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Hermes, paused

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

This is the answer I wrote today to somebody who was interested recently in using Hermes (I fixed the text a bit to make it clearer):

It's nice to hear Hermes still has a relevance here and there, however, I didn't touch it since Nov. 2006 and I don't have any plans to get involved in tuning it further until some long-term institutional interest shows up and some personal conditions are met: I don't want to get involved in short term projects anymore until after I get a (fitting) job in Spain and settle there.

There is no longer any active mailing list related to Hermes; when it was, all of the subscribers were passively waiting for the new release anyway.

Hermes was practically a one person project and, in my opinion, it is far from being completed to the level and coverage area I intended but funding issues and the way public research is currently organized (by forcing researchers either to jump from a short-term project to another, or to become fund raisers, aka beggars and/or liars, and by ignoring the society's long-term priorities) put, practically, a stop to its evolution.

The ones who got interested in using it were those I listed on the Hermes site and on the Hermes @ AEI site. Perhaps lxir is the most active currently but I'm not sure. I did not maintain any link with them after 2006.

Ah, there was at one time a project called sage which showed a spotty interest in Hermes but I didn't hear from them since 2007.

That said, Hermes is under GPL, so feel free to do whatever you wish with it, it's just that I won't be there to patch it for an indeterminate time, after all, one needs to know a bit of C, a bit of TeX, and to have a clear goal, to do the right thing with it.

I wish you all the success you can handle and have a happy new year, ...

P.S. I just stumbled upon the arXMLiv project, which uses a different tool, LaTeXML, for converting TeX to XML+MathML, you may find this also relevant enough to your work.

GNU, FreeBSD, Debian Linux, Ubuntu Linux wave goodbye to Microsoft Windows XP

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Incidentally, today's the national day of my country, Romania, but, more important, I'm proud to announce that I decided not to wait until Sloterdijk's Spheres will be translated into English too and I got rid permanently of Microsoft Windows from the computers I'm using: I installed Ubuntu Linux on my laptop, Debian Linux on my PC, and that after already using FreeBSD on my other PC for personal Internet services at home (like mail, website, blog), and already using mostly cygwin for the things I was doing.

All these operating systems are free as in speech and as in beer.

Ubuntu installed like a breeze on my laptop (a Toshiba Sattelite Pro for which I paid more because it came with a default WindowsXP installation and I had no choice in the liberal turbo-capitalist Romanian serfdom) and it's most up-to-date.

On my PC,Debian got all the drivers right after it needed a kick to pass the boot stage (I have an Intel DQ965 motherboard and I had to say install pci=nommconf at the boot prompt, that's because Intel doesn't follow the open-source principles). The ntfs-3G driver (free also) was needed to read-write my external NTFS formatted drives.

On my server, FreeBSD does exactly what I told it to do, not what some corporate wanker decided it should do for me.

The usual applications one has on its desktop are also free: Pidgin for instant messaging (as in speech and beer), Skype (as in beer) for VoIP, Firefox for web browsing (speech and beer), Thunderbird for email (speech and beer), OpenOffice (speech and beer); I won't mention the development tools, the list would be too long.

I have now the clear feeling of a nice and functional desktop based entirely on open-source. I've been waiting for a long time for this to happen and now it did.

So goodbye Windows, goodbye Microsoft, goodbye bloated applications with unjustified bloated prices. I only regret the Microsoft Sans-Serif fonts. I opened my apartment's windows for the corporate stench to go away.

Your country's public administration should do the same transition, now it's not only technically possible, but advantageous in any meaningful way. Bill Gates has a wealth of tens of billions, add to it the wealth of the other corporate slaves at Microsoft, it may be the size of an usual financial corporation public bailout, and guess where the largest part of that is coming from: from the licenses your government pays so that all the secretaries can play Minesweeper, there's a free Minesweeper in these free desktops too.

Whenever you go to a public office (governmental, EU level, UN level) and see a Windows installation on the public clerk's screen, or an Adobe pdf-related application remember that you're actually paying for that, not just the clerk's salary, but also your share to Microsoft's profit and other proprietary software companies', like Adobe. Tell those public offices to switch to GNU, FreeBSD and Linux, before Microsoft, Adobe and the likes would get too big to fail.

All these free operating systems/software distributions wouldn't have been possible without the GNU base and without the only global army that matters today: the open-source developers, these people are writing more than fiction: their writings are authentic speech.

So now that I'm left with some money to spare, I'll make some donations (although the idea of donation is wrong, these are social infrastructure public services, so they explicitly deserve a part of the taxes we pay, you and me, wikipedia belongs to the same category): 100USD goes to GNU, 100USD goes to FreeBSD, 100USD goes to Debian Linux (I don't have the right to work yet, here, but I have the full support of my wife on this, so you guys can have a non-free beer, this time it's on us). I hope I'll be able to provide these meager resources yearly if I won't have the time to contribute as a developer.

Hermes 0.9.12 is ready

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

This version managed to convert a couple of hundreds of sample articles from the arxiv-math.

Because those sources vary widely in terms of metadata quality (author, date...etc. records), some of the converted articles look a bit messy. That's the next Hermes version's job: to get a bit wiser in terms of recovering the metadata, and in terms of robustly recovering the internal document references/citations.

Many of the original articles are missing from the converted lot: a few of them were using drawing packages, and Hermes doesn't support drawing yet, a few of them weren't converted because of an unexperienced script which filters the original lot and doesn't do an intelligent renaming of files, and about 5 of them weren't converted because Hermes needs some (small) fixes.

The total number of articles tried is 1005 (751 articles of the month 2005/3, and 254 of 2005/4); the success ratio today is 0.438.

The good news is that this version tries to push/pop parentheses at the table cell border, or around the align marker in (ams)math structures, so that the presentation-MathML result is well-formed with less need of human intervention.

The source distribution is here, and the samples site is here, as usual.

Enjoy ;)

Hermes-0.9.11 released

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

This version managed to convert 160 out of the first 254 from a month of arxiv/math articles, a ratio of 0.63.

The articles drawing diagrams or pictures (e.g. using the xy package or similar) were not convertible by this version of Hermes, and I don't plan on adding support for them anytime soon.

The rest is fixable and I'm working on it. Letting me know the specific issues you may have in using Hermes for converting LaTeX to XML+MathML+Unicode increases the priority of dealing with them.

As soon as the converted articles will be posted online somewhere on the web, I'll announce here the address of the collection.

Sources/binaries are here and examples here.


Hermes 0.9.10 released

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

This release is a step towards handling longtables appropriately (however, the longtable model Hermes will be able to convert has to have the caption and label at the beginning of the environment, followed by , like this:

begin{longtable} caption{...} label{...} the & rest of & it end{longtable}

This version managed to convert 32 articles out of 48 trials (in the order of assigned publishing number) from arxiv:math. A 66% success rate is not impressive, but Hermes gets wiser.

Sources/binaries are here and examples here.

Let me know if Hermes annoys you in some way, maybe there's a worthy fix to it.

As you probably know already, Hermes currently generates a mtable from a LaTeX equation long enough for TeX to split it on more than one line. But now Hermes would like to do the following, beginning with the next version: 1. generate a single mathml row instead of a mtable for this kind of situations 2. generate a mtable only where source equations are labeled and longer than one line.

if you have strong feelings about this decision let me know a.s.a.p., Hermes will consider your opinion.

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