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[Axiom-developer] Axiom on MediaWiki (was: Axiom)

From: Bill Page
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Axiom on MediaWiki (was: Axiom)
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2007 21:08:21 -0400


I hope you do not mind that I am copying this to the Axiom
developer mailing list. I think there may be some other
people here who are interested in this subject.

On April 9, 2007 6:43 PM Markus Cozowicz wrote:

> I'm actually trying to integrate Axiom into MediaWiki. I'm
> using it to write my statistics homework (

Well, I thinks that's a pretty ambitious project just to do
your homework! :-) But I think this is interesting for much
more than that.

> MediaWiki is written in PHP.

Yes. Very famous. It is the wiki software behind Wikipedia.
I think it is a very good choice (except for PHP, but that's
a different story).

> I'm not sure if I actually want to properly interface with
> Axiom, as I'm only interested in the generated latex, that
> needs to be piped into texvc (yet another binary - the latex
> interface used in MediaWiki).

I don't know what you mean exactly by "properly interface with
Axiom". Axiom can generate LaTeX output for the results that it
calculates. I assume that if you are interested in Axiom, you
are also interested in symbolic computer algebra in some form
or other - otherwise I don't see much point in using Axiom just
to generate LaTeX output. I think you would find it rather
awkward if that was all you wanted it to do.

I suppose that you are familiar with the Axiom Wiki web site:
If you are using Axiom for statistics - even if it is just for
a course - then you are certainly welcome to use this web site
(which is publically available) or it's sister portal site:
where you can log-in and control who gets access to the pages
you prepare. We are always interested in more examples of
applications where Axiom can be used. Your exercises might
help other people realize how Axiom can be used in their
own situation.

As you can discover from the wiki site, these web sites are
based on Zwiki, Zope and Python - quite different from most
PHP applications although they accomplish mostly the same
thing in the end.

If you are more interested in continuing the development of
a general purpose MediaWiki plug-in that allows MediaWiki to
send commands to Axiom and display the results on a wiki page
in nicely LaTeX typeset form, then as an Axiom developer I am
very interested in that. I would very much like to be able to
offer such an interface for Axiom to other MediaWiki users.
So I would be glad to help you with this.

> Can I disabled shell execution in Axiom? Because for security
> reason, I probably don't want anybody to execute arbitrary
> code on my server.

Axiom is not designed with this kind of security in mind, but
in the PHP interface to Axiom, it would be possible to intercept
commands which might execute arbitrary code and still leave a
significant subset of Axiom available to the user. If malicous
code is a serious risk, I think the best option would be to run
Axiom in a chroot environment or perhaps on a separate virtual
machine using Xen or other VM tool.

Bill Page.

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