[om] OpenMath and Imaging

Vilya Harvey vilya at nag.co.uk
Wed Sep 29 12:15:45 CEST 1999

Ka-Ping Yee wrote:
> On Tue, 28 Sep 1999, Vilya Harvey wrote:
> > In the same spirit I could ask why you bothered to solve "most of the
> > easy problems" 3 years ago, since they had already been solved before
> > then.
> Not for the Web, at least as far as i know.  Getting math on the
> Web was a new problem then; now it is an old problem.

I think you've missed the point I was trying to make. Nevertheless, I have
two responses to this:
(1) PDF was around then, as were several TeX to HTML converters that
handled maths.
(2) OpenMath is not just for the web! As there are no existing OpenMath
renderers that I am aware of (that is, that render OpenMath without
needing to translate it to MathML or some other format first), this *is* a
new problem according to your use of that term above.

Here's what I was really trying to say though: someone wants to write a
renderer (and possibly editor) for OpenMath, so why discourage them? The
fact is, it's some work that would be very useful to the OpenMath
community if done well. Let's try and be constructive, please!

> Java is a write-once, debug-everywhere platform disabled in many
> company Intranets for (quite valid) security reasons.  It's
> unfortunate -- i really would have liked it to work well, but
> it's just not practical.

I have to take issue with this - it sounds a lot like the sort of
hyperbole employed before by people that have not tried it for themselves.
What do you mean by "not practical"? I have had considerable success with
cross-platform Java in several projects. Perhaps the most complex
(OpenMath-related) one was a graphical client applet for a polynomial
minimisation server; this did several non-trivial things, yet once I had
debugged it under Windows NT (my development platform) the applet also
worked perfectly under Linux, AIX and Solaris without any further changes.
I'd say that's very practical!

As for the security issue, since I'm no computer security expert, I'll
just say this: while it pays to be careful, you also have to consider the
tradeoffs you are forced to make as a result and decide where to draw the

Anyway, I think I've said enough in this thread; it has already gone a
long way off-topic...

Vilya Harvey  <vilya at nag.co.uk>    Wilkinson House  Mob: +44  961 106 505
Computational Mathematics Group   Jordan Hill Road   Wk: +44 1865 511 245
NAG Limited                    Oxford  UK  OX2 8DR  Fax: +44 1865 311 205
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