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Re: [Texmacs-dev] Some interesting contributions that volunteers mightma

From: Joris van der Hoeven
Subject: Re: [Texmacs-dev] Some interesting contributions that volunteers mightmake
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004 10:12:22 +0200 (CEST)

On Tue, 10 Aug 2004, Dan Martens wrote:
> > 1) Developing an instant messenging plug-in for TeXmacs.
> >    This could evoluate into a collaborative authoring tool.
> >    This should be easy using the new concept of mutator tags.
> >    See Help -> Interfacing -> Mutator tags for details.
> Are you talking about creating a propriatary system for texmacs messaging or
> leveraging the existing systems such as ICQ,MSN etc...? There are probably
> ways to interface with AMSN and LICQ under linux.

I am not an expert on this, so that is why I posted my message
on texmacs-dev ;^) I think that we indeed first want to support
the existing protocols. But we also want to be able to send arbitrary
TeXmacs documents (or document fragments) using whatever protocols
permit that. Basically, all we need is:
  1) A server we can connect to
  2) A way to log in on the server
  3) Sending an arbitrary message to the server
  4) Retrieving an arbitrary message from the server
In 2, 3 and 4 we probably need some IDs for the clients and messages.
If we can get a prototype to work with an existing server, then we may
consider setting up our own server later on.

My problem is that I don't know much about existing protocols and
software which supports them. I sometimes see some announcements
on Freshmeat (I noticed that SILC is quite active), but I never
really digged into the issue.

> > 2) Port TeXmacs to a PDA with Linux. You will probably need
> >    >= 32Mb of RAM and a >= 100MHz processor. But I do think
> >    this to be a reasonable project. It no longer depends on
> >    TEX/LaTeX, since we may use FreeType for the fonts.
> Last year, myself and a couple other developers developed a calendar
> application under the Sharp Zaurus which runs QTopia.  This is to my
> knowledge, the most popular Linux based PDA out there, with the exception of
> possibly the IPAQ to Linux project.

I recently saw another brand/model (don't remember the name though),
so there seem to be some others.

> The Zaurus had 32MB flash and 32MB RAM (of which 16MB was reserved for OS),
> and with our experience, you could not reliably allocate much more than 4MB
> of memory without crashing the system.  This may be a problem for texmacs,
> especially with large documents.

The one I saw did not seem to have this problem. When turning off
optimization at compilation, the application might run in 10Mb.
One probably does not want to edit large documents on PDAs.
A typical application would rather be to use TeXmacs as
an interface to a computer algebra system.

>   The other issues that we found to be annoying was of course the lack of
> screen real estate and very slow CPU speeds.
>   Another thing, especially if you want to port to the Zaurus, is that it
> utilizes QTopia, which means TeXmacs must be re-written in QT.  As I recall,
> this was considered but not seriously attempted a while ago (back when I was
> deciding how to write the windows port).

Yes, and now we have the windows port, this is not a priority
anymore for me ;^)

>   The other option here is running the windows port on WinCE.  WinCE does
> implement most of the Win32 API which means that the windows port would
> likely compile and run on it (barring any resource or memory problems).

That would be very interesting, if that can be done without much pain.


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