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Re: [Axiom-developer] RE: [xml-litprog-l] Re: noweb, pamphlets, and TeXm

From: Bertfried Fauser
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] RE: [xml-litprog-l] Re: noweb, pamphlets, and TeXmacs
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 15:24:30 +0100 (CET)

        as a potential user I follow this discussion with geat interest.
E.g. I downloaded TeXmacs and tried as a first exercise if it can read my
(partially very tricky) LaTeX documents, it failed, even with the more
simpler ones.

        Hence it seems to be a problematic step to go from LaTeX to
TeXmacs. This is a pitty, since I have to maintain my LaTeX articles, and
I do really also appreciate a human readable file format (e.g. MathML is
not human readable for sure)

        To me its not so important if axiom does use LaTeX or not, if it
has e.g. an LaTeX output filter (one way) which should not be an problem.
Currently I do use maple as a filter for LaTeX documents. One can pass a
LaTeX document through maple, passing some arguments on textwidth etc,
which produces (soehow poor) LaTeX output (maple input is given in the
'environment' \begin{mapleinput} comands... \end{mapleinput}). Such a
feature would be fully satisfactory for me. An interactive worksheet
interface might be a very different story. E.g. I would like to see that
axiom can be used over the net from a remote machine, that computations
can be made available over the web etc. For such a purpose, XML and MathML
may be the first joice.

        I see that the WYSIWIG movement is going on, but that is also
coming with a diminished level of sophistication [not a rating, just an
observation]. If a person is really using software like axiom, she can
easily learn something like LaTeX within two weeks. The occassional user
may not the target you are seeking for with such aspecial purpose software
as axiom? One problem I have with maple --and scientific computing,
Germanys maple distributor, agreed during a phone call with this
oppinion-- is that maple goes for the gui and for the mass market
currently. During that effort, the mathematical abilities of maple have
even been _diminished_! (from maple V to 6,7,8 and hopefully 9 will come
back to be as good as V) I fear a little bit that this discussion, which
--please remember-- started with literate programming goes now into a
similar direction.

        By the way, I can LaTeX documents which are now more than 10 years
old still without considerable problems. I think that I will be able to
read ASCII files in ten years still -- otherwise I will write a small
editor myself :) Just advising to make hardcopies means to kill living
documents which evolve in time. My knowledge however still --hopefully--
evolves, so my documents do. LaTeX is ideally suited for that. [For the
reasons of non readability by humans I do > /dev/null all M$.doc files :)]

        So, my personal preference would go for an axiom interface which
is web-standard and easy to export. I could even imagine an axiom _deamon_
runing on some TCP/IP port which can be accessed by a sort of
mozilla/MathML with some additonal active input elements, (like a web
form). Maple goes for MapleNet now, but that's buzz onyl :(


% Bertfried Fauser          Fachbereich Physik    Fach M 678
% Universit"at Konstanz     78457 Konstanz        Germany
% Phone : +49 7531 883786   FAX : +49 7531 88-4864 or 4266
% E-mail: address@hidden
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