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[Axiom-developer] pkg-src

From: root
Subject: [Axiom-developer] pkg-src
Date: Sun, 18 May 2008 15:37:31 -0400

>I'd really like to push Axiom into the world, but I don't
>believe in tarballs or binary packages, other ways for Axiom
>to get into major distribution is pkgsrc (

I'm looking at pkgsrc now.

Axiom is currently available as tarballs and binaries.
It is also available thru git, arch, cvs, and svn.
Master copies of releases are updated every other month on
sourceforge, savannah, github, and

>I've seen your mail with the statement, that Axiom should just
>build. Unfortunatly, the way to incorporate all tools needed
>is dead one. 

Yes, this has been debated in the past on the mailing list.
FriCAS builds with a previously installed lisp.

>I had experience with several similar attempts
>in past, they all presented miserable picture. As for now,
>I see only one practical way. It is pkgsrc. The points are:
>1. It is really cross-platform. I use it on NetBSD, FreeBSD,
>have used it successfully on RedHat Fedora, Gentoo, SuSE,
>Debian, Windows XP. I know personally those, who use it on
>Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX, Mac OS X.

I tried to port Axiom to FreeBSD without success.

I did succeed getting it running on Mac OSX.

There is an old Debian version of Axiom but Debian requires a
complete restructuring of the source tree to do things like split
the documentation from the source code. Given that Axiom merges
documentation and source this isn't a reasonable split for Axiom.

I have a copy of the latest OpenSolaris but the build attempt is
stalled because Latex requires a module from Sun which is not
available except to people who pay for support. I can find no way
around this restriction so OpenSolaris support is unlikely.

Windows support will come after the browser and ASDF changes.

>2. There's technically qualified community around that supports
>it, providing regular bulk builds for major platforms.

A community that supports pkgsrc? Or a community that supports
the packages? I doubt I'll find a community that supports the 

>3. You can ship reduced infrastructure just to deploy Axiom,
>thus you don't need to maintain tools yourself.

Axiom requires very little "infrastructure", basically just
make, some X11 libraries, latex, awk, and gcc.

There has been no need to "maintain" any tools. Tools are not
the key problem facing Axiom. Axiom needs more documentation
and more user-related information. The build system Makefile
chain has been working for 5 years and is rarely changed.

>The only problem is... Axiom needs to get cross-platform too.
>This means, that Lisp in the base has to be changed,
>GCL is dead beyond resurrection, choices are CLISP and SBCL.
>Sad, but true. Other lisps are less portable and less
>actively supported.

Hmmm, methinks you fall into the philosophy supporting FriCAS.
Waldek seems to have your goals already achieved.

Axiom's approach to becoming cross-platform is to use the browser for
the help system and graphics. Once that is complete we can delete all
of the non-portable C code.

Next we move to a lisp-only ASDF build system on an ANSI common lisp
platform which gets rid of make and all the related tools. The
lisp-only system will have native support for noweb style source files
since these are the standard Axiom file format. Thus there will be no
need for noweb.

So, in the longer term the only "tools" needed will be lisp and latex.
Everything else, such as make, gcc, awk, noweb, and other tools will
just fade away.

At the present time all anyone needs to do to build Axiom is to set
the AXIOM shell variable properly and type 'make'. I only claim that
Axiom "just works" on systems that I've personally built. You can see
the list on <>

I don't see that this is an area where there is much to improve. Not
everyone agrees.  If you would like to hear other opinions they are
journaled in the mailing list archives.

Given your suggestion, though, I'll review pkgsrc sometime this week.


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