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[Axiom-developer] New blood in Axiom (was: Community)

From: Alasdair McAndrew
Subject: [Axiom-developer] New blood in Axiom (was: Community)
Date: Sun, 20 May 2007 15:44:27 +1000

Well, I can tell you why I have hesitated about joining the Axiom effort:

1)  Axiom gives the impression of being more difficult and abstruse than other systems; the moment you get started you are inundated with information about categories, domains and operations.  This has enormous strength, but nonetheless makes Axiom appear bewilderingly complicated.

2)  The online documentation is very poor.  HyperDoc (which is itself incomplete) under unix, and some confusing system commands such as ")d op differentiate", ")wh th int" which produce output meaningless to the beginning user.  There are the books, but they are no substitute for good online help.

3)  There is not much in the way of a decent user interface.  I think TeXmacs and console is about it?  And HyperDoc isn't obtainable from TeXmacs.

4)  It doesn't seem to be particularly cross-platform.

5)  There seems to be some lack of cohesion amongst the Axiom developers as to the direction in which Axiom should go.

I must admit that my main interest is in mathematics education, in which I think a GPL CAS has enormous potential.  But at the moment I think Maxima is ahead of Axiom on all the points I have mentioned.


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