[OS X TeX] LaTexiT

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl
Mon May 2 18:55:38 CEST 2005


On May 2, 2005, at 4:38 PM, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> I don't know whether LaTeXiT uses portions of code from LaTeX  
> Equation Editor. If it does, there might be licensing issues:  
> LaTeXiT isn't GPL'd (nor is the source code available), whereas  
> LaTeX Equation Editor acknowledges using code from Equation Service:
>> Portions of the LaTeX Equation Editor include code and algorithms  
>> from Doug Rowland's Equation Services (particular the portions  
>> which support saving the source inside the PDF file).
> which itself is GPL'd.

Indeed. It would be pretty hard to figure out if LaTeXiT indeed  
*uses* code from the other two/three LaTeX based Equation Editors. It  
would be nasty if it does, but I'm not prepared to accuse this guy  
before we have solid evidence (which we do *not* have).

What I'm more worried about is the lack of cooperation between the  
various authors. I can understand that there are different opinions  
on the exact looks and behaviour of the application, but these  
applications all are very similar (If it looks like a duck, quacks  
like a duck, and walks like a duck, you know, it might just *be* a  

At the moment it seems that TeXType is nice in that is offers  
LinkBack support, although there is room for improvement in many  
other ways. the others each have their strengths and weaknesses (and  
each having good ideas on how to move forward) as well. Yet none - as  
far as I can see at the moment - are moving in any spectacular  
fashion. It seems such a waste of time and effort to have *yet*  
another tool trying to come up with another `duck'. Why, oh why  
couldn't this author just contact Jason, or any of the others and  
just contribute/change what they didn't like. Bruno, your French is  
better than mine [understatement of the year]. Could you contact this  
author, and ask about the *why*.

OK, Maarten: calm down, \end{rant}.

Instead of four tools that may *just* be good enough, I'd rather have  
a single tool that is way beyond what is there now. `Must have'  
features include:

- LinkBack support
- Baseline correction
- Support for multi-line equations (support for a baseline offset can  
be dropped from those
   cases: anyone have a clue how to even *define* a baseline in that  
- colour support, with a background that chooses an automatic  
contrasting colour to keep things visible.

I've has contact with three out of four of the authors, and offered  
suggestions on how to run the translation in pdflatex alone (which  
would speed things up, at least a little bit), and as a bonus  
extracts the baseline offset as well[*]. Doug Rowland had some ideas  
on resolving the baseline issue in Keynote, Pages, etc., but he is  
tied up in other business.


[*] Unfortunately this doesn't work with multi-line equations at all,  
there we need to rely on several external tools, although the new  
bits in Cocoa (PDFKit) may help.
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