doing tex support the right way

How does matplotlib render glyphs, does it use freetype?

    > Would matplotlib be able to render tex's fonts with the
    > existing codebase, or would I have to delve into metafont?

Yep, it uses freetype and no, we don't have any facility to render tex
fonts. I think the dvi parsing project would be a very nice addition,
but not a trivial task. The tex file formats are pretty arcane: Knuth
is fond of using bytecode in his data files, so you would have to
write a bytecode engine. Robert Kern did this on a rainy afternoon
for the tfm files, so you could use that as an example

  http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/message.php?msg_id=9894596

JDH