Speaker Meeting

The annual Speaker Meeting and AGM took place yesterday. We had a mix of talks, discussion and of course the AGM. The talks were recorded: we hope to make these available soon.

Morning Session

The day began with informal discussions over coffee: there are relatively few opportunities to meet up with other TeX users, so this is an important part of the day. Turnout this year was good, and the committee were pleased that this meant the venue was full, but not so full as to mean people were turned away!

The first talk of the day came from David Carlisle, member of the LaTeX3 Project and author of the longtable package. David explained the history of the package, and how the design reflects the constraints of computers in the late 1980s. He talked about the issues this means when interacting with other packages, an in particular the challenges of bidirection and colour work with tables.

Simon Dales gave the second talk, looking at his experiences with TeX on the Raspberry Pi and using LuaTeX (on the Pi) for programming. Simon gave his talk using a live demo: there were a lot of cables on the meeting table!

The third talk of the day was an exciting event all-round, as it came live from Brazil using Skype. Paulo Cereda told us about his new TeX automation tool, arara, and how it contrasts with existing approaches such as latexmk and Rubber. Paulo has been working very hard with UK-TUG member Brent Longborough on the latest release of arara, and it was very exciting to hear about this international effort.

Afternoon session

After Paulo’s talk, lunch arrived and informal discussion got under-way again, accompanied by sandwiches.

The first talk of the afternoon was from Joseph Wright, who talked about the ‘coffins’ concept that the LaTeX3 Project have developed. Joseph focussed on the user interface layer of the work, rather than the code. This sparked a lively discussion on future directions for TeX-related development in general.

The AGM took place a 2 pm: the formal business is reported in draft minutes to members.

After the AGM, we had a second Raspberry Pi demo, this time from Jonathan Fine. Jonathan highlighted the computing power available in the Pi, and contrasted it with a PC he built from components around 10 years ago. The opportunity to develop ‘typesetting devices’ based on the Pi was a key part of the talk.

Joseph then returned to present slides from the TeX Gyre Math Project: these were given at the EuroTeX meeting last week. Joseph gave his own thoughts on the slides, and several other members also contributed to a lively discussion.

The last session of the day was taken up with discussion on some of the topics which had come up during the day. One key possibility that was raised was running a TeX graphics course, something the committee agreed to look at.