As is said elsewhere in these FAQs, development of
is “in essence” complete — no new
facilities are being developed at the time of writing. The PDFTeX
team has announced that they have frozen PDFTeX’s specification in
its current state (version 1.40.11), and that nothing but bug
corrections will be provided up to the time of the final release,
PDFTeX 1.50.0. (The interpretation of the statement seems to allow
sensible changes that are beyond any reasonable definition of
In parallel with the running-down of PDFTeX development,
development of a new system, LuaTeX is under way.
is a script
language, designed to offer an interpreter that may be incorporated
into other applications. LuaTeX consists of a TeX-like engine
with a lua
interpreter ‘embedded’ in it; the lua
interpreter has access to many of the data structures used for
typesetting, and the user may also interpolate chunks of
code into their (La)TeX macros, or as ‘call-backs’
for use when the TeX-like engine does certain operations.
This arrangement offers the prospect of a “semi-soft” typesetting
engine: it will have its basic behaviour, but the user gets to
redefine functionality if an idea occurs — there will be no need to
persuade the world first, and then find a willing developer to work on
the sources of of the distribution.
The LuaTeX project
is (with monetary
support from various sources) pursuing avenues that many of the other
current projects have in their sights, notably Unicode character
representations and support for OpenType fonts. The intention is
to integrate the extensions pioneered by Aleph
Users may also care to view the
LuaTeX documentation page
The current released version (0.70.1, in June 2011) of LuaTeX
is supposed at least to demonstrate the final functionality. This
stability was declared with version 0.50.0, released near the end of
December 2009. Much work remains to be done, and this remains a
beta-release. TeX Live 2011 incorporates (at the time of writing)
LuaTeX version 0.70.1, and current MiKTeX (version 2.9)
offers version 0.70.0.
ConTeXt ‘Mark 4’ can already make use of LuaTeX; much of its
code already appears in two forms — a TeX-based version
) and a ‘
’ version (new functionality
appears in ‘
’ form), which uses
LuaTeX extensions (including lua
packages that support its use are appearing (some of them providing
re-implementations of existing ConTeXt code).
This is FAQ version 3.26, released on 2013-02-25.