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[Axiom-developer] Re: noweb "bug" (was: article "standard" header/footer

From: Ralf Hemmecke
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Re: noweb "bug" (was: article "standard" header/footer)
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2005 22:43:03 +0100
User-agent: Thunderbird 1.4 (X11/20050908)

re: advocacy

  ok. you're advocating a change.

No, I am just complaining that you did something wrong 3 years
ago. It was Ralf who was advocating a change. I just agreed
with him. ;)

Hmm, was I advocating? Well, my point of view is to minimise the effort of developing/maintaining axiom. As I now more clearly see, noweb is a piece of software that need not be included with an Axiom distribution. For GCL I cannot say anything. But I accept what Tim has done. He has brought Axiom to the open source world, so he has the right to be the leader and also the right to do things his way. Well that I don't agree with including noweb just does not mean that I stop working for Axiom, it is just that any bug or fix I find in noweb will be sent to Norman Ramsey. I will never modify the version that comes with Axiom. I guess many people would think that way. If Tim has enough time to maintain that version, fine with me.

> The only change that I am advocating is that we
> do everything we can to attract more Axiom developers.

Oh. I wholeheartedly agree. And for that MathAction and the whole web stuff is necessary. But it is not all. Although I am now following the axiom-developer list for about a year or so, my contribution to Axiom is still close to zero in terms of actual code/documentation. Only by the mail of Tim some days ago, I became aware again of book--main--1. I checked it out and found several bookvol?.pamphlet files that I always missed. That they are mostly unfinished does not matter too much.

But what matters is that there is just a link on the website telling about book--main--1. I cannot remember that I have read much about the different volumes that should be written. So why should I check out book--main--1 if I am new to Axiom and just want to learn how I could contribute? I don't think new developers would want to work on the book in the first place.

But why is that branch interesting?

>Axiom Volume 1: Tutorial of Axiom
>Volume 2: Programming
>Volume 3: Reference
>Volume 4: Developers Guide
>Volume 5: Interpreter
>Volume 6: Compiler -- title only
>Volume 7: Graphics -- title only
>Volume 8: Hyperdoc -- title only
>Volume 9: Algebra
>Volume 10: Numerics

Can you see Volume 4? THAT is what a new developer would be looking for (IMHO, of course). Unfortunately vol4 is mainly non-existing.

Tim wanted me to take over volume 9, but after getting an overview of the volume tiltles I think a Developers Guide is much more needed than the Algebra part (although I rather like to do some algebra), in order to get potential new developers more quickly into the system. The biggest problem that Axiom has is the number of active developers. If I count correctly then one decimal digit is enough. That is, of course, nothing given the size of Axiom.

If the Developers Guide never goes to press, I don't care. It should be evolving and fix certain conventions/standards that the current developers agreed upon and that every developer should follow.
For example, also the build process could be described there.

If I understand correctly every sources of Axiom are under the src directory. So I suggest, Tim, you put all the bookvolume?.pamphlet under axiom--main--1/src/doc. And make a note in the top-level README about the availability of the src/doc directory with all its volumes. I would then start to work a bit on volume 4 in order to demonstrate how my documentation ideas are. If most of the current developers find that form attractive I could extend to the other volumes.


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