Thoughts on LibreOffice Math

Andrew Douglas Pitonyak andrew at
Fri Jun 28 04:36:18 PDT 2013

On 06/27/2013 07:35 PM, Frédéric WANG wrote:
> I'm not an ODF/ODT expert but AFAIK these formats are just zip 
> archives of XML documents. 

Yes, that is correct...

> In particular, you'll find some "content.xml" files inside that are 
> just MathML documents. So basically XML import/export of MathML is 
> already done somewhere in LibreOffice since it is how ODF/ODT are 
> designed.

So this is already allowed for, that is exactly what I wanted to know.

> Whether LibreOffice (or other programs) can handle arbitrary 
> read/right of MathML is another story. As I said, LibreOffice Math is 
> currently centered around its internal StarMath syntax. Some 
> information are currently lost when exported to MathML (that's what 
> I'm trying to fix) and some information are lost when imported from 
> MathML (because StarMath is less expressive). LibreOffice cheats a bit 
> by putting the StarMath source in an <annotation> element when 
> exporting to MathML and by reading this source again when importing 
> MathML. What I'm suggesting is to work directly on the MathML 
> representation in the long term so that import/export is 
> straightforward and no information will be lost. It will still be 
> possible (and desirable) to use StarMath or other tools to generate 
> MathML code, though.

Yes, I had read what you wrote earlier about storage in an annotation, 
and it amused me a bit. I think that you also said that when other 
things write an ODF document they may not write that annotation with 
StarMath in it (I think you said that anyway).

I have never really been happy with StarMath, but I suppose that is to 
be expected after being spoiled by the abilities in TeX and LaTeX. I am 
not familiar with MathML, but, anything that improves this particular 
capability is a good idea in my opinion.

>> Would a direct XML export be supported in ODF and thus usable in other
>> programs that read/write ODF files? I am not sufficiently familiar with
>> the ODF standard to know.
>> -- 
>> Andrew Pitonyak
>> My Macro Document:
>> Info:
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Andrew Pitonyak
My Macro Document:

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