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Re: [Axiom-developer] Aldor and Lisp

From: Camm Maguire
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Aldor and Lisp
Date: 18 Oct 2005 22:20:43 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.2


"Page, Bill" <address@hidden> writes:

> On Tuesday, October 18, 2005 2:25 PM Gabriel Dos Reis wrote:
> > 
> > Bill Page writes:
> > 
> > [...]
> > 
> > | Although Aldor is still not open source
> > 
> > Is there a hope that it will ever be?
> I think there is still a good chance that Aldor will be licensed
> for open source. I called Steven Watt again today. He wasn't there
> but I left a detailed voice message. I told him that there have
> been some discussions on the axiom-developer email list about
> writing a new open source version of Aldor and that in my opinion
> it would be much better if Aldor itself could be made available
> under an open source license. I hope to hear from him soon.
> I think it would help if some of the other subscribers to the
> axiom-developer list were to contact Steven Watt and make a similar
> argument. I understand that he is busy with other research (aren't
> we all?) and I don't mean that we should harass him in anyway about
> this, but I do think that it is important that he understands that
> the availability of Aldor as open source matters to more than just
> a few people. 

Always best if it pans out.  OK, perhaps you can share his contact

> > If not, what are the odds of creating a freely available compiler
> > that accepts Aldor programs?
> > 
> Unless a major workforce of several knowledgeable compiler writers
> step forward who know lisp and have experience with SPAD in Axiom,
> I have serious doubts that it will be possible to write a new
> open source compiler that accepts Aldor programs. After all, Aldor
> is a complex very high level language - not so different from
> Haskell or Ocaml and it certainly took a major effort to implement
> usable compilers for those languages.

Agreed, this is a *very* big job.

> An alternative that does exist (maybe) is to make incremental
> improvements to Axiom's built-in SPAD compiler that would make
> it more compatible with Aldor. In effect this would amount to
> "back-porting" some of the improvements that where made to the
> SPAD language when Aldor was originally implemented. The result
> will be a compiler that works within Axiom to write better Axiom
> library code. But it would not have the option of running as a
> stand-alone compiler the way Aldor can now.

This is the option that appears best to me.  It is certainly simpler,
and I don't think we have much use for a standalone aldor compiler in
the axiom community.

> I still think however that even improving SPAD will not be easy.
> It will require rather deep knowledge of the largely undocumented
> legacy code that currently implements SPAD in Axiom. It is notable
> I think, that the original Axiom developers chose to re-implement
> SPAD as Aldor (written in C) rather than continue to make
> improvements to SPAD.

Agreed the task is still involved, but much more tractable.   I feel
the motivations for the aldor rewrite need not coincide with our
motivations in the open-source axiom community, as I suggested in an
earlier post.  Tim could clear this all up -- Is SPAD irreparably
deficient in some way?

Take care, 

> Regards,
> Bill Page.
> _______________________________________________
> Axiom-developer mailing list
> address@hidden

Camm Maguire                                            address@hidden
"The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."  --  Baha'u'llah

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