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My netbook is too slow to install Mathematica. I'm not set against working in a text editor, but I like having an automated highlighting/formatting environment; can anyone recommend a good gedit plugin or suggest an alternative solution?

To clarify: Unless there's something amazing online that can act as a virtual back-end using my login info, I can't use a front-end.

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There's this for textmate on macs There might be some editors on ubuntu that can interpret textmate config files – R. M. Nov 13 '12 at 17:09
Sublime Text can use textmate plugins, and is cross-platform. It is not free, but has no limit on the trial period: . – Malte Lenz Nov 13 '12 at 17:31
Vim comes with a syntax highlighter for Mathematica. It's rather old though and you'll have to set it up to associate .m files with Mathematica (and not MATLAB or something else). – Szabolcs Nov 13 '12 at 19:51
@Malte have you actually used that bundle? It appears to not display symbols in the symbol list (either in textmate or ST). I fixed it for my own use but if other people also use it I could clean it up and make it available. – acl Nov 13 '12 at 20:20
@acl post that in a meta post! I'm sure it will be useful for a few users. – Dr. belisarius Nov 14 '12 at 3:24

If you're OK with using emacs, there's a mode which allows it to act as a front-end. There are also modes for editing m-files, eg this.

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The second link looks promising, can you tell me how I would integrate it into emacs? There are instructions only for the front-end mode. – QuietThud Nov 14 '12 at 3:31

If you have a more powerful box available, you could install Mathematica there, and run it from the netbook using X forwarding over SSH (ssh -X). The UI should be responsive as long as you have a good network connection and you aren't displaying large graphics or plots.

Some documentation for setting up an SSH server:

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I would recommend nx as it has much better performance, especially with a slow connection! – sebhofer May 21 '13 at 14:29
You probably want to mention the possibility to do the same in a platform independent way using VNC. That can also be somewhat simpler to setup and in my experience often gives better performance -- all depending on the details of the connection between the two computers (I have no experience in how it compares to sebhofers suggestion to use nx). Also a VNC session will survive an interrupted connection, while I remember X programs don't like such interrupts. – Albert Retey May 21 '13 at 14:32

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