The TeX program was originally developed in the mid seventies by Donald Knuth to typeset mathematical texts in the English language. Since then TeX has made inroads in many areas of scientific and socio-cultural activities in most countries of the world. To make transferring TeX files between various sites easier Knuth froze TeX in 1991 in the interest of stability. However, he allows the TeX code to be used as the basis for further developments, but the resulting system should then be distributed under a different name.
is an extension of TeX developed by Yannis Haralambous (Lille, France) and John Plaice (Université de Laval, Canada). Its first release, that is presently in the beta-testing phase, improves mainly TeX's multi-lingual abilities.
On Thursday March 16th 1995 , the first generally available extended version of TeX, will be presented to the world at CERN (Geneva, Switzerland). In all data and data-structures have 16-bit wide data words, thus eliminating many of the trivial limitations of TeX. allows multiple input and output character sets, and uses filters to transform between them. Internally, uses the universal 16-bit Unicode standard character set (see my article in CNL 216, ``International Character Codes''). All these improvements will not only make it easier for TeX users to cope with multiple or complex languages (Khmer, Arab, Indic, Chinese, Japanese) in one document, but also form the basis for future developments in other areas, such as native colour support.
The presentations on the 16th of March will take place in the CN Amphitheatre (Bld. 31, 3rd Floor). They will start with a general introduction of the system and discuss how it is implemented on various computer platforms. Then with the help of examples of high quality typography it will be shown how the use of the Unicode/ISO 10646 character code makes it easier to handle a complete set of Cyrillic, Latin, Greek, Arab, Hebrew, and other characters in one document. At the end of the day a round-table discussion will allow the participants to provide input to the team about which features they would like to see improved or added to the system. All participants will obtain a free copy of the software to take home with them. More technical discussions between implementors can be organized on the next day.