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Re: [Texmacs-dev] TeXmacs server

From: Henri Lesourd
Subject: Re: [Texmacs-dev] TeXmacs server
Date: Sun, 04 Jun 2006 02:02:40 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.0.2) Gecko/20030208 Netscape/7.02

David MENTRE wrote:


Henri Lesourd <address@hidden> writes:
This point is a blocking point, because one of the main
features of wikis is of course that one can access them
with a simple browser.

This is an essential point. But as TeXmacs is available under different
OS (Windows, ...), this is not a really blocking point.

It remains quite blocking, look : can you go in a cyber cafe
and use TeXmacs to access your Wiki ? Answer : most of the time,
no. Speaking about Windows-based environments, can you expect
that the average system administrator will accept to install
TeXmacs on his network ? Again, the answer is, most of the
time, no.

And having a
collaborative editor capable of better user interface instead of HTML
textboxes would be a real plus.
We all agree on this.

That's said, I would prefer seeing currently annoying bugs fixed
(slowness, weird behavior regarding X focus handling[1], not capable of
reading its own document produced by earlier versions[2], etc.) rather
than introducing fancy features.

I do not completely disagree with you on this point ;-). On the
other hand, if we never introduce new features, the software doesn't
evolve. Overall, it seems to me that *defining* features, whether
they are new or fixes for already existing features is a very
important task for having the features easily implemented later.

is to have an SGML DTD where all
the parts of the documents are multilingual. For
example :

This approach is clearly not scalable and cannot be used in practice
beyond a few lines (been there, used that).

I definitely don't see why.

If the text is displayed in only one language at a time, editing
the different paragraphs of the document in this language is
exactly the same as editing one separate translation of the

Where is the problem with this ?

As Joris underlined, a scalable approach:

1. allows the user to write a document in his prefered language;

2. uses an *automatic* computer system to find "things" to translate
   and find translation if already known.

The only problem is that it seems highly irrealistic to
imagine doing this if you expect being easily able to go
beyond simple word-to-word translations.

As far as I know, a huge amount of funding has been invested
since the sixties for the purpose of designing automatic
translators, and the main result of this research is :

(1) Except in the context of well-limited domains, such an
   automatic translator has yet to be invented ;

(2) The reason why it is so is because for doing any realistic
   translation, one needs a huge amount of knowledge.

I don't say that such *style* of software (i.e., a translation
helper backed by a central repository which would act as a
cache) is impossible. What I say is that if you don't want
to be frustrated in the end, you should keep in mind what
is possible and what is not possible.

[1]  TeXmacs is the only application that is able to freeze my whole

This is a problem which occurs under KDE (or perhaps it is Gnome, I
don't know), and for which it is hard to know exactly what the root
cause is (because it doesn't happen with the other windows managers).

It's true that it remains to be solved...

[2]  http://lists.texmacs.org/wws/arc/texmacs-users/2006-04/msg00030.html

As far as recovering old versions, you are a little bit harsh ;-( here,
because very few problems of this kind usually happen at the level described
in the bug report above.

As far as this kind of bug is concerned, one cannot say that problems
with recovering old documents are specific to TeXmacs. And with TeXmacs,
one can easily read and hack the markup in case there is no other way
to recover the data. One cannot do that in lots of other editors relying
on a binary format, or on a text-based, but unreadable/too much complex

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