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[Gcl-devel] RE: [Axiom-developer] RE: GCL on Windows

From: Page, Bill
Subject: [Gcl-devel] RE: [Axiom-developer] RE: GCL on Windows
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004 17:54:15 -0500

Tim wrote:

> Is there a way to set it [HOME] during the install
> process? Could we ask the user at that time?

Yes, I suppose we could ask the user what they want the
default directory for AXIOM to be and default it to, say

  c:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents

(overridable by the user)

We could set the environment variable HOME to point there -
provided that HOME is not already pointing somewhere else
for some other purpose (possible but not likely).

It might be better if there was an AXIOM specific home,
like AXIOMHOME. Or we could default it to something off
the AXIOM variable that is pointing into the mnt/windows
tree. But since the default for installation is

  C:\Program Files

and it is not normal to store user editable files there,
this might not be such a good idea.

Unfortunately, even if we do set HOME, the GCL truename
function still does not currently work with "~/" in
GCL-2.6.5 on Windows. This is probably just an oversight
in the GCL coding.


I should clarify also that under newer versions of Windows,
since Windows 2000 at least, it is possible to setup Windows
for multiple users. It is possible to install programs that
are accessible to all users or to just to a specific user.
These versions of Windows map shortcuts like "My Documents"
(when referenced inside windows but not if used inside a
MSDOS shell) to username specific directories such as

  c:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents

Other user's specific directories are normally protected
from access, depending on access rights etc. Some directories
can be shared by different users of the same system. On
these windows platforms it would be nice if GCL (and therefore
AXIOM) was aware of the shortcuts. It would not be unreasonable
then to interpret "~/" as the current user's Windows
"My Documents" shortcut.

Also, in an office network environment it is common for
some of the user specific directories to reside on network
drives for backup purposes etc. This could also complicate
matters for some people.


So in the end, I am not sure what the most general choice
of "HOME" should be for Windows users. Perhaps your suggestion
is best - to let the user decide at installation time - but
then this might be a difficult question for some less
experienced Windows users to answer, so we still need a
reasonable default. And this does not handle very well the
case when Axiom is installed for shared use by multiple
users of the same machine.

This requires some careful thought when trying to maximize
the portability between Linux and Windows.

Bill Page.

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