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Re: [Axiom-developer] letting my mud settle

From: Jay Belanger
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] letting my mud settle
Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 00:05:23 -0600
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

> *,

That's wild enough to include me.  I really don't have anything to
contribute, but I thought I should delurk sometime.

> when i first got the code (before it saw the light of day) i spent a
> lot of time thinking about my past sins and letting my mud settle. as
> a result of that navel gazing i decided that the system needed to be
> completely rewritten. the task at that time was to rewrite the system
> into pamphlet files. had i proposed such a massive, prevasive rewrite
> this mailing list would have been aflame with opinion. and the
> concensus would certainly have been to NOT do a pamphlet rewrite
> or if so, use doxygen, texmacs, xml, etc.

It's probably largely due to hindsight and seeing how things turned
out, but rewriting it in the pamphlet files was a fantastic thing.
I can see how it could cause an opinion war, though.

> in the process of building the system and the Makefile tree i spent
> a lot of time thinking about my past sins (and suffering from them
> which is poetic justice).

I'm too clueless to even dream of commenting on past sins, but if they
led, even indirectly, to where things are going now, I don't think sins
is the right word.

> we can't do that now. and we can't do it in boot. the system is too
> damn complex and badly designed/written/structured. construction is
> always dirty, disruptive, and time consuming. i'm sorry that you'll
> get to see my ugly hacking along the way. but, hey, that's open
> source programming.

Seeing your "ugly hacking" may well be a good thing.  As a teacher, I
try to make clear to my students that not everything starts off clean
and polished; that leads to false sense of how things are really done,
and can easily make good students feel inadequate.  ("This works
great, but it seems to have been pulled out of thin air.  I could
certainly never come up with anything like this.")

> i'm going to fix axiom.

How "broken" is it?  I'm working my way through the Axiom book, but
haven't gotten very far yet.  (Whatever happened to the plans to
publish it?  I would love to have a copy.  Right now I'm printing a
few pages at a time to read.)  I would like to encourage people here
to use it in class.

> i know how to get there from here.
> it takes time.
> it takes work.
> it takes patience.
> and once this is done there is SO much more to do.
> why, the algebra restructuring alone will take years...

A finished, polished Axiom would be nice.  But I've always enjoyed
playing around with things trying to get them to work. Hopefully, I'll
be able to help sometime in the near future.  (I only have about
10,000 pages left to read in the Axiom book.)

> t

That would make me...


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