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Re: [Axiom-developer] RE: mathaction

From: Camm Maguire
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] RE: mathaction
Date: 22 Sep 2004 10:44:53 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.2


"Bill Page" <address@hidden> writes:

> On Friday, September 17, 2004 11:18 AM Camm Maguire
> address@hidden
> > 
> > Martin Rubey <address@hidden> writes:
> > ...
> > > Yes, they [Mupad] are *very* strong. One reason for this is
> > > that MuPad is free for scientists in France, as far as I know.
> > > In fact, if MuPad became free, I think there would be little
> > > to no space left for axiom.
> > 
> > This is our challenge.  Do the mathematicians of the world have
> > enough spare brain cycles to move beyond the position of a mere
> > consumer choosing among whatever best black box happens to be
> > available for the task at hand, to the position of a part-time
> > contributor to a system permanently owned by the public, and in
> > which the knowledge of *how* something is done is available at
> > any time to anyone who desires to read?
> Well, one of the goals of MathAction could be to make this
> possible with a minimum of concern about programming and
> configuring operating systems etc. Certainly in the past

Great!  Hopefully a robust packaging system containing axiom, a la
Debian/FreeBSD/... can achieve a similar goal.


> The idea to extend this beyond Axiom to include Reduce, Maxima,
> Mupad, etc. is a separate but related goal. It seems to me that
> because of the very large time and intellectual investments
> involved, it has been difficult for many people to take a wider
> view and thereby make it possible to better share the critically
> limited resources. Maybe having at least a common user interface
> (e.g. the collaborative wiki environment such as MathAction)
> between the diverse systems will remove one of the barriers to
> the pooling of expertise. For example web browser based user
> interfaces seem to be quickly growing in popularity among new
> Linux users (e.g. Gnome and KDE) and also among large computer
> systems administrators (e.g. Webmin for system administration).

A great initiative -- go Bill go!

> > To look at the immense complexity of the Linux kernel, gcc,
> > etc., the challenge is not impossible.  But it is critical
> > that we prioritize, organize, and gain a community of minds
> > *very* familiar with the details of the system.
> I hope that becoming a contributor to Axiom (or any other
> computer algebra system) does not really require the same
> kind of effort as the Linux kernel! If so, then I think the
> project is doomed from the start. There just aren't enough
> people available to make such a commitment.

I have a somewhat different opinion here.  There are no magic bullets.
If we supply something of great value to people, it is bound to to
reflect the acquisition of a relatively rare expertise, which will in
turn require the investment of time.  Quick items performed at the
surface level can be done by anybody, and hence are of a lesser value.
I agree with you of course correct in your statement that it will be a
challenge to find people to make this commitment.  I think we
nonetheless have to keep this goal in our sights if we hope anyone to
take open axiom seriously.  And once they do, finding the people will
be a lot easier.

> > If someone can suggest a good, high priority, somewhat
> > manageable task, I'm willing to do my part.
> > 
> I am not sure what you have in mind but just to get started,
> since you did raise the issue of Reduce licensing in a
> previous message, may be you would like to try making a
> modification to one or more pages on MathAction to reflect
> this situation with Reduce? If you have questions about how
> to proceed with using the MathAction wiki interface, then
> I would be very glad to help - or perhaps Martin also.

Thanks!  I'm going to try to fix the symbol issue first if that is
ok.  I would like to help with the site time permitting thereafter.

Take care,

> Regards,
> Bill Page.
> _______________________________________________
> Axiom-developer mailing list
> address@hidden

Camm Maguire                                            address@hidden
"The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."  --  Baha'u'llah

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