Thoughts on LibreOffice Math

Khaled Hosny khaledhosny at
Sun Jun 30 11:53:05 PDT 2013

On Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 09:13:13AM +0200, Frédéric WANG wrote:
> On 25/06/2013 23:38, Khaled Hosny wrote:
> >Don't take my word on it. I had only a cursory look while ago, but
> >my prejudice against any math renderer not based on TeX
> >algorithms, and the very low typographic quality of the output
> >gave me the impression that nothing worth saving there.
> It seems to me that there are two different situations where the
> math rendering is wanted: as a visual preview during the current
> Math editing session (where a low quality could be acceptable) and
> for printing, PDF export etc (where the high quality is required).

I don't think that distinction is helpful, and I don't think there is
much to gain by having two different rendering engines, it will just
complicate things needlessly.

> >Intends to have Open Type MATH support, currently it is just
> >wishful thinking on my part (some people should interest in
> >sponsoring the work, but they stopped talking to me for some
> >reason :), and I'm not actively working on this at the moment)
> Yes, that's the problem with volunteer contribution (I know that
> too)... As I said on IRC, the current version of GtkMathView could
> probably be used in the short term and that would already be an
> improvement over the current Math rendering anyway.

Of course, it won't be worse than Mozilla support, for example, and if
the integration between GtkMathView and LibreOffice can be worked out,
it would be easier to update it in the future with OpenType support.

> So basically, the idea would be:
> 1) Use a node representation (probably reusing an existing data
> structure in LibreOffice) of MathML as the internal format and
> import/export it directly as normal XML.
>      1a) Create a GtkMathView backend and use it to render the math
> in LibreOffice Writer, when printing etc
>      1b) Connect the existing Math import/export so that people can
> still use the current interface.

GtkMathView already has some support for interactive editing, it is
probably easier to use right from the start.


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