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Re: [Axiom-developer] Knuth's literate style

From: Martin Rubey
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Knuth's literate style
Date: 15 May 2007 08:42:50 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.4

"Bill Page" <address@hidden> writes:

> > For example, the arXiv accepts other formats then TeX only 
> > very reluctantly. All the large (math-) publishers use TeX
> > for typesetting.  I have not yet been to any conference which
> > would accept something other than LaTeX source.
> You might be surprised how many people I work with who want so
> badly to write their scientific and technical documents in
> Microsoft WORD. I would say that the number of authors who are
> LaTeX users in our environment is currently less than 50% and
> it is falling. :-(

No, I'm not surprised.  I never said that TeX would be perfect - although I
find it bloody good.  I'd also expect that there are some differences between
different communities: I'd guess that LaTeX is OK but not necessary in the
Computer Science world, for example. Within mathematics it's indispensible.  As
I said, I don't think you'll find a serious math conference or a serious
publisher that accepts anything but LaTeX source.

> > I think, one especially worthwhile project would be the
> > integration world.  Another one, maybe a lower hanging fruit, 
> > the factorization routines.  There are excellent sources on
> > the web (especially wikipedia), and certainly documenting the
> > factorization setup (especially the design of the categories)
> > will ease cleaning up those terrible bugs.

> How can we make doing this attractive to other people? 

By writing interesting packages others want to use.  And, most important: why
should "somebody else" do it?  You (= not necessarily you, but you or you or
you...) should do it.

People will start contributing to Axiom as soon as they believe that Axiom is a
project which will survive.  Currently, it is not quite convincing, as Waldek
pointed out some time ago.  Too many bugs unfixed.  If you like to do something
useful, pick a topic, stick to it, become an "expert", not necessarily a
"creative expert" (meaning: somebody who invents new algorithms like
Zeilberger), but an expert who knows what the code is doing and why.  If you're
lucky, you'll even become a "creative expert".

As an example, Andrew Rechnitzer wrote me an email out of the blue saying
"thank you" for my guessing package, and asking in the next sentence how he'd
get the results into Maple.  I asked for the reason.  Answer: Axiom cannot do
the conversion

  Polynomial Recurrence Relation <-> Linear Ordinary Differential Equation

yet.  So, here is another project, and a bloody interesting, too.  Furthermore,
it's not even so difficult stuff, what concerns maths.  Most important step
would be to write down the categories.  The implementation is, mostly, not that

> How will they obtain appropriate "credit" and peer recognition
> for this work? What other motivation can we offer them?

I guess, for documentation you can only get interested students that are
currently studying the relevant subjects, i.e., Algebra, Number Theory,
Cryptography for the example concerning factorization.

For math researchers, it is usually a very bad idea to work on documentation or
even programming.  Most of the time, you cannot even get interesting programs
published, unless they contain substantially new ideas.

Bounties may help, especially in countries where income is low in comparison
with the US or Austria.  I think, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia are
prime candidates.  I'll advertise Axiom in China this summer.


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