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Re: Printing

From: Richard M Stallman
Subject: Re: Printing
Date: Thu, 02 Apr 2009 09:02:19 -0400

    In this area, we basically didn't move much since ps-mule was
    introduced more than 10 years ago.  Based on that experience, I fear
    that if we stick to PostScript as the only decent printing facility in
    Emacs, we will not improve our support of printing non-ASCII text for
    the foreseeable future.  If you think otherwise, please explain how
    come we are still where we were in 1998.

This is not the right way to choose the method for solving a problem.
How much people have worked on this in the past is beside the point.

The real question about printing non-ASCII text is what needs to be
done to make ps-print handle more character sets, and what the
obstacles are.

      For example, on my home XP box, the default
    printer is set up to use the PostScript driver, but applications still
    don't emit PostScript themselves; the driver does.

Supporting application-specific APIs could be a big pain in the neck.
Each one of them could be a big pain in the neck.  It might be a lot
easier to make ps-print find the necessary fonts, if that can be dne
in a mostly portable way, than to support several totally different
printing APIs.

If supporting these printing APIs requires redesigning Emacs
redisplay, that would yoke this big task to an even bigger task which
might be a mistake anyway.  It would take many years to redo redisplay
and fix the bugs.  Interfaces such as Cairo would probably impede
portability even if they are not 100% unportable, and they might also
cause a slowdown in redisplay.

I if you want a good chance of making progress happen, I suggest you
start working on the solitions that are much easier, even if they are
difficult in absolute terms.

Would you like to collect the docs of the APIs used for finding and
specifying fonts on the various systems, so people can see what work
is really involved in supporting them?

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