[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: [Axiom-developer] user feedback

From: Bill Page
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] user feedback
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 13:17:09 -0500


Is this anonymous user reading this list? If not, please
forward my comments below to them.

> On Friday, January 07, 2005 1:25 PM Tim Daly wrote:
> I don't use TeXmacs so I'm not familiar with his issues here but
> we need to fix these...

Tim, where was this message posted? Was it a private message to
you? I did not receive a copy.
> ===============================================================
> I have had some difficulties with getting the program working 
> properly, which may or may not be attributable to me. Here are
> some issues that I encountered. Some reflect my own stupidity,
> but I think in general the information on Open Source software
> tends to be written with a certain user in mind - who is very
> much not typical of people who use windows as their exclusive OS.

I do not think any of the comments below reflect stupidity on
anyone's part! But the comments about Open Source versus windows
users is VERY true. Unfortunately I don't think there is very
much that we can do about that. What happens in Open Source is
open (and almost completely unfunded) by definition this is very
different than the expectations created by the developers of

> To begin:
> I downloaded the current windows version of axiom. The one
> clearly highlighted as "recommended." Although TexMacs is
> mentioned prominently,  nowhere does it state that TexMacs
> is a separate program that the user must download independently
> of axiom.

TeXmacs is not part of Axiom. Is that not clear on the web

> Why not come out and say it, instead of assuming the user will
> infer that from the discussion or be sufficiently knowledgeable
> of the open source world to understand how the pieces interact
> with each other?

I would be very pleased to receive suggested changes to the text
of the web page. In fact, the web page is fully editable right
now online. This is very Open Software. Anyone in the world who
is inclined to can make whatever improvements to these web pages
they wish. I just wish someone, somewhere (besides Martin, of
course :) would take this seriously!

> Ok - so now I realize I have to get texMacs. Not a big deal.

You do not have to get TeXmacs. You can use Axiom quite
comfortably without TeXmacs at all. TeXmacs just adds the
"mathematical document" front-end in which to write a
document and have Axiom commands executed automatically
with the output appearing nicely formatted in your document.

> Being intimidated by the installation process for cygwin,
> I opted for the beta version of the native windows release.

Good. I think the native windows version of TeXmacs is faster
and more convenient than TeXmacs under cygwin - unless you
already use cygwin for other reasons.

> It seems pretty nice, so I want to get started using axiom.
> I open the tutorial in the axiom package (hard to read on
> screen using acrobat reader)

If you upgrade to Acrobat 6.0 reader I think you will find
it much easier to read. The problem is with the choice of
fonts which were not properly "aliased" in previous versions
of Acrobat.

> which tells me that to open an Axiom session you click on the
> "Text" menu in TexMacs, and then Session - Axiom.  This is an
> error. It should be the "Insert" menu.

Yes. I think that is relevant to an earlier version of TeXmacs.

> It is a little discouraging when you have trouble getting
> started.

You are right. I will try to find some time (real soon now)
to update this tutorial. Anyone else out there interested
in do the job?

> I tried some of the CAS stuff, and it worked nicely - lovely
> looking output.


> I'm not sure the strong typing is something that beginning 
> students can handle, but that is an educational issue.

I agree. But it is certainly one of the first things that
one sees that makes Axiom different than any other computer
algebra system that a student is likely to see.

> Continuing with the tutorial, I wanted to use the Axiom browser.
> The tutorial says to click on the button in texmacs that says
> "Axiom Browser", but there isn't any such button, nor any item
> in any menu that seems to address that option.

I am sorry that I did not check this. I did the initial work on
the tutorial almost two years ago so my memory is a bit rusty
but I think that this was something that needs to be configured
in Axiom. I will check.

In any case. The full Axiom Browser (hyperdoc) is not yet
available under Windows. So far Tim Daly only have an initial
experimental version of this running under linux. Something
will be done to support something like hyperdoc under Windows
but this is a hard problem with no resolution that we have
decided on yet.

> Maybe the beta version of texmacs for windows is deficient 
> - any clues?

I will have to do some more testing. I will let you know

> I then tried to do some simple graphics. I had to look in the 
> Axiom book to find the basic commands. The tutorial only
> discussed graphics in the context of plotting solutions of
> ODEs. I think it could use a brief chapter on elementary graphics.
> The Axiom book was fine in that regard. 
> So I tried draw(x^2, x=-2..2) and draw(sin(x), x=0..6), but
> after compiling the expressions, and reporting that the data
> was being sent to the viewport manager, both the texmacs
> interface and the native axiom command window reported the
> following error messages:
> system error: SOCK-SEND-INT is invalid as a function
> protected-symbol- warn called with <NIL>
> Can you clarify what's going on and if possible put me back 
> on the road to wisdom?.

Unfortunately graphics is not yet available on the Windows
version of Axiom. Both graphics and hyperdoc depend on some
graphical libraries (X-windows based) that are not available
under windows. Programs like viewport manager will have to
be re-written to interface with a Windows compatible graphics
library. This is a complex job that is going to take some

> BTW I am using Win-XP, professional, if that is of any 
> importance.

So far I have tested the Windows version of Axiom under
Windows 98, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. It seems to
work well on each of these.

Again, I would be very pleased if Axiom windows users would
take the time to provide some direct feedback through the
email lists or via the MathAction website.

And it would be even better if they were to update the available
online material if/when they gain a better understanding. This
will help other windows users. That is what Open Source is all

Bill Page.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]