8 March 2005

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South Africa

I put up my photos from the trip to Cape Town online. Towards the end there are some photos I took while hiking up Table Mountain.

Building Gnome

It looks like with the Gnome 2.10 release, some packages fail to build from CVS if you are using a version of libtool older than 1.5.12. This is due to the way libtool verifies the version strings — in versions prior to 1.5.12, the check to make sure that the interface version numbers were non negative used a shell pattern that only matched numbers up to 3 digits long.

This might have seemd fine when it was coded, since how many libraries actually end up with more than 999 versions without breaking compatibility? However, many Gnome libraries are using noncontiguous interface version numbers so that releases on the stable branch can be assigned numbers guaranteed to be less than the versions released on HEAD.

So many 2.X libraries use X*100 as a base for the interface version number, which means with 2.10 we reach 1000 and things break. With libtool 1.5.12 and newer, the shell patterns have been modified to handle numbers up to 5 digits long, so it shouldn’t cause a problem til we are ready to release Gnome 2.1000 (which will be due for release in about 250 years if the current schedule is maintained).

Mathematics Input

msevior: have you looked at the OpenOffice equation editor? It provides a fairly similar interface to what you’ve put together, with a few differences:

  • In OpenOffice, the equation entry window is shown as a pane below the document in the main window.
  • The OpenOffice equation entry syntax seems to be “TeX without the backslashes”, which is a little less intimidating for new users (although if you already know TeX, it means that there is more to learn).
  • Editing isn’t completely one way. If you click on the parts of the equation in the top pane, it will move the cursor to the corresponding position in the bottom pane. I don’t know how easy this would be with itex2mml, since I guess the transformation is one-way.

I agree with you that this style of input is a lot more usable than the Microsoft equation editor for people who understand Mathematics and need to enter a lot of it. The MS editor seems to be optimised for transcribing an equation from some other source, where you know exactly what it will look like from the start. In contrast, the text interface makes it as easy to rearrange an equation as it is to rearrange the rest of the text in the document.