# Firefox Is the First Browser To Pass the MathML Acid2 Test

#### timothy posted about 7 months ago

134

An anonymous reader writes "Frédéric Wang, an engineer at the MathJax project, reports that the latest nightly build of Firefox now passes the MathML Acid2 test. Screenshots in his post show a comparison with the latest nightly Chrome Canary, and it's not pretty. He writes 'Google developers forked Webkit and decided to remove from Blink all the code (including MathML) on which they don't plan to work in the short term.'"

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#### Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

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### When you have money, (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

You don't need math.

### Re:When you have money, (4, Funny)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

I suspect they were using Chrome in a Google Spreadsheet when calculating their bid for Motorola Mobility.

### Re: (1)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

I suspect they were using Chrome in a Google Spreadsheet when calculating their bid for Motorola Mobility.

And probably a Pentium with the fdiv problem :)

Under Emacs.

### Re: (2)

#### Tore S B | about 7 months ago

Wow! It's been a while since I've seen an FDIV joke.

### chrome fails MathML acid1 (5, Funny)

#### johnjones | about 7 months ago

I simply cant believe this...

MathML is a pretty important to allowing papers to be...

### Re: (2)

#### hairyfeet | about 7 months ago

But how many of your average users are gonna be going to pages where MathML would be useful? if it was 3% I'd be amazed. If Google isn't gonna be spending time working on it right now its probably better to remove it entirely as that makes one less vector for a browser exploit.

### Re:chrome fails MathML acid1 (0, Offtopic)

#### Billly Gates | about 7 months ago

Chrome stable passed it just fine.

This shows why enterprises prefer stability and ancient standards like old IE over Chrome who changes the rendering engine on a whim.

This whole article is clearly false. I ran this test on Firefox 17 ESR (the older annual updated version) and it ran. Last, I even ran it on IE. Perfect! I set the compatibility mode to lower and IE 9 ran fine too, and so did IE 8 render it fine as well which is old in modern standards.

Maybe I am missing something but every browser can pass this ... well except the alpha quality ones.

### It's supposed to look like a happy face, numbskull (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Not one that has been sucked through a jet engine then run over by a bad car analogy.

### Re:chrome fails MathML acid1 (5, Informative)

#### dgatwood | about 7 months ago

Chrome stable passed it just fine.

Are you looking at the same MathML Acid tests that I am? These are not the same tests as the original Acid and Acid 2 tests.

Chrome Stable, at least on OS X, fails MathML Acid 1 miserably, as does Chrome Canary. All the fractions are shown as the left part followed by a space followed by the right part instead of as a fraction. Safari on OS X is basically correct for MathML Acid 1 (albeit with the ugliest parentheses I've ever seen), but if you reload the page, the curly braces disappear, as do the comma inside the curly braces and the plus sign.

And the MathML Acid 2 test looks like a freaking Picasso on all three browsers.

### Re: (3)

#### hairyfeet | about 7 months ago

Yeah i think old billy got his ACID tests mixed up, which is why i think its stupid to call this ACID instead of something like ML-Test or Math Tester. But I ran the test on both Comodo Dragon (Based on Chromium stable) and Pale Moon and it was a total mess and considering how long it took IE to get ACID support I'm seriously doubting he got IE 8 to pass, nor do i believe that FF ESR passed as that is a couple of years old.

But again I really don't see a point in the MathML tests, the vast majority won't ever be going to a site that depends on MathML so saying its not supporting MathML means squat, like saying a CPU should be judged strictly by how well it runs Folding At Home. Hell Folding is a hell of a lot bigger niche than MathML, can anybody even name a popular site in the top 20 page ranking that uses it? Top 50? So far web designers can't even get HTML V5 up and running without it sucking cycles like a drunk sucking down free drinks so MathML should rightly be at the bottom of the "to do" list.

### Re: (2)

#### Billly Gates | about 7 months ago

Yeah i think old billy got his ACID tests mixed up, which is why i think its stupid to call this ACID instead of something like ML-Test or Math Tester. But I ran the test on both Comodo Dragon (Based on Chromium stable) and Pale Moon and it was a total mess and considering how long it took IE to get ACID support I'm seriously doubting he got IE 8 to pass, nor do i believe that FF ESR passed as that is a couple of years old.

But again I really don't see a point in the MathML tests, the vast majority won't ever be going to a site that depends on MathML so saying its not supporting MathML means squat, like saying a CPU should be judged strictly by how well it runs Folding At Home. Hell Folding is a hell of a lot bigger niche than MathML, can anybody even name a popular site in the top 20 page ranking that uses it? Top 50? So far web designers can't even get HTML V5 up and running without it sucking cycles like a drunk sucking down free drinks so MathML should rightly be at the bottom of the "to do" list.

Yeah I had 3 rum and cokes when I typed that.

The reason HTML 5 is not getting off is because of ... you guessed it... IE support. Make that old IE support. IE 6 you can safely ignore outside of China thankfully, but IE 8 is HUGE and with grannies and the corps not leaving XP anytime soon it will stick a long long time. Remember not every business has its own I.T. department or with with small shops like your own who tell them to leave. Most are small to medium sized business that have some old app that uses IE 6 like a POS system in a cash register or DOS based app. No one really wants to take time out of the day to explain how to setup virtilization when the owner thinks spending money to replace soemthing that works fine already.

I still use IE 8 at work and some of my coworkers do use IE 9 but I know some of our portal pages do not work and I do nto want to bother to change it as I need to find odd apps on it for users who call with needing Tidcore or spotfire which is hidden in that monstrosity that predates sharepoint. But I never go outside of technet, microsoft, and gmail so I do nto care. I am overworked in the office at this point. I can imagine that is the typical IE 8 user that you see in logs.

Point being I will not upgrade nor will the Indian I.T. team bother with a SCCM update until websites switch to HTML 5. Sites wont switch to HTML 5 because they have no reason to upgrade from IE 8. Until that changes no one will budge and time will freeze on inovation except on our phones which will sadly have a richer browsing experience.

Worse, with desktops being just good enough they are turning into mainframes that only get updated once per decade running even older apps. This slows down innovation even further.

### IE doesn't support MathML (1)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

That is rather impressive considering IE doesn't support MathML, and requires a plug in to get it working on IE 7 and 8. The plug-in has some trouble in IE 9 and 10 though, although they might have a beta working now. MS has no plans of adding MathML support and recommend using a MS program to export the equation as an image or using another program to export it as an SVG.

### Re:chrome fails MathML acid1 (4, Informative)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Personally I browse pages that use MathML every single day (literally), opengl.org ref pages, have MathML scattered throughout - I've never bothered installing chrome on a workstation once due to lack of MathML support, and don't ever plan on doing so until it can (among many other missing features).

### Re: (2)

#### hairyfeet | about 7 months ago

And how many NORMAL users are gonna be going to OpenGL ref pages? This is no different than the guy a few weeks back that said AMD chips weren't useful at any price because they bog down on acoustical wave simulations...how many users actually do acoustical wave simulations?

Of course I see this as a symptom of "In ur butt" syndrome. Just like the old Eddie Murphy song the devs are trying to jam everything up the butt of your browser, the problem is not only is jamming all that stuff up the browser gonna make it bloat but its gonna offer just one more way to pwn the system through the browser. Maybe I'm just getting old but this seems like something better suited to an optional plugin rather than an always on built in browser component.

### Re:chrome fails MathML acid1 (5, Interesting)

#### dgatwood | about 7 months ago

The reason to improve MathML support isn't browsers. It's eBook readers that share the underlying rendering engines. Lots of textbook publishers want to use MathML, but without robust, reliable, visually appealing support, everybody has to do awful hacks with inline images or (hopefully) SVG instead.

### Re:chrome fails MathML acid1 (5, Informative)

#### tyrione | about 7 months ago

The reason to improve MathML support isn't browsers. It's eBook readers that share the underlying rendering engines. Lots of textbook publishers want to use MathML, but without robust, reliable, visually appealing support, everybody has to do awful hacks with inline images or (hopefully) SVG instead.

Spot on. EPub 3.x with MathML 3.0 is vital to work in digital publishing for iOS, Android, etc.

### Re: (2)

#### maxwell demon | about 7 months ago

MathML is a static content description language like (pure) HTML, not a programming language like JavaScript. Moreover, it should use the same parser used for all other XML based content (like XHTML), which is most likely even the same parser which is used to parse HTML. So I cannot see how MathML could be used for an exploit which is not possible for HTML (unless you did a really crappy implementation).

### The majority meme (2)

#### tepples | about 7 months ago

But how many of your average users are gonna be going to pages where MathML would be useful? if it was 3% I'd be amazed.

Again with the "if it's not useful to the 51% it's not useful to anyone" meme. For one thing, the Web was invented for use by academia. For another, pretty much everyone who goes to college or even high school ends up seeing an equation at some time.

### Re: (1)

#### hairyfeet | about 7 months ago

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...there is NO point in adding yet more bloat and complexity to a browser, not to mention giving malware writers one more attack vector in said browser, all to support a teeny tiny niche that would probably just as well if not better supported by using a browser plug in to a real language like Java.

At the end of the day making everybody put up with a more bloated browser just to keep a couple of percent from getting their panties in a wad just isn't worth it, like it or not that is just the way things are.

### Flash and Java themselves are attack vectors (2)

#### tepples | about 7 months ago

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few

Not in all cases, as shown in historical examples of tyranny of the majority [wikipedia.org]. It lets those with wealth get away with assaults on freedom because the majority don't feel like keeping themselves informed. Case in point: In the United States in the mid-twentieth century, the majority of European descent wanted to force "colored" people, mostly of African descent, to use a different drinking fountain. Was that an acceptable compromise to support "the needs of the many"?

there is NO point in adding yet more bloat and complexity to a browser, not to mention giving malware writers one more attack vector in said browser, all to support a teeny tiny niche that would probably just as well if not better supported by using a browser plug in to a real language like Java.

Flash and Java themselves have a track record of being "one more attack vector in said browser".

### Re: (2)

#### K. S. Kyosuke | about 7 months ago

But how many of your average users are gonna be going to pages where MathML would be useful? if it was 3% I'd be amazed.

You'd be amazed to discover that more than 3% of netizens use Wikipedia?

### Re:chrome fails MathML acid1 (4, Insightful)

#### narcc | about 7 months ago

It's a real shame -- MathML is abysmal.

A few zillion years ago, we had the math tag, which was similar to TeX. It died on the vine, but would have been MUCH better than the cruel joke that is MathML.

### Re: (1)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

It died on the vine, but would have been MUCH better than the cruel joke that is MathML.

Only for those writing HTML documents by hand. Most people use automated tools to generate the required code - makes no difference to them how it is finally presented to the web browser. And those people who do write by hand are the same people who can write a script to extract, convert, then replace their TeX code with MathML.

And in regards to the web browser, formatting the code in a format that can be parsed by the existing HTML engine greatly reduces the effort required to implement the tags. This is what MathML has going for it because otherwise one would have to implement a TeX parser into the web engine.

### Re:chrome fails MathML acid1 (4, Informative)

#### TheRaven64 | about 7 months ago

MathML attempts to separate the content and presentation. This is fine if you have a tool that properly supports both (I've never used one, maybe Mathematica or similar does?), but it sucks for most editors. The idea is that you can have a single format that describes both how to lay out equations and their semantics. In practice, pretty much everyone who generates MathML does it from the TeX equivalent and so only ever gets the presentation form. The other advantage of MathML is that each individual element is exposed via the DOM, so it's easy to manipulate equations from JavaScript, although I don't think I've ever seen that done either.

Part of the problem with a format that is basically impossible for humans to write is that it also ends up being difficult to produce tools that can write and display it, which is why it's taken 10 years or so for MathML to get even a token amount of support in mainstream browsers...

### Re: (2)

#### K. S. Kyosuke | about 7 months ago

The other advantage of MathML is that each individual element is exposed via the DOM, so it's easy to manipulate equations from JavaScript, although I don't think I've ever seen that done either.

I believe that MathJax does this. Anyway, you can either generate MathML inside a browser with DOM if you're targeting it, or you can write a script that converts it to something else (SVG, a canvas program) if you're implementing it. If you're especially kinky, you can do both. :-)

### Re:chrome fails MathML acid1 (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

The point of HTML is that it can be easily written by hand. And yes, a TeX browser plugin would be a better solution.

### Re: (2)

#### emt377 | about 7 months ago

Most people use automated tools to generate the required code - makes no difference to them how it is finally presented to the web browser. And those people who do write by hand are the same people who can write a script to extract, convert, then replace their TeX code with MathML.

Eh. A math tag would have allowed me to type math in my response to you right here, in postings to facebook, email, or anywhere HTML is used. Requiring a site to source scripts guarantees it'll never be more than peripheral and utterly irrelevant.

### Re: (1)

#### maxwell demon | about 7 months ago

A math tag would have allowed me to type math in my response to you right here

HTML also supports &Gamma; but you'll not get Slashdot to display it. What makes you think that a math tag would be supported, if it doesn't even support all characters usually found in formulas?

### Re:chrome fails MathML acid1 (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

The problems with the math tag were that it didn't allow separation of semantics and styling, and that it was hard to parse due to an abundance of escape characters. Its grammar was derived from TeX so it was a monster. It might be okay if you edit it only by hand and check your results for unexpected errors, but it isn't when you need to manipulate the data with software.

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

It's the worst HTML tag EVER.

### Re:I for one am glad they left out Blink. (5, Informative)

#### corychristison | about 7 months ago

My many web design/development clients would disagree with you. I don't even want to recall the times I've had to tell them No for blinking things.

Unfortunately they think blinking == attention getting, whereas we think blinking == f*cking irritating.

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Whoosh!

A stupid name but there you go. (I get that it could be a joke but it is so unfunny it seems more likely the poster misunderstood.)

### Re: (2)

#### VortexCortex | about 7 months ago

It's the worst HTML tag EVER.

My many web design/development clients would disagree with you. I don't even want to recall the times I've had to tell them No for blinking things.

Unfortunately they think blinking == attention getting, whereas we think blinking == f*cking irritating.

<BLINK> tags don't annoy people, people do. Don't give them a blinking tag, they'll just create a .GIF or worse a jittering noisy Flash animation. I used a blinking tag in a non-annoying way: to emulate a DOS like cursor for my temporary landing page.
Firefox supports the blinking text, but Chrome doesn't...

Google's Blink seems to have an apt name. They named their codebase fork after things they actively don't support. The name "Blink" would seem be synonymous with "Dropping Support Of..." I hope they keep this trend up. After all, it's a net loss to spend money developing a web browser when other fully open source browsers exist, so eventually I can see them dropping support for HTML when they don't plan to have to PAY any developers to work on it. Note: Chromium has developers that are not Google Employees. Some of us might have taken up the call to further maintain Math ML, if we were every fucking asked.

### Blink tag can be done with CSS animation (2)

#### tepples | about 7 months ago

I used a blinking tag in a non-annoying way: to emulate a DOS like cursor for my temporary landing page.

To simulate a blinking insertion point, you could have used a CSS animation.

### Re: (2)

#### femtobyte | about 7 months ago

Unfortunately, f*cking irritating == attention getting, so by the commutative quality of the equivalency group, they are technically correct, and we are f*cking screwed.

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

You don't understand "blink" do you? We're not talking about the tag here.

### Re: (2)

#### caspy7 | about 7 months ago

Unfortunately they think blinking == attention getting, whereas we think blinking == f*cking irritating.

Admittedly, they're right. Fortunately, we're righter.

### Who cares? (0, Troll)

#### retchdog | about 7 months ago

I see how passing this test is important in principle, I guess, but since it is elementary constructs used in a very complex and artificial way, does it really have much to do with how real math will look?

At least it's objective. That's something.

That chrome (at least the MacOS 26.0.1410.65 build) falls down hard on even the more reasonable mathml acid1 [github.io] seems more significant...

### Re: (2)

#### QuasiSteve | about 7 months ago

I agree that it's surprising that Chrome seems to fail even on simplistic things. However, Chrome doesn't really feel like the kind of browser that goes for that sort of thing either. Given a choice between MathML and rounded corners (just as an example), I can well imagine that the latter would be far more popular, find wide-spread adoption, and be able to differentiate Chrome from other browsers.

The fairly limited set of publishers/users that would find MathML something that they'd have an absolute need form, seem to be using things that drop in an image of the MathML instead; stumbled across some sites in the past, equation in an image that replaced a piece of text that described the equation. No idea what that site used, but here's an example:
http://dlippman.imathas.com/asciimathtex/AMT.html [imathas.com]

I can well imagine that supporting MathML does not exactly have a very high priority. Desktop sharing in Google Hangouts, albeit via a plugin at this time, on the other hand..

### Re:Who cares? (5, Insightful)

#### Billly Gates | about 7 months ago

It is not all positive. It is buggy and has proprietary extensions similiar to something that sounded familiar in the past [pcmag.com]? Its javascript sometimes does not load on sites and its version of HTML 5 is differnent from others. HTML5test.com tests things that W3C implements a little differently or not at all.

Remember IE 6 was lean mean and standards compliant compared to the god awefull netscape 10 years ago too. Hard to believe in a place like slashdot to admit but if you go read slashdot history on the most discussed stories of all time "What keeps you on Windows from 2002" IE 6 is mentioned!

The switch to a new rendering engine is going to cause issues soon and many corporate oriented SVs and site makers will not be pleased.

### Re: (2)

#### steelfood | about 7 months ago

IE5 was lean and mean, and about as ideal as you could get for those days (security notwithstanding). The bloat began with IE6, and by then, Netscape was the better browser, feature- and resource-wise.

### Re:Who cares? (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Google's track record is that they're excellent at developing exciting new core tech, but mostly rubbish at making it rock solid or going beyond the basics. But they do have their hands in a LOT of projects, so that checks out. Shame Chrome is one of the better ones, but is still so flimsy, though. Sure, it gets massive points on HTML5 tests, but go a bit deeper under the hood and it's quite superficial support in the end. Mozilla's mostly caught up where it counts the most now, so it's going to be interesting to see what happens over the next few years. Slow and steady may just "win the race" (though I don't consider there to be much to win here)

### Re: (2)

#### AmiMoJo | about 7 months ago

I don't think Google has given up on MathML though, they just are not supporting it until it reaches as usable and stable level in WebKit. Then they will port over that entire chunk of code.

This is a common thing for people doing forks because you don't really want to spend time folding in partially working code from the other guys that brings little benefit. Just wait until it works and do it all in one hit.

### Re: (2)

#### Shimbo | about 7 months ago

Remember IE 6 was lean mean and standards compliant compared to the god awefull netscape 10 years ago too.

That's IE 6 great claim to fame. Compared to the bloated corpse of Netscape 4, it looked quite good.

### Re: (2)

#### viperidaenz | about 7 months ago

But IE6 came out in the days of Netscape 6

### Re: (2)

#### Nimey | about 7 months ago

Netscape 6 was based on an early beta version of Mozilla Suite, somewhere between the last milestone release (M18) and the first real beta (0.7). In fact, IIRC the Mozilla team retconned v0.6 to match what AOL pulled for Netscape 6.0.

The first production-ready version of Mozilla-based Netscape was 7, I think, which was based on Mozilla 1.x.

I don't think many people used Netscape 6.

### MathML support was turned off in Chrome 25 (2)

#### Chrisq | about 7 months ago

You can star issue 152430 [google.com] to get support reenabled.

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Seriously, where is anyone using MathML? All the major math sites (AMS, Math Overflow, ...) seem to be using MathJAX instead--and they work very well under Chrome.

### Ah, remember the good old days (1)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

when this exact argument was used against SVG? Now every browser has it, and the pain of using a javascript library shim for the holdouts is gone.

### Re: (1)

#### maxwell demon | about 7 months ago

Sure, you can use workarounds like MathJAX. But it doesn't mean it is more than a workaround. What happens if you want to read some HTML containing formulas while offline?

### Offline copy of MathML to HTML+CSS script (2)

#### tepples | about 7 months ago

What happens if you want to read some HTML containing formulas while offline?

Then make an HTML document with a MathML data island, and have a <script> element in the HTML document reference an offline copy of the JavaScript program that translates MathML to HTML+CSS.

Or get a MiFi.

### Let me be the first to say (1)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Congratulations Mozilla! Still striving for standards means Firefox's job of keeping the others in check is just as important as ever.

### Re: (2)

#### MacDork | about 7 months ago

Yes, now if they could just implement a single html5 form element. [miketaylr.com]

### MathJax (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

becasue LaTeX is easier to write than XML.

### Re: (2)

#### colinrichardday | about 7 months ago

While LaTeX looks good printed on paper, the default MathJax fonts aren't great on a screen.

### Re: (1)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

If your browser has good MathML rendering, MathJax can use that.
http://docs.mathjax.org/en/latest/output.html

### This proves the point of needing it in the browser (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Which is why the one who broke this story is a MathJax developer.

### Math symbols are so archaic so who gives a F (1, Troll)

#### TrollstonButtersbean | about 7 months ago

Mathematics is one of those fields that could use some ISO standards.

There are critics of C++ that say the language is just pieces and parts hacked together. Even if that is true, mathematics takes the undisputed crown of bizarre hacked together symbols.

The symbols used in mathematics are unintelligible, inconsistent, don't even use a standard language character set and cannot be represented in a programming language.

These mathematical symbols either need to be modernized to come to a standardization or die.

The real answer is that they will die. And they should.

### There's a very good reason Maths is hard (1)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Because if it was made easier to understand then the aliens visiting us now would figure out how far behind them our tech is, and conquer us in 7 minutes.

### Re: (2, Insightful)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Mathematics is one of those fields that could use some ISO standards.

There are critics of C++ that say the language is just pieces and parts hacked together. Even if that is true, mathematics takes the undisputed crown of bizarre hacked together symbols.

The symbols used in mathematics are unintelligible, inconsistent, don't even use a standard language character set and cannot be represented in a programming language.

These mathematical symbols either need to be modernized to come to a standardization or die.

What the hell? I can believe how incredibly ignorant is this comment. Do you even work with mathematics? The symbols used in mathematics are jargon to be sure, but every (non-trivial) field of endeavours has its jargon. And that jargon makes mathematics significantly easier to work with day-to-day for its practitioners.

You make it sound like mathematics deliberately chose symbols and syntax that was difficult to implement in a programming language, as if that's the pinnacle of the written form. Of course, mathematics predates programming languages by centuries if not millenia. And the symbol it uses are part of a standard language character set, just not those that has yet been popular in the (relative) young computer world. You're comparing mathematics to a single programming language. You should instead compare mathematics to every programming language combined.

Your comment makes as much sense as suggesting we should make all computer languages like COBOL. Sure, it makes the actual words more readable and standardised, but it doesn't help the layperson because the average person isn't going to read any computer languages anyway. And it hinders any computer programmer by making it more difficult and wordy to express complicated concepts.

### Re: (2, Interesting)

#### chithanh | about 7 months ago

What the hell? I can believe how incredibly ignorant is this comment. Do you even work with mathematics? The symbols used in mathematics are jargon to be sure, but every (non-trivial) field of endeavours has its jargon. And that jargon makes mathematics significantly easier to work with day-to-day for its practitioners.

You make it sound like mathematics deliberately chose symbols and syntax that was difficult to implement in a programming language, as if that's the pinnacle of the written form. Of course, mathematics predates programming languages by centuries if not millenia.

The problem is that these symbols are no longer suitable for the modern world. They were fine at the time when they were conceived, but technology has moved on and requires something better.

And the symbol it uses are part of a standard language character set, just not those that has yet been popular in the (relative) young computer world. You're comparing mathematics to a single programming language. You should instead compare mathematics to every programming language combined.

The criticism was not that the symbols are undisplayable, it is that their use is not consistent and not possible as part of a computer program, aside from very special languages which specifically cater for Math. A few attempts have been made to reconcile these (for example RPN and stack-based languages like Forth) but have not seen widespread adoption so far.

With regards to the GP, I think that the inconsistency is especially bad. For example, whether N is meant to include 0 or not often depends on whether the author thinks that the natural numbers include 0 or not (which are two totally different things). Then many authors use trigonometric functions like operators to avoid writing parentheses, but without formally specifying the binding/precedence level. So when one reads "sin^2 x*y" does that mean "(sin(x)^2)y" or "sin(x*y)^2" or "sin(sin(x))*y" or "sin(sin(x*y))"? The list goes on.

### Re: (1)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

The problem is that these symbols are no longer suitable for the modern world. They were fine at the time when they were conceived, but technology has moved on and requires something better.

These symbols were difficult when computers were new and slow. Nowadays, there are things like Unicode, LaTeX and MathML which partially solves those problems. You make it sound like we should adapt to computers, that's understandable when computers were expensive, but they're now cheap and we should optimise for humans in my opinion.

The criticism was not that the symbols are undisplayable, it is that their use is not consistent and not possible as part of a computer program, aside from very special languages which specifically cater for Math. A few attempts have been made to reconcile these (for example RPN and stack-based languages like Forth) but have not seen widespread adoption so far.

With regards to the GP, I think that the inconsistency is especially bad. For example, whether N is meant to include 0 or not often depends on whether the author thinks that the natural numbers include 0 or not (which are two totally different things). Then many authors use trigonometric functions like operators to avoid writing parentheses, but without formally specifying the binding/precedence level. So when one reads "sin^2 x*y" does that mean "(sin(x)^2)y" or "sin(x*y)^2" or "sin(sin(x))*y" or "sin(sin(x*y))"? The list goes on.

That's because of the limitation in conveying Mathematics in ASCII as well as either people writing the mathematics being insufficiently clear (which can happen in English or programming languages) or the person reading the mathematics not being familiar with the conventions in that area of mathematics. The issues with precedences also occurs in programming languages, the solution is a mixture of both strong convention (people write "a+b*c" and not "a+(b*c)") and/or brackets.

So "sin^2 x*y" means "(sin(x*y))^2", it's a pretty strong convention. If you meant "(sin(x)^2)y" (as "(sin(x^2))*y"), you'd write as "y sin x^2". If you meant "sin(sin(x))*y", you'd write as "y sin(sin(x))". If you meant "sin(sin(x*y))", you'd write as that or "sin(sin x*y)". Sure, it's a bit odd for people unfamiliar with mathematics, but those people are never going to do mathematics anyway. The people who drives a language's evolution are those people who uses it.

Now, I agree that inconsistency is bad. But eliminating inconsistency isn't free. It has a huge transitional cost. It'd render significant amounts of published works difficult/impossible to read for future generations. It also has an even more significant ongoing cost. It means in new fields of mathematics, that different people around the world has to decide on an appropriate encoding, that's pretty much impossible (also see: ).

Why not replace (in your comment) "mathematics" with "English" or "programming language". Whenever a new word is needed, it'll need to go through a central body and that's just vocabulary. Imagine trying to create a *practical* programming language that will last forever. Turing machines don't count.

I'm pretty confident it'd be less work to implement support for mathematics than to re-standardise all of mathematics to a different form. Now, I no longer work with mathematics day-to-day, so I'm not going to do that work improving mathematics support in computers. But there's a lot of people who do and I'd both applaud them for that work and also agree with them that it's a better idea to improve computer support for mathematics than to restandardise mathematics.

### Re: (3)

#### Samantha Wright | about 7 months ago

Just a note—sin^2(x) cannot be sin(sin(x)) because that is a datatype error. The input is an angle, the output is a ratio. They don't have the same domain, and hence the function cannot be iterated. Because of its utility in trig proofs, sin^2(x) was introduced as a form of syntactic sugar, much like Python's slice operators or C's array subscripts. (Although to be fair the formal notion of functions wasn't well-standardized at the time, and it actually was a unary operator when introduced.) It helps to regard sin^2 as a discrete trigonometric function and not simply a sine function being squared.

### Re:Math symbols are so archaic so who gives a F (5, Informative)

#### maxwell demon | about 7 months ago

Just a note—sin^2(x) cannot be sin(sin(x)) because that is a datatype error.

You just showed that you don't know enough mathematics.

The input to the sine function is not an angle, it is a real or complex number. If real, this number often (but not always!) describes some angle. If complex, it obviously won't describe an angle.

The sine function is defined as

sin x = (exp(i x) - exp(-i x)) / (2i)

where i is the imaginary number, and exp(x) is defined by the series

exp x = 1 + x + x^2/2 + ... + x^n/n! + ...

Note that, since the convergence radius of the exponential series is infinite, and the sine is just a linear combination of exponentials, the sine is defined on all complex numbers. Since it is complex-valued, sin sin x is indeed well defined for all complex numbers x.

Moreover, if you restrict the sine to real numbers (that is, only accept real numbers), you still have a well defined sin sin x, because the real sine function is also real-valued (more exactly, its values are restricted to the interval [-1,1]).

Also, the output is in general not a rational number (the only thing you could have meant with "ratio" that makes sense in this context).

### Re: (2)

#### Samantha Wright | about 7 months ago

You've argued effectively that the domains of the input and output of trigonometric functions are unbounded, but not against the interpretation of their meanings. Complex angles occur in total internal reflection, for example.

Even if sin sin x is well-defined, it doesn't have any natural utility. I'd be really surprised (but interested!) if you could show me an example of it being used in a proof.

### Re: (1)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

There are in fact whole books [wiley.com] on the topic. Although that book intro claims not much has been written about it, there is information around about it because of the use of the sine map in dynamical systems and chaos studies (with some "real" world applications as modeling of some weakly driving rotors and phase locked loop systems). Going deeper into the rabbit whole will find things like functional square roots, equivalent to half an iteration, giving things like the rin function where rin(rin(x)) = sin(x)..

### Re: (2)

#### Samantha Wright | about 7 months ago

Alright then; I'm sold. But it does seem like it's much less of a general use than the conventional sin(x)*sin(x).

### Re:Math symbols are so archaic so who gives a F (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

My fellow AC, have you ever thought that maths isn't just for 1337 postgrads and professors pushing the world further? Pretty much everyone gets to learn trigonometry and many also learn more advanced topics, too. And when the language of logic, reason and rigorous work is inconsistent while asking its pupils to be consistent it's the very definition of hypocrisy.

### Re: (1)

#### chithanh | about 7 months ago

So "sin^2 x*y" means "(sin(x*y))^2", it's a pretty strong convention. If you meant "(sin(x)^2)y" (as "(sin(x^2))*y"), you'd write as "y sin x^2". If you meant "sin(sin(x))*y", you'd write as "y sin(sin(x))". If you meant "sin(sin(x*y))", you'd write as that or "sin(sin x*y)". Sure, it's a bit odd for people unfamiliar with mathematics, but those people are never going to do mathematics anyway.

But could you code this convention into a compiler, e.g. by formally specifying precedence for trigonometric operators? It would have to account for the most common interpretations:

sin x*y = sin(x*y)
sin x * sin y = sin(x)*sin(y)
sin^2 x = sin(x)^2
sin^(-1) x = arcsin(x)

Now continue this for log, lim, summation notation, and all the other clever ways mathematicians have devised in order to avoid writing parentheses. It will quickly become clear that this is an arduous, error prone task and the time better be spent elsewhere by using proper notation from the beginning.

The people who drives a language's evolution are those people who uses it.

Yes, and the OP said that this language is ill-suited for writing computer programs and hence predicted that it will see declining use in the computer world.

### Re:Math symbols are so archaic so who gives a F (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

many authors use trigonometric functions like operators to avoid writing parentheses, but without formally specifying the binding/precedence level. So when one reads "sin^2 x*y" does that mean "(sin(x)^2)y" or "sin(x*y)^2" or "sin(sin(x))*y" or "sin(sin(x*y))"? The list goes on.

Why would it be anything other than the "sin(x*y)^2"?
This is why we need MathML...
From the formatting it should be obvious what it is.

The author always defines what N actually means. Guessing from the context you are using it in N is the count.

### Re: (1)

#### chithanh | about 7 months ago

So when one reads "sin^2 x*y" does that mean "(sin(x)^2)y" or "sin(x*y)^2" or "sin(sin(x))*y" or "sin(sin(x*y))"? The list goes on.

Why would it be anything other than the "sin(x*y)^2"?

Because in other contexts, (f^2)(x) means f(f(x)). And there is sin^(-1) which is a popular way to denote the arcsine. So the superscript after a function can mean totally different things which the compiler will have to figure out from the context. Concerning x*y see my other reply further below.

The author always defines what N actually means. Guessing from the context you are using it in N is the count.

The problem is not that it isn't properly defined, the problem is that it is not consistent.

### Re: (1)

#### chithanh | about 7 months ago

Why would it be anything other than the "sin(x*y)^2"?

I have seen authors write "sin a * sin b" and mean "sin(a)*sin(b)", not "sin(a*sin(b))". So there is some further inconsistency in the implicit precedence rules for the sin operator.

### Re: (2)

#### K. S. Kyosuke | about 7 months ago

You make it sound like mathematics deliberately chose symbols and syntax that was difficult to implement in a programming language, as if that's the pinnacle of the written form.

Not deliberately, but a significant part of the mathematical notation actually doesn't make sense from the POV of formal languages - probably because the notion of formal languages didn't exist at the time. :-)

### Re:Math symbols are so archaic so who gives a F (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

There already is an ISO standard for such things, for example [iso.org]. For 99% of the stuff, there are standard symbols and usage is pretty consistent, at worse differing across between two large, historically separate fields, but otherwise consistent as two dialects.Much of it you would have trouble changing or causing to "die" because of how long and consistent the use has been.

### Re:Math symbols are so archaic so who gives a F (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

You sound like a typical fat, slobbering and stupid american: speak English or die!

### Re:Math symbols are so archaic so who gives a F (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Lol. I can't believe how many comments were posted, and not a single one picked up that it was a deliberate troll (though I guess some mods did), if you have any doubt about it being a troll just look at the name of the poster. It is a pretty crude troll, but clearly effective.

### i love firefox (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

I love this browser is, let me to experience better results, such as google.com, kooyi.com, facebook.com

### Mozilla? Pff.. who cares? (1)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

When Chrome devs sneeze and accidentally create some flimsy new voice API that does things remotely anyway, the web gives them a shoulder rub.

When Chrome devs give up and fork their browser, that's a big thumbs up.

When Opera gives up the ghost and chooses Google's engine, it's "good job, Google!"

But when Mozilla listens to users and shrinks their memory usage to the point where Chrome can't even compete, "who cares"?

When Mozilla diligently catches up in Javascript performance, even overtaking Google with a clever stopgap solution for improving Javascript, "who cares"?

When Mozilla proves they've solidified a piece of web tech that many people already rely on, "who cares?"

Apparently, Mozilla could be the best browser on earth and people would still scoff at it for not being Google's.

### Re: (2)

#### Guspaz | about 7 months ago

When Mozilla proves they've solidified a piece of web tech that many people already rely on, "who cares?"

Define "many". Before today, as a geek and a software developer, I've never heard of MathML before. Now that I have heard about it, and know what it's for, I find it completely useless to me, and I suspect the vast majority of people. I think that a tiny fraction of a percent of people will find MathML useful.

### LOL! What a bunch a losers! (1)

#### CuteSteveJobs | about 7 months ago

> 'Google developers forked Webkit and decided to remove from Blink all the code (including MathML) on which they don't plan to work in the short term.'"

Haha! What a bunch of losers. Psssst! What's he talking about?

### Re:LOL! What a bunch a losers! (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Quotations from Eric Seidel (Google) on the MathML bug:

"We should not keep code in Blink which we're not compiling/don't plan to compile soon. This includes MathML. Many changes are going on the in rendering tree right now. Keeping the rendering tree to just the code we're shipping is important."

"Since the WebKit MathML code is not being actively developed by anyone in Blink, and is compiled off, it is being removed at this time."

### Why bloat my browser (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Why bloat the browser with something that 0.00000000000001% of pages need. Pages that need math symbols can use MathJax (http://www.mathjax.org/) or similar. No need to build this into the browser.

### With or without cheats? (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

Did firefox use some hardcoded font hack to pass an older acid (3?) test?

### if you want MathMl enabled in Chrome (3)

#### Chrisq | about 7 months ago

if you want MathMl enabled in Chrome click the star in Issue 152430 [google.com] to register interest

### How does this affect me *now*? (2)

#### QuietLagoon | about 7 months ago

What benefit does this give to me now, at this moment? Probably little if any.

.
On the other hand, it would be really nice if the Firefox developers fixed their proxy issues, and fixed the javascript engine choking on sites.

The problem with the testerone-induced rapid development cycle is that it apparently leads to a lot of bravado (we're better than Chrome") and little ongoing maintenance of browsing issues.

### I was told there would be no math! (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago

I come here to Slashdot to watch bickering basement dwellers argue about who knows more about some arcane technology, not do math. // or as the Brits would say, "maths"

### No fate. (1)

#### Impy the Impiuos Imp | about 7 months ago

FWIW, Chrome's result is identical to my default, pre-Chrome, Android 2.6.3 browser. This would make sense if Google had removed the code from Chrome rather than a half-assed version; this must be the default infinit incompetence look.

I take that back. Infinite incompetence would crash. Possibly also infecting the Internet.

### O want musicXML in my browser ;_) (1)

#### bbsalem | about 7 months ago

Hey, I like to typeset music, What if I want my browser to parse musicXML? I need a plugin, deah!

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