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HeX: TeX in Haskell

HeX is a reimplementation of TeX in Haskell.

It is currently pre-pre-alpha: it doesn't do much.

Currently (as of version 0.0.4), it can typeset some simple text, using TeX linebreaking, and some simple math ($x^2$ and the like).

The plan is to first write a faithful reimplementation of TeX and then, make it better.

What needs to be better?

Here are my ideas:

  1. Better error messages.
  2. Better package management.
  3. Document at-once-typesetting (instead of page-per-page).
  4. Single pass implementation of cross-references.
  5. Better handling of floats.
  6. Better handling of images.
  7. Faster.
  8. Better scripting.
  9. In-built (or script written) facilities for things like references (instead of relying on external programmes).
  10. Use of multi-core machines.
  11. More output formats (ePub, HTML, ...?)

Some of these are traditionally built on top of TeX instead of modifying it. While that is a good way to do some things, it also means that the results are not as good as they should be. There is no reason to not have the handling of floats at the TeX level, for example.

What needs to stay the same?

Good quality output.

What can change?

The console output. Coming from a Unix background, I find TeX unbearably verbose. If no errors are found, it should output nothing. Also, there might be no functionality for interactive use when an error occurs.

Files that trigger an error in TeX will not necessarily work the same way in hex.


cabal install
cmdargs list-extras vector vector-algorithms binary convertible parsec dlist test-framework-th test-framework-quickcheck2 test-framework-hunit

You also need to have some TeX binaries available (at the moment). On Ubuntu, you can install them by running:

sudo apt-get install texlive-binaries texlive-base


Author: Luis Pedro Coelho <>

License: GPLv3 or later