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Eli the ExTeX Lion

εχTEX aims at the development of a high quality typesetting system. This development is massively based on the experiences with the typesetting system TEX. Despite of its age TEX can still be considered a very good choice. Nevertheless design decisions which where reasonable at the time of the writing of TEX can nowadays no longer be considered as state of the art.

The stability of TEX is one of its virtues. On the other side it makes it hard to improve the system – even in the few areas which deserve improvements. The new millenium needs a system which is open for further development and at the same time compatible with TEX as much as reasonable.


In December 2002 a small group of experts and developers came together to initiate the development of a new derivate of TEX, based on NTS. Initially there were a few ideas and the necessity to familiarize with existing sources and TEX extensions. After a lot of experiments and examinations, and yet before the group's first closed meeting from October 3rd to 5th 2003, it was clear that the ambitious goals could be achieved only if large parts of TEX – and with it NTS – were replaced. This led to the decision to develop a new Java-based system, using the experiences of NTS, ε-TEX, pdfTEX, and Ω (Omega): εχTEX.

Your Help is Welcome

During intensively discussions of the εχTEX team about own and potential expectations about a new typesetting program, it became obvious that we could not completely evaluate all aspects. In several fields we were simply lacking necessary competence. Moreover there are more or less urgent wishes, especially from format and package developers, we did not think of at all so far.

We hope this page will help to get into discussions with people to tell us their wishes. It would be helpful however that important problems or ideas would be sent to us as soon as possible.

There are many fields where new concepts have to be developed. Here and on the plain implementation, support of any kind is welcome. Please contact us at extex@dante.de.

εχTEX Mailing Lists

Three mailing lists are designated for discussions about εχTEX:

  • extex (general discussions in German, low traffic)
  • extex-eng (general discussions in English, very low traffic at the moment)
  • extex-devel (discussions about details of programming, mainly in German)
εχBib Close to First Release
The sub-project εχBib is close to a first public release. It is a bibliography processor which can be used as a plug-in replacement for BIBTEX. It provides already some of the features announced for BIBTEX 1.0.
Snapshots Available
The εχTEX installer is available in a snapshot version. This snapshot version is automatically generated once a day. Note: it may not be complete nor suitable for any purpose.
Developer's Guide Available
The εχTEX Developer's Guide is available in a draft version.
EuroTeX 2005
εχTEX slides in documentation
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