His design is clearly influenced by a certain other ESBC—that central red eye is a direct reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL, giving an immediate signal that this robot is not to be trusted.

AUTO, the Axiom autopilot. Aspects of his design may be familiar to those of you who have read the 2001 article.
HAL, the Discovery One autopilot. Aspects of his design may be familiar to those of you who are reading this WALL·E article.

AUTO’s physical similarity to HAL gives him a practical similarity, too. On the rare occasions we see the world from AUTO’s vantage point, we get an extreme fish-eye view of the surrounding area, just as we did for HAL in 2001. WALL·E combines HAL’s fish-eye view with The Terminator’s red HUD hue, making AUTO’s evil intent doubly clear to any discerning fan of sci-fi.

AUTO’s fish-eye view, from WALL·E.
HAL’s fish-eye view, from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

AUTO and HAL belong to a long-standing tradition of sci-fi automata whose glowing red eye(s) give away their evil nature. They really are everywhere in sci-fi movies—from the Model 101 in The Terminator, via the replicants in Blade Runner, to the evil wriggly thing inserted into Neo’s belly button in The Matrix.

After having all of its skin burnt off in a fire, The Terminator’s T-800 displays some impressive evil red eyes.
The evil wriggly thing that works its way into Neo’s belly in The Matrix has a trademark evil red eye.
The sentinels in The Matrix take evil red eyes to a whole new level.

That red glow has its benefits, however. You can always tell when an evil robot has been finally defeated from the fact that its red eye(s) slowly fade to black. The Terminator’s T-800, The Matrix’s wriggly thing, and WALL·E’s AUTO all follow this trope when deactivated.

As The Terminator’s T-800 is squished beneath the sheets of an industrial steel press, its evil red eye fades slowly to black.
After removing the wriggly thing from Neo’s belly, Trinity discards it in the rain, where its evil red eye fades slowly to black.
After switching the Axiom from autopilot to manual control, AUTO’s evil red eye fades slowly to black.

AUTO may look like the movie’s bad guy, but his actions are simply an example of artificial intelligence following its programming too literally. To understand his motives, we must remember that BnL’s original plan was for its star liners to return to Earth as soon as an EVE probe found proof that life was once more sustainable. Five years after their departure, however, BnL autopilots were sent a directive by CEO Shelby Forthright telling them to keep their craft in space indefinitely, because the cleanup process on Earth was not going to succeed. Six hundred and ninety-five years later, with no subsequent instructions to the contrary, AUTO is simply following this command to the letter, blocking any and all attempts to return to Earth.

In this regard, AUTO is eerily similar to 2001’s HAL, whose murderous tendencies aboard the Discovery were similarly driven by an inability to reconcile a contradiction in his programming. In the movie’s sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, we learn that the basic purpose of HAL’s design was “the accurate processing of information without distortion or concealment.” We also discover that HAL was instructed (via Directive NSD 342/23) to lie to Dave and Frank about the real reason for the Discovery’s mission. After lip-reading that they planned to disconnect him, HAL determined that the only logical way for him to both keep processing and avoid lying was for Dave and Frank to die.

AUTO’s own instruction is Directive A113, whose numbering may sound familiar to Pixar fans. “A113” appears in every Pixar film, from a family license plate in Toy Story to an underwater camera model in Finding Nemo. (Indeed, it’s even in Brave, where the roman numerals ACXIII appear carved just above the front door of a witch’s hut.) The reason for its repeated inclusion is that room A1-13 was the classroom for the Character Animation Program at the California Institute of the Arts, where Pixar alumni John Lasseter, Pete Docter, and Andrew Stanton studied. (This explains why it’s also the number on the door of Riley’s classroom in Inside Out, and on the Scaring 101 classroom door in Monsters University.) WALL·E may be its highest-profile outing, but it’s there in every Pixar movie if you keep your eyes peeled.

AUTO triggers Directive A113.

The majority of WALL·E’s robots are voiced by Ben Burtt, the Academy Award-winning sound designer and creator of R2D2’s bleeps. AUTO’s voice, however, is provided by MacInTalk, a speech synthesis technology first used to announce the Apple Macintosh computer in January 1984. (You may also recognize MacInTalk as the lead vocalist on Radiohead’s “Fitter Happier,” from 1997’s OK Computer album.)

MacInTalk’s inclusion in WALL·E makes it one of only two Apple voice synthesis technologies to star in a feature film; the other is Siri, who provides the voice for ’Puter, Batman’s high-tech assistant in The LEGO Batman Movie.

“‘Puter”, Batman’s Siri-based computer assistant, from The LEGO Batman Movie. (The Batmobile’s interfaces are, perhaps inevitably, set in Eurostile Bold.)

Despite the technology’s age, I’m happy to report that MacInTalk voices still ship with macOS today. If you’d like to turn your Mac into an Evil Space-Based Computer, simply open the System Preferences application, select Accessibility and then Speech, and enable the “Ralph” system voice.

In addition to AUTO, there are two more nods to 2001: A Space Odyssey in WALL·E, both of which take advantage of preexisting associations for dramatic or comedic effect. The first is WALL·E’s brief escapade in a LifePod, the design of which seems clearly inspired by 2001’s EVA pods. That iconic ball-like shape immediately triggers an association with interstellar peril, which WALL·E soon discovers is entirely justified.

One of the Discovery’s EVA pods is activated in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
One of the Axiom’s LifePods is activated in WALL·E.
The pod design in 2001 has many similarities with its WALL·E counterpart…
…though it does not (as far as we know) include an optional satellite dish, parachute, flare set, or inflatable life raft.

The second 2001 reference is a knowing usage of Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra, when Captain McCrea becomes the first human to stand up and walk in possibly hundreds of years. It’s an appropriate enough use of the music—2001’s monoliths oversee (and supposedly trigger) several leaps in mankind’s evolution, so it’s entirely valid to hear those famous chords when the captain makes his first steps (even though this is technically a regression, not an evolution).

Determined to tackle the mutinous AUTO, Captain McCrea steadies himself…
…and drags himself to his feet, to the tune of Also sprach Zarathustra.

Of course, WALL·E is not alone in riffing on Strauss’s classic melody. It is similarly parodied in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (as a 2001 monolith turns into a bar of chocolate) and Zoolander (as Hansel considers smashing Mugatu’s iMac with a nearby bone). If that’s not enough, it’s also in Pixar’s Toy Story 2 and Cars 3, plus other animated movies including Kung Fu Panda 3, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!, and The Simpsons Movie. On the live-action front, it’s in Man on the Moon, Catch-22, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Clueless, Turner & Hooch, and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, to mention just a few.

In 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka transports a bar of chocolate via television to the tune of Also sprach Zarathustra
…transforming 2001’s famous monolith into a bar of Wonka Nutty Crunch Surprise.
In 2001’s Zoolander, non-evolved male models Derek Zoolander and Hansel smack an iMac chimpanzee-style to the tune of Also sprach Zarathustra
…before Hansel grabs a handy bone to use as a tool.

Despite AUTO’s best efforts, McCrea manages to switch him to MANUAL and sets the Axiom on a hyperjump trajectory back to Earth. The hyperjump looks exactly like you’d expect, which is exactly like the USS Enterprise engaging warp drive in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The Axiom makes a hyperjump toward Earth in WALL·E.
The Enterprise engages warp drive toward “thataway” in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Once again, WALL·E is sneakily using prior sci-fi art as a shortcut, re-creating familiar effects so that the Axiom’s quick journey home can be explained without exposition. (It might also account for why everyone aboard the Axiom experiences a brief stint of The Motion Picture’s wormhole effect during the jump.)

The Enterprise bridge goes all “wormhole effect” when it engages warp speed while still within the solar system.
EVE and WALL·E go all “wormhole effect” when the Axiom hyperjumps back to Earth.

As these homages show, WALL·E is not afraid to borrow from its predecessors to gain some free sci-fi association. Indeed, such references are celebrated and elevated, drawing on the production team’s clear fondness for vintage sci-fi to create a movie that is both a love letter to the classics and a worthy addition to the list. WALL·E capitalizes on our existing associations with the future to communicate complex plot points and motives with minimal dialogue and text. It is, to my mind, Pixar’s most realistic vision of an internally consistent world, despite the polar opposites of its Earth- and space-based environments. It’s political and satirical, representing utopia and dystopia with enough humor to poke fun at the downsides of both. In short, WALL·E envisages a future that could so easily be bleak and pessimistic—but is instead inspired by the naïveté of its inhuman heroes to re-create the optimism that took man into space in the first place.

Wow! That was good, wasn’t it? What an amazing article! So amazing, in fact, that you probably want to impulse-buy the Typeset in the Future book it comes from, right this very second. Here are some convenient links to buy it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or you can head down to your local bookstore (which it is much harder for me to link to) when the book is released on December 11 2018.

The book also includes an interview with Pixar designers Ralph Eggleston and Craig Foster about the making of WALL·E, plus six more equally amazing movie studies, alongside interviews with Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall) and Mike Okuda (Star Trek). You can read more about it here if for some reason you’re still not convinced.

Dave Addey

by Dave Addey at Tuesday, 2018-12-04 13:33


Some TeX Developments (by Joseph Wright)

Blog on the move

I’ve been writing Some TeX Developments for ten years now, starting off on WordPress.com before moving to a self-hosted WordPress set up. All of this time, I’ve stuck with WordPress as it’s a very powerful and flexible system. However, it’s got some downsides too. In particular, as it is dynamic, database-driven, system, the pages are created each time someone requests them. That’s great for things like supporting comments, but it means there’s a non-trivial amount of work done each time someone views a page. That turns into a real cost when you are paying for your own hosting. My most recent hosts were really good for support, but I needed enough CPU cycles to push me into the ‘non-trivial’ cost bracket. At the same time, a dynamic site means that there’s always a security risk.

Enter GitHub Pages

I’m hardly the only person to come across these issues, and it’s no surprise that there are a variety of good solutions. One that’s really gained in popularity over recent years is GitHub Pages. This uses a specially-named Git repository to run a generation system called Jekyll. Unlike WordPress, Jekyll generates pages when the sources are committed, so the pages themselves are static ‘classical’ HTML.

Rinse and repeat

To go from WordPress to Jekyll, I started by extracting all of the content using the WordPress to Jekyll Exporter plugin. That gave me a set of HTML files which nearly worked straight away (but with no styling). After a few bits of clean-up to make things work at all, I then did a load of search-and-replace steps. Most of these were to convert the content to Markdown, clean up minor mark-up issues, etc.. I also took the opportunity to work on fixing typos, broken links and so on: that is a lot easier to do with a local set of files, compared to WordPress.

Most of that work was very mechanical, but it took a while: most of that was because of flaws in my original text, not the exporter!

What’s missing?

Exporting the content doesn’t deal with the website style, nor does it include comments. The latter don’t work in Jekyll directly, though one can use Disqus. I decided against that for the present: I don’t really need a discussion system for my blog.

Getting the style right could have been sorted by copy-pasting the raw HTML from the old site. But I decided to take the opportunity to revise the layout. At the present, it’s based on the LaTeX Project one, but rather simplified. I may well look at this again, fixing minor issues as I go. But I’m no design expert: I’d be very happy to have suggestions!

The final thing to do is to get the web address sorted. I’m just sorting out with my registrar and GitHub, and that will be done shortly. Hopefully, with that done, my latest blog rearrangements will be done!

Monday, 2018-11-26 00:00


TeXblog - Typography with TeX and LaTeX (by Stefan Kottwitz)

Netzwerk-Jobs in Hamburg und der ganzen Welt

Tl;dr: es gibt da ein paar Jobangebote.

Nach meinem Mathestudium wollte ich ja erstmal in die Ferne und bin als IT Officer auf ein Kreuzfahrtschiff gestiegen. Leben und Arbeiten in der Besatzung mit der Technik war spannend und die Reisen so erlebenswert, so dass ich auf verschiedenen Schiffen zehn Jahre um die Welt gefahren bin.

Als ich sesshafter werden wollte, wechselte ich ins HQ einer Kreuzfahrt-Reederei ins Netzwerkteam. Routing, Switching und Firewalls waren mein Thema, für eine Flotte von Schiffen, am interessantesten waren neu zu bauende Schiffe. Team und Job waren super. Es war halt immer noch einiges Reisen und Pendeln zur Arbeit, und ich hatte mittlerweile Kinder in Hamburg.

Daher wechselte ich zur Lufthansa nach Hamburg, in eine Abteilung mit Schwerpunkt auf Software und Infrastruktur für Kreuzfahrtschiffe. Der Zusammenhang ergab sich, weil auch Lufthansa onboard-Infotainment und Technik hat, was man auch auf Schiffen einsetzen kann.

Unsere Abteilung hat das Netzwerk für zig Kreuzfahrtschiffe designt und gebaut. Ich bin manchmal wochenlang in Hamburg im Büro für Testaufbauten (Datacenters und Distribution für große Schiffe) oder Papierkram (Designs), manchmal so 1-2 Wochen auf Werften in Deutschland, Italien, Frankreich, Japan, Singapur, Bahamas, oder Finnland, mal eine Woche auf See, manchmal bei Kunden in Miami oder Seattle. Ich finde es eine gute Kombination, so bin ich weiter bei Cruiselines und dennoch bei einer Airline, kombiniert. Das Spektrum reicht von entspannt im Büro zu robuster lärmender roher Werft-Arbeit mit Helm bis hin zu Support auf wunderschönen Schiffen auf See mit Filet-Steaks. Halt auch oft im Flieger. Aber nicht dauernd, ich hab ja auch meine drei Kinder und bin entsprechend sesshaft in Hamburg.

Wieso ich das auf einer TeX-Seite berichte? Weil ich manchmal TeX für alles mögliche einsetze: Dokumentation, Grafiken, ich programmiere sogar Switche mit TeX-Makros.

Warum ich das überhaupt erzähle? Weil unser Team Verstärkung sucht. Wir sind ein erfahrenes Team, wo man sich einarbeiten kann. Die Projekte werden halt mehr, also brauchen wir mehr Leute. Aktuell suchen wir Netzwerk-Kollegen, und zwar mindestens zwei: einen für Cisco-Netzwerke (genau das was ich mache) und einen für HP-basierte Netze (Aruba). Dafür gibt es öffentliche Stellen-Ausschreibungen. Erfahrungen mit Hardware und Designs des jeweiligen Herstellers sind wichtig. Ansonsten? Was drauf haben und engagiert sein – mal aus Kollegen-Sicht ohne HR-sprech. Wir arbeiten Hamburg-basiert, doch ich kann mir vorstellen, falls man gleich in externe Projekte reingehen kann dann muss man nicht gleich dauernd in Hamburg wohnen. Unter uns – ich sehe auch Bedarf an Leuten mit Erfahrungen in VMware ESX oder Voice (Cisco).

Falls jemand neugierig ist und Interesse an der Arbeit hat, schreib mich gern an unter stefan@texblog.net – ich kann noch das eine oder andere erzählen.

Und erzählt es gern weiter am TeX-Stammtisch oder am Linux-Stammtisch. Vielleicht hat ja einer eurer Bekannten Interesse?

by stefan at Tuesday, 2018-11-20 20:41


Uwes kleines Technikblog - Kategorie LaTeX (by Uwe Ziegenhagen)

Checklisten setzen mit

Mit dem typed-checklist Paket lassen sich einfach komplexe Checklisten setzen, hier ein Beispiel aus der Dokumentation:

\Goal{open}{I have a trendy haircut}
\Task{done}{find a hairdresser}
\Task{started}{make an appointment}
\Task{open}{go to the hairdresser}
\Goal{achieved}{I have a typed checklist}


Uwe Ziegenhagen mag LaTeX und Python, auch gern in Kombination. Hat Dir dieser Beitrag geholfen und möchtest Du Dich dafür bedanken? Dann unterstütze doch vielleicht die Dingfabrik Köln e.V. mit einem kleinen Beitrag. Details zur Bezahlung findest Du unter Spenden für die Dingfabrik.

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by Uwe at Saturday, 2018-11-17 16:23

Changelogs setzen mittels „changelog“ Paket

Mit dem changelog Paket gibt es eine komfortable Möglichkeit, changelogs in Dokumenten zu setzen. Hier ein Beispiel, entnommen der Dokumentation.



\added Really cool features

\item A version with only a date

\item A version with no date

\begin{version}[v=1.0.1, yanked]
\item sasda



Uwe Ziegenhagen mag LaTeX und Python, auch gern in Kombination. Hat Dir dieser Beitrag geholfen und möchtest Du Dich dafür bedanken? Dann unterstütze doch vielleicht die Dingfabrik Köln e.V. mit einem kleinen Beitrag. Details zur Bezahlung findest Du unter Spenden für die Dingfabrik.

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by Uwe at Saturday, 2018-11-17 16:21

Zwei DIN A5 Seiten auf einer DIN A4 Seite setzen

Für meine Studentinnen und Studenten erstelle ich zu jeder Vorlesung eine kurze Wiederholung auf Basis der exam Klasse. Üblicherweise reicht ein DIN A5 Blatt, daher liegt es nahe, zwei DIN A5 Blätter auf ein DIN A4 Blatt zu drucken.

Um nicht den Text zweimal setzen zu müssen, gibt es zwei nützliche Lösungen (neben der Nutzung von Adobe Acrobat):

Duplizieren der Seite mittels pdftk:

Für pdftk habe ich eine kleine Batch-Datei duplicate.bat geschrieben, die dann mittels duplicate datei1.pdf datei2.pdf aufgerufen wird.

@echo off
pdftk %1 cat 1-end 1-end output %2

Duplizieren der Seiten in LaTeX mittels pgfpages

Über TSX (https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/142187/compile-two-a5-pages-on-one-a4-page/142272) bin ich auf eine Lösung gestoßen, die im LaTeX-Lauf selbst die Seite dupliziert:


\usepackage{pgfpages}                                 % <— load the package
\pgfpagesuselayout{2 on 1}[a4paper,landscape,border shrink=5mm] % <— set options

\usepackage{atbegshi}  % duplicate the content at shipout time





Uwe Ziegenhagen mag LaTeX und Python, auch gern in Kombination. Hat Dir dieser Beitrag geholfen und möchtest Du Dich dafür bedanken? Dann unterstütze doch vielleicht die Dingfabrik Köln e.V. mit einem kleinen Beitrag. Details zur Bezahlung findest Du unter Spenden für die Dingfabrik.

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by Uwe at Saturday, 2018-11-17 13:54


Beautiful Type

Tropical Cocktails from @ivancastrolettering. Check out his...

Tropical Cocktails from @ivancastrolettering. Check out his account to find oit about the book related to this lettering piece. https://ift.tt/2K9hQgD

Friday, 2018-11-16 15:28


Beautiful Type

I hope everybody did not forget to vote in the US yesterday 😜...

I hope everybody did not forget to vote in the US yesterday đŸ˜œ Seems @charlesandthorn did đŸ˜‰ https://ift.tt/2F8wiXw

Wednesday, 2018-11-07 08:27



Medieval Book Carousels

Medieval readers, especially studious ones, must have cursed their desks from time to time. It is not easy to manage desk space when working with often large and clunky medieval books. Scribes and translators developed work-arounds for these space issues, as I have shown in a blog post on medieval desktops. Scribes would place two … Continue reading Medieval Book Carousels

by Erik Kwakkel at Friday, 2018-11-02 16:54


LaTeX Project

Experimental benchmarking functions

Experimental benchmarking functions

Prompted by a TeX-sx question on benchmarking, the team have added a new experimental package to expl3: l3benchmark. This new material provides a convenient interface for benchmarking: seeing how long it takes for blocks of code to run. This uses the underlying ‘timer’ support in modern TeX engines (XeTeX at present not included), but adds some handy wrappers so most of the hard work is automated.

The new code is pretty experimental, so we are hoping to get feedback on the interfaces. For example, we’ve provided \benchmark:n, which automatically loops code to get enough run time to produce a ‘meaningful’ timing. Do we also need to have a \benchmark_once:n version, or how about a begin/end pairing for code that can’t be run in a loop?

We’d love to hear from developers on how they see this, either through a posting on the LATEX-L discussion list, by mail to the team, as a GitHub issue, or otherwise.

Sunday, 2018-10-28 00:00


Some TeX Developments (by Joseph Wright)

TUGboat goes (almost) open access

Members of TUG might have seen a survey from the Board asking about the status of TUGboat. To date, the journal issues have been available online one year after publications. The Board were interested in how going open-access would affect the number of members.

The analysis is now in, and the result is clear: every issue except the current one is now publicly accessible. The reason is simple: most members will continue to join TUG even with direct access to TUGboat for free. Speaking personally, I like the print version, and I’m happy to pay for it. I’m also very mindful that we need TUG well beyond TUGboat, so I’m very happy with the decision.

Lets hope we see more people reading TUGboat, and joining TUG (and using TeX!) as a result.

Saturday, 2018-10-20 00:00



TUGboat 39:2 published, previous issues available

TUGboat volume 39, number 2 (the TUG 2018 (Rio) proceedings) has been mailed to TUG members. It is also available online and from the TUG store. Please consider joining or renewing your TUG membership if you haven't already. Furthermore, following the results of the recent TUGboat open-access survey, prior TUGboat issues 38:3 and 39:1 are now publicly available. Going forward, the technical articles in the current issue will be available to members only, while all contents of previous issues will be generally available.

Friday, 2018-10-19 20:14



LaTeX Project

New kids on the block

New kids on the block

I’m happy to be able to announce that Ulrike Fischer and Enrico Gregorio have joined the LaTeX Project Team (Enrico already early this year, but I never properly announced that, so I’m doing that now). Contact details are on the team page.

Ulrike Enrico

Ulrike is an accomplished and well-known LaTeX user, developer and TeX consultant, known both for her work in various areas of TeX and her thoughtful user support on various platforms both national and international.

Enrico is a professor at the Computer Science department of the University of Verona. He will need no introduction either to any TeX user who ever visited TeX StackExchange where Enrico is known under the name of egreg, the person who holds the highest reputation rank there (a whooping 200k above the next person, who — guess what — is also on the LaTeX Team).

We are extremely greateful to have both of them on board and gain from their experience and knowledge!

A warm welcome — Frank

Tuesday, 2018-10-16 00:00




TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

Zotero mit Unpaywall

Eine kurze Durchsage: Zotero nutzt in der neuesten Version Unpaywall, um auf PDFs von Aufsätzen zuzugreifen, die von den Verlagen ansonsten hinter einer Bezahlschranke versteckt werden. Der Geist ist aus der Flasche, es gibt kein Zurück mehr. Die Paywall wird immer löcheriger und ist schon lange am Ende. Wer wird denn da noch prozessieren?

by schneeschmelze at Thursday, 2018-10-11 08:34




Uwes kleines Technikblog - Kategorie LaTeX (by Uwe Ziegenhagen)

Einfach neue globale Optionen setzen und auswerten

Von Marei aus Regensburg (Danke!) stammt das folgende Beispiel. Es zeigt, wie man mit expl3 Syntax einfach neue globale Optionen setzen und auswerten kann.



\exp_args:Nc \clist_map_inline:nn {@classoptionslist}{% 
\str_case_x:nn {#1}{% 





Uwe Ziegenhagen mag LaTeX und Python, auch gern in Kombination. Hat Dir dieser Beitrag geholfen und möchtest Du Dich dafür bedanken? Dann unterstütze doch vielleicht die Dingfabrik Köln e.V. mit einem kleinen Beitrag. Details zur Bezahlung findest Du unter Spenden für die Dingfabrik.

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by Uwe at Sunday, 2018-10-07 11:37

Serifenlose Mathematik mit Fira Math

Hier ein kurzes Beispiel für den serifenlosen Mathematik-Font Fira Math.

\setmathfont{Fira Math}

x_{1,2} = -\frac{p}{2} \pm \sqrt{\left(\frac{p}{2}\right)^2 - q}


Uwe Ziegenhagen mag LaTeX und Python, auch gern in Kombination. Hat Dir dieser Beitrag geholfen und möchtest Du Dich dafür bedanken? Dann unterstütze doch vielleicht die Dingfabrik Köln e.V. mit einem kleinen Beitrag. Details zur Bezahlung findest Du unter Spenden für die Dingfabrik.

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by Uwe at Sunday, 2018-10-07 11:22




Doodles in Medieval Manuscripts

Doodling is something we all do, from time to time, often without realising. Listening to someone on the phone or perhaps attending a meeting (or class), we scribble, rather haphazardly and spontaneously, squiggly lines, random words, and mini drawings. The practice is quite old. Doodled squiggly lines and mini drawings are encountered frequently in medieval … Continue reading Doodles in Medieval Manuscripts

by Erik Kwakkel at Friday, 2018-10-05 18:46



TeX & Friends (by Jürgen Fenn)

Aquamacs nicht kompatibel mit macOS Mojave

David Reitter weist auf der Mailingliste OS X Emacs darauf hin, dass Emacs 25 und 26 – also auch der aktuelle Aquamacs – nicht mit macOS Mojave kompatibel seien. Auf Nachfrage war die Rede von Problemen bei der Textdarstellung, ohne weitere Einzelheiten. Wer also mit Emacs teXt oder sonst arbeitet, sollte seinen Mac derzeit noch nicht auf das vergangene Woche veröffentlichte System upgraden.

by schneeschmelze at Sunday, 2018-09-30 21:00


Beautiful Type

What a beautiful piece of wood @hamiltonwoodtype and designed by...

What a beautiful piece of wood @hamiltonwoodtype and designed by @nicksherman https://ift.tt/2y0xGV8

Friday, 2018-09-28 16:27

Fantastic Font Weights Cap by @markcaneso. You can buy directly...

Fantastic Font Weights Cap by @markcaneso. You can buy directly fron his shop. https://ift.tt/2R70pQR

Friday, 2018-09-28 06:27