Computer resources

What a mathematician needs for a happy work? A TeX system and a good text editor. Also, PostScript and PDF viewers. Then, one has to have tools for handling compressed files and for exchanging files with remote machines.

For me, a Russian, it is also important to have my computer and software properly "russified".

1. TeX and related

Under Windows NT/95/98, in my humble opinion, the best choice is MiKTeX as a TeX system, with WinEdt as a shell and text editor. MiKTeX is a freeware 32-bit native implementation of TeX and its relatives. It includes tools for generating PostScript and PDF files. WinEdt is a powerful customizable editor and a graphic shell which is originally designed to serve as a graphic interface for MiKTeX. It is shareware. Freeware Ghostscript/Ghostview exists for all platforms. After you install all this, you basically work in WinEdt as a graphic shell which allows you to run TeX, view dvi files, convert them to PS and run Ghostview (with many other things).

There are discussion groups for WinEdt and for MiKTeX.

2. Russification matters

Russification means teaching your computer to read and write in Russian. It is necessary, for example, if you wish to read Russian pages on the web and exchange email in Russian. One pretty exhaustive link (discussing various platforms): by SovinformBureau. An extensive page on is due to Paul Gorodniansky.

2.1. Installing fonts

Normally under Windows 98/NT you should not worry about this, as the standard fonts are now Unicode-based and include Cyrillic characters.

One thing is that you might want to use the complete set of Russian characters (which includes i-with-a-dot (Unicode 1030,1110), yat' (Unicode 1122,1123), fita/theta (Unicode 1138,1139) and izhitsa (Unicode 1140,1141). You can install the so-called Royal Russian fonts for this. Unfortunately, there are still problems with the support for the complete Russian alphabet. E.g., the "standard" Unicode fonts do not contain the complete set of characters in the Cyrillic range; for non-Unicode fonts there is no universal agreement about the position of the "lacking" characters - one project of the standard is here. You can find a discussion and further information for Windows at the site of Stt Cyril and Methodius Gymnasium in San Francisco and for Unix at Serge Vinitsky's personal page. (See also the conference of "Pechatny Dvor" and the page of Nicholai & Elena Andrushchenko, both pages in Russian.)

2.2. Installing keyboard switcher

Under Windows 98/NT you might need to activate the Russian keyboard layout (if you version of OS is not Russian). A thing you might want to do after that is to replace the standard Russian typewriter layout by a sort of "phonetic" (mimicking English) layout. See Paul Gorodniansky's detailed instruction.

2.3. Russifying operating system

Windows NT:

  1. Go to Settings and set Regional Settings to Russian. Make them System default. At this step, after rebooting some fonts may look ugly. Do not worry.
  2. Re-install the most recent service pack. After rebooting the fonts will be OK.

2.4. Russifying (La)TeX

LaTeX2e now supports Cyrillic. To use Cyrillic in your document, include in the preamble the following lines:
(This is if you are using the Windows encoding (CP-1251).)

2.5. Making a Russian webpage

You should include information on encoding like this:

<TITLE>Your page title</TITLE>
<META http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=Windows-1251">

(If you are using CP-1251. Put KOI-8 if you are using this encoding. Notice, by the way, that WinEdt currently does not support Unicode.)

3. Some links

Ted Voronov. 21 January (3 February) 2008