Noticing when SageMath is using IPython, instead of Maxima.

One of the subjects of my recent postings, has been a Computer Algebra System called “SageMath”, which I was able to install on my Debian / Stretch (Debian 9) computer named ‘Plato’. One of the distinctions which I left slightly blurred about this, is the distinction between Computer Algebra, and Numerical Tools. The former refers to the ability of a computer to manipulate symbols, in the way Algebra manipulates them, but to solve equations which Humans might just find tedious or too time-consuming to solve. This can lead to answers that are theoretically exact, but which can sometimes be useless because the numerical equivalent is only available indirectly.

Numerical Tools are more numerous under Linux, and offer theoretically inexact solutions to equations, simply because the numerical answers have a limited number of decimal places after the point or comma. Yet, the numerical answers can sometimes be much more useful than Algebraic answers, for reasons that I think are self-explanatory.

SageMath offers both. In order to do Algebra, SageMath uses “Maxima” as its back-end. And under Debian Linux, installing SageMath actually installs a separate version of Maxima, which users are not supposed to use directly.

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How the EPUB2 and MOBI formats can be used for typeset Math.

According to This preceding posting, I was experiencing some frustration over trying to typeset Math, for publication in EPUB2 format. EPUB3 format with MathML support was a viable alternative, though potentially hard on any readers I might have.

Well a situation exists in which either EPUB2 or MOBI can be used to publish typeset Math: Each lossless image can claim the entire width of a column of text, and each image can represent an entire equation. That way, the content of the document can alternate vertically between Text and Typeset Math.

In fact, if an author was to choose to do this, he or she could also use the Linux-based solutions ‘LyX’ , ‘ImageMagick’ , and ‘tex4ebook’ .

(Edited 1/9/2019, 15h35 … )

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Trying to bridge the gap to mobile-friendly reading of typeset equations, using EPUB3?

One of the sad facts about this blog is, that it’s not very mobile-friendly. The actual WordPress Theme that I use is very mobile-friendly, but I have the habit of inserting links into postings, that open typeset Math, in the form of PDF Files. And the real problem with those PDF Files is, the fact that when people try to view them on, say, smart-phones, the Letter-Sized page format forces them to pinch-zoom the document, and then to drag it around on their phone, not getting a good view of the overall document.

And so eventually I’m going to have to look for a better solution. One solution that works, is just to output a garbled PDF-File. But something better is in order.

A solution that works in principle, is to export my LaTeX -typeset Math to EPUB3-format, with MathML. But, the other EPUB and/or MOBI formats just don’t work. But the main downside after all that work for me is, the fact that although there are many ebook-readers for Android, there are only very few that can do everything which EPUB3 is supposed to be able to do, including MathML. Instead, the format is better-suited for distributing prose.

One ebook-reader that does support EPUB3 fully, is called “Infinity Reader“. But if I did publish my Math using EPUB3 format, then I’d be doing the uncomfortable deed, of practically requiring that my readers install this ebook-reader on their smart-phones, for which they’d next need to pay a small in-app purchase, just to get rid of the ads. I’d be betraying all those people who, like me, prefer open-source software. For many years, some version of ‘FBReader’ has remained sufficient for most users.

Thus, if readers get to read This Typeset Math, just because they installed that one ebook-reader, then the experience could end up becoming very disappointing for them. And, I don’t get any kick-back from ImeonSoft, for having encouraged this.

I suppose that this cloud has a silver lining. There does exist a Desktop-based / Laptop-based ebook-reader, which is capable of displaying all these EPUB3 ebooks, and which is as free as one could wish for: The Calibre Ebook Manager. When users install this either under Linux or under Windows, they will also be able to view the sample document I created and linked to above.

(Updated 1/6/2019, 6h00 … )

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Finally getting the LanguageTool Grammar-Checker to work under Debian.

One of the software products which Linux has traditionally been lacking in, is grammar-checking software, that runs off-line. And one such package that I’ve been keen on getting to work, under Debian / Stretch as well as under the older Debian / Jessie, is LanguageTool. Why this LibreOffice extension? Because I would mainly want German and English support, while the product also offers some French support, the last of which can always come in handy in a Canadian province, which is officially French-speaking. The need can always arise, to write some letter in French, and a letter in which the grammar will need to be correct.

There do exist other proprietary solutions, but none which add full support for German.

When I write that I’ve been ‘keen on getting (this) to work’ , I’m referring to the fact that this extension can be a bit temperamental. As I was activating version 4.3 on my Debian / Jessie laptop ‘Klystron’ , I noticed that I had versions 2.3 and 3.8 already-downloaded there, that were left on my hard drive from past, forgotten failures. So, what I learned while installing v4.3 on ‘Plato’ , my main, Debian / Stretch computer, would be put to the test. If the attempt to install v4.3 on ‘Klystron’ also, worked on my first try, then these would be valid observations made, when previously working to get the same version working on ‘Plato’ . And my result was, that I could get v4.3 to work on ‘Klystron’ as well, on the first try! :-D


( Screen-Shot from the computer ‘Plato’ . )

During my recently-failed attempt to get this extension working on ‘Plato’ , I had gotten to a series of error-messages while clicking on ‘Tools -> LanguageTool -> Options…’ , that amounted to Java Null-Pointer Exceptions. Usually, such exceptions would indicate some serious programming error. But what I found was that I could get the extension to work, if I followed 4 basic guidelines:

(Updated 12/25/2018, 14h20 … )

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