I've spent quite a bit of time over the last few days getting up to speed with current developments in the TeX world. Like all of us here I sometimes get frustrated with the clunky and outdated nature of LaTeX 2e, so I'll save my complaining for another time, but here are my observations:
- Tagging, accessibility and the separation of form from content are key areas of development. It looks like there is general consensus that future versions of LaTeX should follow a paradigm similar to HTML/CSS.
- The ConTeXt project has already implemented this. The ConTeXt project is largely lead by Hans Hagen. The LuaTeX project is closely linked to ConTeXt. ConTeXt is closely linked to Pragma ADE, a commercial company in the Netherlands
- There are current efforts to modernize LaTeX via the L3 programming interface. A big part of this new plumbing is geared towards enabling an HTML/CSS-like paradigm.
The glaring question which I can't really avoid is the following:
Why on earth are ConTeXt and LaTeX two different things if everyone is trying to go in similar directions?
I can think of a few explanations:
- Pragma ADE is a commercial company, so being as "open" as LaTeX would hurt their ability to earn a living. If so, I would disagree with this attitude, but not all share my point of view of course.
- The ConTeXt developers decided they didn't care about backwards compatibility or breaking packages, viewing this as a necessary step for progress and a hamper to LaTeX's development. So they went off and did their own thing. One result of course is that ConTeXt's module ecosystem is far inferior to LaTeX's. It shines in other areas, but that's not my point.
- Personality mismatch between lead developers
Does anyone know the real reason? Is it a combination of all the above?