Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

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Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

Postby jdpipe » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:16 am

Hi all

I have noticed that the greek 'nu' in OpenOffice 2.4.1 with the "Nimbus No9 L" font on my machine (Linux Ubuntu Hardy) is shockingly similar to the lowercase letter 'v'. This plays havoc with fluid mechanics!

I guess I have the options of changing the font for my entire document and all embedded formulae (yikes), but I wonder: if I want to report this problem, where should I report it.

I will upload a picture to illustrate.

Cheers
JP
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Screenshot.png
Screenshot of 'vee' and 'nu'.
Screenshot.png (2.25 KiB) Viewed 10167 times
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Re: Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

Postby keme » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:28 am

In my view it shouldn't be reported. The lowercase nu does look like the italic v. Nothing we can do about it. ;)

Workaround: Don't use italics. That way, the nu and v are easily distinguishable.
You can do it each time you use v: nitalic v
Another option is to use plain characters by default: Format - Fonts - Modify - Variables
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Re: Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

Postby jdpipe » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:32 am

It is not necessarily the case the 'nu' and 'v' need to look the same. Lectures find it quite simple to make the 'nu' distinct from the 'v', by drawing an extra-long left-curving tail on the right hand branch of the 'nu'. Also the 'v' can be made more cursive-style by adding a hoop on the left and right. See attached for what it looks like with the default fonts in Latex, for example (sorry low res image).

It's really important that these symbols do appear different. In fluid mechanics in particular, these symbols are frequently both present in an equation, and always have been, and people have always found a way of making them look sufficiently different, as the Latex/LyX example shows.
Attachments
Screenshot-2.png
Screenshot from LyX showing better distinction between v and nu.
Screenshot-2.png (741 Bytes) Viewed 10151 times
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Re: Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

Postby jdpipe » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:34 am

The non-italic option is kinda but not really an option. If you don't use italics, you don't get the clear distinction between words in your text and mathematical symbols. And you look like some knob who uses Microsoft Word :-)
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Re: Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:38 am

I agree — no use reporting this. Use a better font.

:oops: I mixed up nu with upsilon. Nu and vee are the same in most fonts. You can try my Guru or Garava fonts, but then you may have trouble distinguishing vee from upsilon.

Garava nuv.png
Garava nuv.png (4.59 KiB) Viewed 10127 times


Guru nuv.png
Guru nuv.png (5.19 KiB) Viewed 10125 times
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Re: Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

Postby keme » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:44 am

Then consider using a different font for the variables instead of removing the italic formatting.
Roman or Arial font will give a clear distinction, with straight lines on the italic v.
With the more rounded shape of the nu, you risk confusion with the upsilon, which may be an issue (I'm not too familiar with the symbol sets used in fluid mechanics).
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Re: Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:41 am

DejaVu Serif Italic does a good job of distinguishing the three glyphs:
DejaVu Serif nuv.png
DejaVu Serif nuv.png (5.03 KiB) Viewed 10138 times
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Re: Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

Postby keme » Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:50 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:DejaVu Serif Italic does a good job of distinguishing the three glyphs:

The best I've seen so far. Excellent balance between clarity and pleasing appearance. Nice catch!

To round it all off, the issue is not due to the application, but rather a font issue. That's something we see rather often, different characters with nearly identical shape. Some very common mixups:
Uppercase letter O and digit 0.
Lowercase letter L and digit 1 in serif fonts.
Lowercase letter L and uppercase letter I in sans serif fonts.
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Re: Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

Postby jdpipe » Fri Aug 08, 2008 4:06 am

OK, so I agree that this is a font issue, so where is the best place to report this shortcoming in the current standard fonts, specifically Nimbus in Ubuntu. Is this font delivered by the OOo community, or has it come from somewhere else?

FWIW the upsilon character is almost never used in mathematics, physics or engineering, in my experience. Nu on the other hand is widely used, especially in engineering and fluid mechanics.

Cheers
JP
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Re: Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Aug 08, 2008 7:16 pm

Not possible to say without seeing the font file, but the likely source is Red Hat. Since the fonts are released under GPL license, you can probably modify them for your own needs.
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Re: Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

Postby keme » Sun Aug 10, 2008 11:23 pm

The v/nu likeness is the same in the Windows version, using Microsoft's Times New Roman italic. DejaVu Serif is a clear improvement. Still, before submitting an issue anywhere, please consider the following:

When selecting a default font, there are several factors involved. Some that I can think of:
- Clarity: Does the font have easily readable glyphs.
- Distinctness: Are the glyphs for different characters easy to distinguish (that's the issue we've been discussing here).
- Overall impression: Does the font mix well with the default font for document text?
- Availability: Can we expect that the font is available on other systems (or that a font substitution is a good match), in case documents are exchanged.

In my view, the current choice of default font is a good balance between the above. The important point is that we are not forced to use the default. If something else suits our purpose better, we're free to make the change.

Submitting an issue will use QA/developer resources that are probably better used elsewhere. But as previously stated, this is just my view. If you still want to submit it as an issue, the Open Office bugtracker is the right spot, and "choice of default font for formula editor" would be the subject matter. If you don't know how to do it, see the tutorial for issue reporting.
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Re: Shocking 'nu' symbol - where to report it?

Postby jdpipe » Wed Aug 13, 2008 1:42 pm

Reported a bug with ubuntu, at
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/257565
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