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[Axiom-developer] Re: Requiring LaTeX

From: Gabriel Dos Reis
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Re: Requiring LaTeX
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2006 17:56:19 -0500 (CDT)

On Fri, 1 Sep 2006, C Y wrote:

| > I've been
| > told that it doesn't support 'standard stanzas' (like distclean,
| > whatever that does). I've been told that it should use special
| > GNU-make features (whereas it used to use standard make and used
| > to build on Suns which it won't do now). I've been told that it
| > is a complete mess even though it follows a very small number of
| > design principles everywhere (stanza per file, makefile per
| > subdirectory, unique echo per stanza, $SRC/$INT/$OBJ/$MNT variables,
| > etc.
| It is extremely unfortunate that these platform specific issues are
| there to cause us trouble.  I think the idea of autoconf and automake
| is to isolate programs from the lower level cross-platform issues, and
| instead allow the program to focus on writing their own code, but I
| confess I don't know enough about it to know for sure.  Gaby?

Autoconf and Automake are now "standard" tools that insulate software
developers from lots of platform variabilities.  Tim claims he has
been told many things; as far as I'm concerned, those "things" were
most of the time backed with facts.

In April, I approched two friends of mine involved in linu
distributions (RH and SUSE) hoping to have them make Axiom part of
their distribution.  They said they won't touch this stuff if it does
not support cross-compilation.  We have two choices: ignore them, and
improve Axiom so that it becomes easy to build, therefore easier to
dsitrbute.  I suspect the later choice can only be beneficial to the
project.  That is why I set up to improve the build process.
Using Autoconf for example, it is a very simple matter to resolve the
X11 issue -- because people have hitted that problem many times and
Autoconf solved it once for all.  However, I've gotten the distinct
feeling that Axiom likes to build its own ghetto and solve problems
with known solution its own way.

Yesterday, I've gotten a student who is very exceited about what I
said about Axiom and he would like to work on provisos for example.
But, I'm very hesitant to launch him on the Axiom sources, because it
would take him inordinate amount of wasted time -- on distracting
build issue -- just to get to a point where he could be productive.

-- Gaby

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