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[Axiom-developer] Re: Axiom and Sage

From: root
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Re: Axiom and Sage
Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2007 16:00:23 -0500

>The main plus of this packaging for sage is that it builds from
>source quickly (in a few minutes) using precompiled clisp files.

Well, on my 2Ghz machine with 2 Gig of memory running VMWare and
using the sage vmware image (but upgrading the VM to have 1G memory)
I started the package-install at 3:30am this morning. It is now
2:10pm and the build is still "in-process". They are heavy things,
your minutes :-)

Likely a portion of the problem is due to starting the package-install
from the notebook. I'm running native windows and sage in the VM and
connecting thru the browser. 

I suspect a lot of CPU is going into running jsMath to redraw the
output page. The Fricas build has a lot of output (which could be
suppressed during package-install) and jsMath is not fast. Axiom
has a NOISE variable in the Makefiles to suppress most output.

You might consider a note suggesting that installs be done from
inside the virtual machine rather than thru the notebook interface.
I didn't realize that package-install was going to try a dynamic 
fetch and build. Shipping an Axiom source tarball would be faster
and cheaper.

Three other semi-related comments...

Re: Lisp builds: Axiom is designed to be constructed directly "from
the lisp" by shipping the pre-built "int" directory which caches all
possible machine-generated, system-independent work during builds. 
This was used to minimize build times on 6 megahertz machines. 
Fricas uses a different build mechanism so I'm not sure what
Waldek does.  I'll check to see if Axiom's mechanism has any bugs
since I don't use it regularly despite the design point.

Re: jsMath: I started using jsMath but Arthur Ralfs modified Axiom to
output mathML directly (using )set out mathml). All Axiom needs is a
mathml enabled browser with the correct fonts. I found that this is
very much faster and lighter-weight than jsMath. The browser has
machine code to handle mathml but jsMath is interpreted. You might
want to reconsider this design decision because it will impact the
long term speed of your notebooks. Arthur (copied on this email)
might be able to give some advice.

Re: Source Code Control: On a more religious note, it appears the
package was downloaded from a mercurial repository (asssuming I
understood correctly). After trying many of the repo software packages
(cvs, svn, darcs, arch, sourcesafe, but not mercurial) I find that git
is blindingly faster than anything else. Git is so fast that when I
first started using it I used to refetch the sources to make sure it
actually worked.  Axiom uses Arch, CVS, SVN, and git but I shadow the
other systems from the git master. Git has changed the way I work which
is not something that happens often, given that I'm an old curmudgeon.


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