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2019/05/12 13:11:44 CEST
Tijs H    
Update on Bakoma

Dear Denis,

As you (by now?) know, the users of Bakoma TeX are very much dedicated to this software.
Me, and probably many others are interested in how this, probably difficult, transferal task is working out.
Do you think it is manageable (i.e. We can expect updates in the not so distant future?).
Any updates would be very much appreciated.

Kind regards,

2019/05/12 13:12:53 CEST
Tijs H    

To clarify: "*Any updates on how the project is going for you, would be very much appreciated"
2019/06/13 12:38:38 CEST

The lack of any response whatsoever to your question, or to any similar questions by others, pretty much says it all. This is what a dead project looks like. Nor does there appear to be any effort or interest to open source this software. The only public communication regarding this project were three short sentences from Basil’s nephew back in Feb 2019. For all anyone knows, there may be legal or other issues preventing anyone from doing anything with Basil’s software and/or business. The current ICANN Whois information for bakomatex.com still shows Basil as still being the sole contact at a Moscow address. Given his unfortunate passing at least 6 months ago, this shows that nobody is doing the minimal administrative work to keep things going.
2019/06/13 15:44:15 CEST
Eaton W    

That's very unfortunate, in particular to those who paid for business licenses that have free updates for two years. Denis, while we have been deeply sorry for your loss, please, do something to Bamoka: either continue developing or make it open source. That would be greatly appreciated!
2019/06/14 10:16:11 CEST
Ben McDowel    

Even if nothing is going to happen: how can we save at least the current version o Bakoma, so that we can use it in the future? For instance, if I have a new computer would I be able to install the latest version from Oct. 2018 (I have a a license) on it? Is there anything we should download and backup now? Etc.
2019/06/17 18:09:10 CEST
Martin J. Osborne    

When the installation file is run, it gets files from the Bakoma server, so presumably if the server goes down it will no longer work.

Simply copying all the installed files from one computer to another presumably won't work either because of registration issues.

The ICANN record appears to say that the registration of bakomatex.com will expire 2019-09-10 (although of course it could be renewed).

2019/06/18 03:52:40 CEST

"That's very unfortunate, in particular to those who paid for business licenses that have free updates for two years." Good grief. It's more unfortunate for the guy who died. You'll manage to get by for the extra $30 bucks you lost. Time to download many of the great alternatives: vscode, emacs/auctex, sublime tex, etc etc. Expand your skills and get over your unfortunate monetary loss.
2019/06/18 04:03:53 CEST
Dung Le    

I think the most feasible approach to maintain BakomaTex is to buy out BakomaTex and transfer it into an open project.
2019/06/18 11:22:28 CEST
Ben McDowel    

"Time to download many of the great alternatives: vscode, emacs/auctex, sublime tex, etc etc. "
None of these are alternatives for Bakoma, and it's unclear if they are "great".
The reason is that none of these tools are true Wysiwyg. They all are too cumbersome for many users who continue to use them simply out of habit I assume.
2019/06/18 16:08:41 CEST
Martin J. Osborne    

It may be that some people like vscode, emacs/auctex etc., even people who have tried BaKoMa: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But the fact is that a bunch of us regard BaKoMa as hugely superior.

That raises the question of why there aren't other systems like BaKoMa. The number of editors for TeX with syntax highlighting seems to continually increase, but the number with simultaneous preview (BaKoMa) is stuck at 1, and appears to be headed to 0.

One reason could be that the number of people who like such a system is too small to support development. I don't know the numbers.

Another reason could be that creating such a system is very difficult, and Basil was unique in having the ability to do so. However, although Basil was clearly extremely talented, it seems unlikely that there is no one else in the world capable of creating a similar system.

Yet another reason might be that implementing such a system requires hacking the code of the basic TeX system that is either not strictly permitted by the license or is frowned upon by TeX coders. Certainly the mainstream TeX community seems to look upon BaKoMa with disdain. I have no evidence one way or the other on this point.

The question remains: why doesn't there exist an open-source project to build a BaKoMa-like system: TeX code in one window, compiled code in the other, both windows always in sync, and the user can edit either?

2019/06/18 21:30:01 CEST
Ben McDowel    

You have raised good points, Martin.
I believe the reason that there are no true-Wysiwg tex editors is indeed that:
1- Basil is the only one who succeeded to pull it off. Because he was talented and innovative, and worked alone, for long time, and was not forced to conform to market forces like they do in the West;
2- It may be possible for others to pull it off, but that will necessitate too much effort from mainstream developers of tex systems (I assume tex systems are not something you make big money out of). So the effort does not pay off.
3- "The TeX system requires hacking". I am quite surprise to hear that. Isn't the Tex code open? Why would there be a need to hack it for Bakoma, technologically speaking? Very intriguing.

As for your claim that "Certainly the mainstream TeX community seems to look upon BaKoMa with disdain. "
Here I'm also surprised. I've never seen such disdain. I also didn't know that there is a Tex community to start with. Only scientist who use it, and everyone I showed Bakoma to are usually quite impressed.

Overall, I think we should strive to make the code Open, or buy the product; or at least make sure the server works so that we and others can continue using what is *already* a great tool, even if it is not developed further.
2019/06/19 02:06:50 CEST
Martin J. Osborne    

Most TeX editors are open source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_TeX_edi tors
That means that a lot of people are spending a lot of time with no (direct) compensation --- so I don't think your explanation that creating a BaKoMa-like system "will necessitate too much effort" is right. I'm sure you are right that BaKoMa is a much more difficult project than a run-of-the-mill text editor with syntax highlighting, but there are a lot of very talented programmers out there.

On point 3, your response prompted me to investigate --- thanks. The impression I had that TeX isn't exactly in the public domain seems not to be correct
So it seems that license restrictions are a non-issue.

Disdain is the impression I have from reading posts over the years on
However, maybe I'm misinterpreting people's comments. Here is a list of posts mentioning BaKoMa:
(Basil himself sometimes posted.)

I would be delighted if the BaKoMa code were made Open Source. But that obviously depends on the current owner, who has been essentially silent.

2019/06/19 15:00:48 CEST
Ben McDowel    

Hi Martin,

Yes, I have read all these discussion on stackexchange, and I have not felt at all that the answers show any disdain. They show indeed that Bakoma is slightly unknown to most scientists/tex users, that is correct.

In fact comments like this:

"How it does this, I don't know. They do claim what is shown on the screen is equivalent to what will be printed on the pages. I doubt that that is entirely true. Perhaps the look (fonts, kerning etc.) of the document is exactly the same, but the exact location on the page is influenced by more than only the content of the current page."

strengthen my impression that Bakoma/Basil succeeded to do something that other people simply do not know how to do, or did not think of, or did not take the time to learn how to do, or invest sufficient intellectual effort on this technological problem. Of course, in principle other people are surely capable of achieving this, but the reason they didn't is that it is not simple.

On the other hand, I believe that another reason for the lack of Bakoma alternatives is that most big investor in tex typesetting have been working on *online* tools. I believe that these online tools are in some sense *true WYSIWYG*. What is your impression? Are these viable alternatives? I like the fact that Bakoma is off-line. Do you happen to know of any other true WYSIWYG off-line tool for tex?
2019/06/19 16:48:19 CEST

"None of these are alternatives for Bakoma, and it's unclear if they are "great". The reason is that none of these tools are true Wysiwyg. They all are too cumbersome for many users who continue to use them simply out of habit I assume. "..................... My point was, there eventually will be no choice but to switch to an alternative, out of necessity, regardless of how unpleasant that might be. If nobody is paying the bills to the server hosting Bakoma, it will soon be impossible to to anything that depends on interaction with the website, such as activation of the sofware. ... For what it's worth, BakomaTex works on my computer when it's offline, so interaction with the BakomaTex server isn't required for Bakoma to continue to function at its current state. However, I believe it wouldn't be possible to switch to a different computer, because changing the license to a different computer requires activation through a server.
2019/06/19 17:53:09 CEST
Ben McDowel    

Unfortunately that is correct. I hope we can do something to at least make sure bakoma is still hosted on the server. I believe in fact that Denis would do that, because he still possibly get some revenue out of selling licenses, and that will be the minimal thing to do. This is just a guess though, I don't have any concrete knowledge.
2019/06/19 19:16:37 CEST

Ben, that's certainly a reasonable scenario to hope for. I'm not that optimistic though, for the reasons I've given in previous posts. It may be that Denis has no rights to do anything with Basil's business. Perhaps someone has a friend who is fluent in Russian, who could be convinced to do some detective work on behalf of the Bakoma community. One might start by calling Basil's phone number given on the ICANN webesite; maybe someone will answer wo can give the appropriate contact to whomever now owns the Bakoma business. Or maybe a bit of searching on some the Russian social networking sites can give some clues for contacts.
2019/06/20 02:06:44 CEST
Martin J. Osborne    


Basil was an active member of the TeX community in the 1990s. He published four articles in TUGboat
https://www.tug.org/TUGboat/Contents/listkeywo rd.html
(search for Malyshev), including one jointly with one of the authors of "The LaTeX Companion". BaKoMa was available on CTAN, and I believe that he was widely known in the TeX community. But he charged for his software, and I believe that others in the community didn't like that.

I'm not up-to-date about TeX editors, but I believe that BaKoMa is the only one that allows you to edit the "preview". Several others allow you to compile and display a document with a single keystroke (for example, StudioTeX is like that), but that is very cumbersome, especially for a long document. Yet others (like the dreadful Scientific Word and Lyx) have their own engines for producing a human-readable version of the code that you can edit.

The Wikipedia page
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_ TeX_editors
says that TeXmacs is "WYSIWYG", but I believe that is not correct. In fact, my understanding from the TeXmacs website is that the native format of the files it uses is not LaTeX, although LaTeX can be exported and "to some extent" imported.

I believe it may be the case that Overleaf, the online editor, automatically compiles as you type TeX code, but I think it compiles the whole document, so the preview appears with considerable delay. However, I have been unable to try it, because it says I have an account but at the same time won't let me log in, so I may be completely wrong.

2019/06/20 02:09:17 CEST
Martin J. Osborne    


Do you know what happens when you are working with BaKoMa offline and you specify a package you don't have? When working online, BaKoMa goes and fetches the package.

2019/06/25 17:05:44 CEST

Hi Martin, I might not understand your question. Obviously if you're offline and don't have a package you need downloaded onto your computer, you're out of luck. Bakamo knows where to look for various packages on your computer, and I believe those are set under Options/Common Settings. So if the Bakoma tex website were to vanish and you needed a package, you would download it manually or use something like the TexLive package manager, and it would work fine.
2019/06/25 18:24:36 CEST
Martin J. Osborne    

Hi Dh,

What I was wondering was whether BaKoMa handles the case elegantly, or just bombs. That is, if a package is missing and you're offline does it say "A package is missing and you're offline, so sorry but you can't process this file", or does it crash or just hang?

However, now that you mention Options/Common Settings, I see that within BaKoMa one can select the repository from which BaKoMa gets packages --- so if the BaKoMa website vanishes, it will just be a matter of changing that setting. In fact, I guess it may be that the BaKoMa repository is not now being updated (I don't know whether it's a mirror, or requires human intervention), in which case it would be a good idea to change the setting now.

2020/05/16 01:14:11 CEST
Dung Le    

From https://compositorapp.com/, I found that this is a great WYSIWYG LaTeX Editor with polished UI. It's unfortunate that it only on macOS at the present. I'm a Windows user. Just $29/1 licence: All purchases include lifetime updates. Buy once, get all updates for free, major version updates included. Has anybody tried this one? It has 30 days of trial without limitations.


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