Using LaTeX code with Instant Messengers

Tags: freebsd, software, musings

Published on
« Previous post: True friends: dd and netcat — Next post: Going from FreBSD 5.4 to FreeBSD 6.1 »

Explaining maths via Internet is a lot easier if you are able to display formulas correctly, instead of typing things like:

e^(x + i*y) = e^(x)*(cos(y) + i*sin(y))

Surprisingly, this problem is not quite solved. During my searches I found found the TeXIM Plugin, which should work with Gaim and amsn, thus allowing both Windows, MacOS, Linux and FreeBSD users to chat.

I, however, tried gaim-latex. The version in the ports of FreeBSD didn’t work, so I downloaded the release version (0.3) at sourceforge and compiled it (you have to use gmake instead of the standard FreeBSD make). The resulting binary is to be copied to ~/.gaim/plugins. Then Gaim has to be restarted and told to use this plugin - done.

There are also a number of other plugins out there, for example a MathMode plugin for Miranda (an ICQ client for Windows). But they don’t work like gaim-latex or Kopete’s plugin: Instead of typing $$ my Tex code $$ you have to use strings like [MathMode] [/MathMode] or something like that. There is definitely a need for some standards - or aren’t there mathematicians longing for LaTeX conversations (please note the spelling!)?