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RE: [Axiom-developer] Local MathAction

From: Page, Bill
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] Local MathAction
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 13:23:48 -0500


On Tuesday, January 10, 2006 11:01 AM you wrote:
> ... 
> Can't you simply change texbreaker.mak? Or does it work
> for some good reason with python2.3 on your machine?

Python 2.2 is rather old. We have been using python2.3
for almost 2 years on MathAction. The current version is
Python 2.4 and I hope to upgrade MathAction to this new
version real-soon-now. The newer versions of Zope require
at least Python 2.3 and run better/faster with 2.4. You
can find Python 2.4 and newer versions of Zope on
Debian/testing. But if all you want to get is a basic
running system, then following the old recipe should be

> > Great! You are about half-way there ... :)
> Well, it would be easier if one does not have to modify
> files like or


> Wouln't it also be an option to provide a dummy "reduce"
> script which accepts some (Reduce) input and always
> outputs a string in Reduce format, saying that Reduce is
> not installed. Could you provide such a shell script?

It should not be necessary to have Reduce installed
provided that you do not try to run any \begin{reduce} ...
commands. Perhaps the current code does not check, but
it should not even try unless it sees \begin{reduce}.
If it does, then please let me know the error message
and I will try to make corrections to the code.

> ... 
> Ehm, maybe I don't understand MathAction correctly.

MathAction is an interactive web site. The content is
created by the users over the web. It is stored in a
database on the server and presented to the user as
ordinary web pages (with the option to edit and comment).
When MathAction is run locally, your computer acts as
both the server and the workstation. Since MathAction can
interact with Axiom (and other systems), this means that
you can use a locally running MathAction system as a user
interface to Axiom. This user interface allows you to
save "Axiom worksheets" as web pages in a manner similar
to the way you can save worksheets in Mathematical and

> What I actually want is a snapshot of the MathAction pages.
> And if I could have all the functionality of running Axiom
> through a local webserver (without actually being connected
> to the internet then all the better. The SnapShot that Bill
> Page provided as an archive of HTML pages is not completely
> satisfactory.

In what way is it not satisfactory? Do you mean because it is
not "live"? Of course it consists of only a "snapshot" of
what tha pages on MathAction were like on the day that the
snapshot was taken. It is only pure, dead HTML. No interaction
is possible - only navigation from one page to another.

> > I presume that you did previously install Zope, right? So
> > to start Zope need to do
> > 
> >   $INSTANCE_HOME/bin/zopectl start
> > 
> > This starts the server process and is the way you should
> > normally start the server. But it might be better to start
> > with
> > 
> >   $INSTANCE_HOME/bin/runzope
> > 
> > which runs zope as a process in your current session and
> > gives some useful console output. You should see some
> > warning messages but no error messages.

The commands above are for a "newer" version of Zope - the
version 2.7 of Zope that we are using on MathAction.
> I followed the steps at 
> where it finally says:
> 6) Restart zope: /etc/init.d/zope restart

This is for an older version of Zope. But it should work
> Of course, I have installed zope before.
> 'apt-get install zope' should do for debian sarge.
> /etc/init.d/zope restart
> has to be called as 'root'. And did not give me any return
> message.

Yes, this should be ok. But you should check the zope
configuration file (look in a directory for a file name
something like ...zope/etc/zope.conf. If you can't find
it easily then just examine

  cat /etc/init.d/zope

There should be an environment variable that points to the
configuration file. Or in older versions of Zope this was
just passed as an internal parameter in the above script.

> > You should now be able to access the Zope management
> > interface from a web browser on your system via the url
> > 
> >   http://localhost:8080
> > 
> > (port 8080 is the default port for Zope)
> Does not work. I see a page in FireFox:
> Unable to connect Firefox can't establish a connection to
> the server at localhost:8080.

If zope is running you should be able to see 'python' in the

  ps -A

or 'top' process list. If there is one or more active 'python'
processes, then the problem is likely that you have the wrong
port number. Please check the configuration file for the exact
port number.

If you want (or might be necessary on some systems if the
default port is already used for some other purpose), then
you can edit the configuration file and change the default
port to what you want. Usually a 4 digit number close to 8080
should be ok and only accessible locally if you have even a
simple firewall. If you have an aggressive firewall on your
workstation you might have to configure your firewall to
allow the use of the port that you choose. On a default
Debian Sarge installation this should be no problem.

It would be a very good idea for you to get the command:


to work before you add the LatexWiki and Axiom Wiki components.

> > If all is well, then you will need to use this interface
> > to add new "Zwiki" object called 'mathaction' with the
> > (*) latexwiki option checked off.
> Hmm, this sounds as if I get MathAction without the same 
> content I see

That is correct. You would start with an empty wiki with
a default FrontPage that does not look much at all like
MathAction. But if all goes well, it should have the same
*functionality" as MathAction.

> Where is this content?

The content of the wiki is stored in the Zope database.

> And where could I download it from for offline use?

Once you have your own local MathAction running on your
workstation, you can use the "import" function in the
Zope Management Interface (ZMI) to load content that has
been "exported" from MathAction site.

You can also use "cut-and-paste" from one edit widows
( to another edit window (localhost).

I hope this is clear. But if not please continue to ask
about this.

Bill Page.

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