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[Axiom-developer] RE: Aldor and Axiom

From: C Y
Subject: [Axiom-developer] RE: Aldor and Axiom
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2006 19:55:15 -0800 (PST)

<legal issue responses moved to axiom-legal>

--- Bill Page <address@hidden> wrote:

> On February 13, 2006 6:14 PM C Y wrote:
> >...
> > However, based on your comments below, I would suggest
> > the following steps might be immediately useful:
> > 
> > a)  Post the downloads for aldor on the Axiom site (I still can't
> > get through to :-( and the site is slower now) - I think
> > this is allowed under the license no problem.
> I don't know what is happening with the server. Some days
> I can access it and other days not. Is this a good omen or a bad one?
> Is it further motivation to proceed with distributing Aldor as part
> of Axiom?

Well, at least a mirror would be good - it's a bit hard to test
Aldor+Axiom without downloading Aldor ;-).

> I think you can still get an older (v1.0.1) Windows version of Aldor
> here:

Ah, Windows hadn't occured to me.  Ugh.

> Here is the version of Aldor we are running the
> server:

Great!  Thanks!
> refers to a new version v1.0.3rc1 (release candidate 1) of Aldor but
> the link is incorrect. The correct link is:
> The dates on the files are 2004-10-30. I have not tried this version
> yet.

Hmm.  Do we know what was being fixed/updated?

> If you need help with the installation, just let me know.

I'll give the instructions a read and see how I do - I have patch47 on
my home machine now so I'll be doing a general Axiom upgrade pretty
quick - the main question is probably whether my jdk is new enough.  

> > b)  Let's incorporate aldor into the main Axiom now - if it is firm
> > we will be using Aldor (and based on my recollection everyone is in
> > agreement Aldor is the way forward over SPAD) lets not wait for the
> > legal stuff to finalize - that could take many more months.  We
> > could at least do the following:
> > 
> >   i)  Work out how the Aldor compiler and the lisp structure of
> >       Axiom should work together, and make that the default setup.
> This was done long ago at IBM. Peter Broadbery has provided patches
> for the open source version of Axiom to support Aldor. Tim has
> incorporated all of these patches into the more recent version of
> the Axiom distribution except the actual build script that creates
> the libaldor library. This is available from the Axiom Wiki website:

Ah!  OK, I didn't pick up on the fact things were so far along.  Cool!

> >       I know the BOOT vs. Lisp vs. Aldor debate could go on, and
> >       may yet, but for now let's go with Tim's Lisp work and the
> >       current compiler.  I don't (think) those issues
> >       will depend on having the compiler source code - am I wrong?
> Hmmm... well it's not open source if we don't distribute the source
> code, is it? :)

Very true.  And me being the open source fanatic too ;-).

> But we could at least distribute Axiom with a fully functioning
> build option to integrate with a previously installed binary
> version of Aldor.

That makes more sense.

> >       I think I recall it being said that the interpreter needed to
> >       be educated about Aldor, for example?
> No, this works now.

Wow!  Nice.

> > Does that make sense, or is it too risky?  I think that's more or
> > less what's been going on of late anyway, but it might help to make
> > it an "official" project goal so people can be confident they
> > aren't working at cross-purposes with the main Axiom project.
> I don't think it is risky but I doubt we will convince many people
> until they see downloadable Aldor source code.

True.  I wouldn't be convinced either, ordinarily.  But since it is
pretty clear nothing significant is going to happen with SPAD unless we
have no alternative, I figure we might as well make some progress on
the areas we do have current access to.

> > ... 
> > OK.  On that basis, do my earlier suggestions make sense?
> I think we can complete the integration of the Aldor interface
> build into the Axiom distribution. One sticky point is that
> currently this requires the installation of the Sun Java
> development system.

Hmm.  OK.  I suppose GCJ isn't up to the job yet?

> Not everyone might want to do this just to
> install Axiom + Aldor. But I rather think we should go ahead
> with it anyway for now and just make sure that Java is only
> required if the user chooses to build the Aldor interface.

Makes sense.

> > Out of curiosity, does anybody know what the language of the
> > Aldor compiler is?
> Aldor is written in "C" and Aldor.

OK.  Is it like Axiom was, needing a running Aldor to compile a new
> > IIRC it can target a couple different languages for compiler
> > output(?) but I don't recall what language it's actually
> > written in.
> Aldor can generate code that runs with a stand alone run time
> environment written in "C" or it can generate Lisp. When Aldor
> is used within Axiom it generates Lisp that is compiled by GCL
> the same way that the output of the SPAD compiler is compiled.


> > Hmm.  OK, so you suggest we first get Axiom as it stands over to
> > Aldor and then proceed with any low level design changes, if any
> > are warranted?
> Yes. Initially only the Axiom library code written in SPAD would
> be converted to Aldor. The rest of Axiom would remain the same.

Makes sense.  The Linus Torvalds approach - incremental change.
> > ... 
> > I know Axiom is supposed to be founded on category theory and/or
> > set theory, but does anybody know where the real "core" of that
> > logic resides?
> That is related to discussion in the earlier thread about the
> nature of the SubDomain construction. At least some of this
> "logic" resides in the SPAD compiler itself. That could
> potentially be a problem in the effort to convert the Axiom
> library to Aldor since Aldor does not implement this "logic"
> in the same way.


> BTW, I do not think that it would be correct to say that Axiom
> is founded on category theory as such. The use of the word
> category in Axiom is quite different. But still in many ways
> Axiom is compatible with many of the ideas of modern category
> theory.
> It is more correct to say that Axiom is founded on set theory
> but only is a rather loose way.

Hmm.  That could make for some challenging documentation work.
> > I always figured that was the most fundamental mathematical
> > part of the code, but maybe I'm wrong.
> Maybe we could agree that it is a kind of exaggeration? :)

Well, darn ;-).  

> > I was kinda hoping Axiom could serve as a modern, computerized
> > Principia Mathematica++. (Interestingly, if a first edition is
> > available, might it be out of copyright?  Perhaps we could
> > incorporate the Principica Mathematica itself, or a variation,
> > as a literate document!)
> Sometimes your suggestions are quite "nuts" - do you know that? ;)

But of course!  But then, my vision of Axiom always was rather
grandiose.  I think things like the QED manifesto sound like good
ideas, so I probably am a bit nuts ;-)  

> > OK.  I take it the compiler itself doesn't contain the definitions
> > of any of the algebraic types or constructs?
> You mean the SPAD compiler? Yes there are some but all of the hard
> work has already been done in the design of Aldor. There are some
> constructs that don't translate. But (maybe) these are not important
> to the goal of converting (most of) the existing Axiom library to
> Aldor. (See related thread op cit.)

Will do.


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