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Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: Requiring LaTeX

From: Gabriel Dos Reis
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: Requiring LaTeX
Date: 01 Sep 2006 18:59:39 -0500

"Alfredo Portes" <address@hidden> writes:


| If a special version of GCL is required for Axiom, then it should be
| provided.
| But if it falls under the criteria of Noweb, Latex, X, etc, ... that the
| user can
| install by themselves, then GCL and every other package should be also a
| dependency. If their are not present then AXIOM is not compiled and the
| error is shown to the user telling them what is needed.

If we restrict ourselves sufficiently enough, we would find that 
Earth is flat -- we just have to check our office or bedroom.

It is a fundamental mistake to believe that people can or have the
right install things; and even if they technically can, they would do
so.  Axiom should minimize that dependency.

LaTeX is not fundamental to build Axiom.  
Similarly, Axiom needs not run under X11.
Axiom needs GCL and a working C compiler. Those are different stories.
You can expect a C compiler from the build environment.
GCL you can't expect, so it makes sense to put a copy of it in Axiom
-- though ideally, we would like not to.

Someone, peopel seems to interpret allowing Axiom to be built if latex
is not present as making Axiom non-literate.  I highly suspect that is
a religiously mis-representation of what literate programming is.
Furthermore, we have to face the reality and ask ourselves what we can
do to gradually make Axiom a computing platform of choice.  I don't
believe we will get there by being rigid about the build environment.
The minimum requirements should not include latex nor X.

Three days ago, I had my copy of Mathematica and sadly look over the
bill.  Yet, I'm happy with the product (and very unhappy about what it
costs).  The reason being that I can have students' limited time best
spent there.  I certainly don't want them get swamped in rigid
approach to literate programming, when they have valuable contribution
to make.  I must confess that, however enthusiastic I'm about Axiom.

-- Gaby

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