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RE: [Axiom-developer] Ping: file removals

From: Bill Page
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] Ping: file removals
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 08:52:26 -0500

On November 6, 2006 1:57 AM Tim Daly wrote:
> Bill Page wrote: 
> > I agree. In general there should not be any pdf files in the
> > source code repository.
> Eh? Methinks you've missed the whole point of aim of the axiom
> project.

I certainly don't think so. I am only talking about the Axiom source
code repository, not the Axiom project as a whole. The source code
repository is the part of the Axiom project that contains the Axiom
source code. Period.

> Documentation in any form is to be desired and it often cannot be
> created "from the source".

True. Documentation is not source code but source code i.e. pamphlet
files, can be used to create some of the Axiom documentation.

> PDFs can contain things, like fonts, which the target machine may
> not have available. Video documentation will certainly not be able
> to be created from the source as the rendering of the video may
> require special equipment and tools.


> The user might not have tools, like dvitopdf, or have different
> tools, like dvi2pdf giving different results. Or the user might
> be on windows without these tools at all.

We are talking about the source code repository. For someone to
use this repository they will have to have appropriate tools for
the types of products they expect to create from this source.

> And if a 10 minute tutorial takes weeks to create and hours to
> render with special tools (e.g. Camtasia) why would we want the
> user to do that?

I don't want the user to do that. They should be able to just
click on a hyperlink and listen, watch or read.

> Why rerender .ps files that exist? There are already complaints
> posted that axiom takes too long to build.

The build should only produce those products that the user asks for
and the things required to make these products, recursively, from
the source. Of course these intermediate products can be cached
during the build but should not be retained in the repository. In
addition the source code repository should not contain anything
that is pre-generated by some means not available in the source.

> I must say I'm completely confused by the current directions.
> Who invented the idea that we need to recreate everything from
> source?

Not me. I am only talking about the source code repository.

> And who invented the idea that we don't keep exact copies of
> published documentation (with ISBN numbers) in the archive?

I did not say we don't keep exact copies of published documentation.
I just said it doesn't belong in the source code repository.
> > > One extra remark:  It make sense to put generated documentation
> > > into distribution tarball, but IMHO generated files (with the 
> > > exception of files needed to bootstrap) should be removed from
> > > source archive.
> > 
> > Yes, I agree completely.
> Again, methinks you've missed the whole point of the axiom project.

You are wrong.
> There is NO distinction between documentation and "source code".

Yes there is. You just said yourself above that there are things
that we want to call documentation that can not generated from an
source code.

> That is oldthink. In this brave new world there are only literate
> programs.

I have no problem at all with "literate programs", but I agree with
your first statement about this (that there are important kinds of
documentation that can not be created from any source) rather than
you second statement. Not all things are literate programs.

> Creating human readable output from human oriented input is THE
> soul of the project.

Well I agree that it is an important aspect. I don't see any
conflict with the proposal to only keep source code in the source
code repository.

> We need to completely entwine the research with the old idea of
> source code and conflate the idea of compiling with the idea of
> latexing the code. This is THE PRIMARY DESIGN GOAL of the axiom
> project.

I agree with the philosophy of literate programming.

> Gaby and Waldek, you are both new to this project but it has now
> been around for some 33+ years and free for the last 6 years. 
> Under the guise of "build improvements", which was originally
> started as an effort to bring autoconf to axiom, I now see changes
> made and proposed that go against the fundamental project goals.

I strongly disagree with you. I think both Gaby and Waldek have
made an extraordinary contribution to ensuring that the Axiom
project does not sink into a self-made blackhole. As far as I can
the work they are doing is the only viable way forward.

> Please look around, read and understand these goals. They've
> been written down and talked about at length both in this group
> and online at various places.

I agree with all of the goals but I disagree on a number of
specific points about how you think we should achieve them.

Bill Page.

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