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Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: SPAD and Aldor again

From: C Y
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: SPAD and Aldor again
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 19:49:43 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20061105)

Gabriel Dos Reis wrote:
> C Y <address@hidden> writes:
> | Indeed.  The Aldor documentation is not free at all, and any attempt to
> | define Aldor in a literate style would have to duplicate Aldor without
> | duplicating too closely its documentation - that's a real problem.
> I cannot parse this. Could you elaborate?

Sorry, this seems to be an off week for me communication wise.  If we
define and document properly a language like Aldor, we must include
descriptions of the behavior of the language.  The problem with
specifying a language behavior is that the description cannot vary too
much from one description to another and still be defining the same
concepts.  The problem of (for example) writing a document that
describes ANSI lisp without running into any copyright problems is very
difficult, because if you stray too far from the text of the
specification you run the risk of not defining the behavior you need to
define.  And it would be even more difficult to avoid such a description
being a "derivative work" of the previous description.

In Aldor's case, a concrete example would be the language grammar, which
is included in the Aldor User Guide in Chapter 22.4.  If we wanted to
define a similar language I would think any reasonable literate
description of the language would include such a formal grammar
definition.  But Aldor's grammar is defined in this user guide, and at
the beginning of the guide is the statement:

"c 2000 The Numerical Algorithms Group Limited. c 2002
All rights reserved. No part of this Manual may be reproduced,
transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, translated into any language
or computer language or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without
the prior written permission of the copyright owner."

I don't know how exactly the law applies in this situation, but with the
Aldor grammar defined in a copyrighted document we have no permission to
use for anything, how do we handle defining a similar grammar?  Are
grammar definitions not protected?  I don't know how copyright laws
apply in these situations.

Perhaps this is a trivial/silly concern, or something that can be safely
ignored, but it is a concern I thought should be raised.

> You don't need a language to do *just* mathematics in Axiom.  You also
> need a language to communicate with the world around.  All major
> systems for computation mathematics have grown into that position.
> Don't get blindsighted.

I would prefer to let the Lisp level handle the outside world as much as
possible.  What are you referring to by communication?  Exporting
algorithms as Fortran code?  Interacting with C libraries?  File and
Data Input/Output APIs?

> [...]
> | I think that will be an important discussion to be had as a project -
> | just how compatible with Aldor we want to stay.
> Probably.  I would like to see a discussion about what is necessary to
> support computational mathematics in Axiom, rather than how closely SPAD
> should ressemble another language.



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