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[Axiom-developer] Axiom for Aldor or Aldor for Axiom?

From: Bill Page
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Axiom for Aldor or Aldor for Axiom?
Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2007 22:12:56 -0400

Dear Aldorados,

(:- "Aldorado" = heterographic homophone of Eldorado i.e. "the Golden One" :-)

During the recent Aldor workshop the subject of the relationship
between Aldor and Axiom was discussed. Some of the participants
expressed the point of view that Axiom was important to Aldor
developers as an environment for testing complex math libraries such
as BasicMath. In general the interactive 'aldor -gloop' mode was
considered too primitive for this purpose, but Axiom fits this role
almost perfectly because it includes other library functions that can
be very useful for the development and testing new libraries. Whether
the new Aldor library is eventually intended to be used stand alone or
as part of Axiom is usually not so important. But what is important is
the development environment provided by Axiom.

This idea came as a bit of a surprise to me since normally I had been
thinking of Aldor as a missing and essential part of Axiom - the next
generation library compiler. But I realize now that this might work
both ways. Of course there are alternatives - such as implementing a
more powerful and convenient interpreter directly in Aldor - but this
is probably best viewed as a longer term goal which is more easily
obtained right now directly from Axiom.

So the issue that arises: Now that Aldor is available in an open
source form, how best to package Aldor and Axiom to facilitate this
use? Currently Aldor's APL2 source license prohibits commercial use of
the Aldor source code. This apparently makes it incompatible with GPL.
However it might be important to observe that software that is
licensed under modified BSD is both GPL and APL2-compatible - meaning
that software licensed under modified BSD could be combined with
Aldor's APL2 and released as one product under APL2. Axiom is an
example of such a package.

Although the comments in this email are not intended to be primarily
about licensing issues, I can well imagine that because it might
divert some resources away from Aldor, might be reluctant to
package Axiom in this way specifically for use with Aldor. Maybe I am
wrong and I would like to hear more opinions about this from Aldor
developers. Similarly the current Axiom projects (including FriCAS and
OpenAxiom) might be equally reluctant to adopt the non-commercial use
clause of APL2 since that would make them incompatible with GPL.

So what (if anything) should we (both Axiom and Aldor developers) do
about this? Certainly with three Axiom forks already, it might stretch
credibility to far to fork Axiom again with an APL2 license just to
pursue the original goal of re-implementing the Axiom library in
Aldor. Is there an existing Axiom project/fork that is willing to
adopt Aldor as the new library compiler?

I think that from a technical point of view right now the FriCAS fork
of Axiom might be the most suitable system in which to re-implement
Axiom libary code in Aldor since FriCAS now builds both the algebra
code and the associated databases from directly from source using a
new bootstrap procedure. This makes it possible to make deep changes
in the Axiom algebra code without encountering Spad errors due to
inconsistent database files. But Gaby (the primary developer of
OpenAxiom) has also stated that it is the intention of the OpenAxiom
project to pursue similar goals as the original Axiom developers. Does
this include the goal of re-implementing (all or some part of) the
Axiom library in Aldor?

Bill Page.

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