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[Axiom-legal] RE: Aldor+Axiom

From: Page, Bill
Subject: [Axiom-legal] RE: Aldor+Axiom
Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2005 20:59:52 -0400

On Tuesday, September 27, 2005 8:11 PM C Y wrote:
> ... 
> IIRC some years ago I saw a comment to the effect that the intent
> was to develop Aldor commercially and thus an open source scenario
> wasn't desirable,

Numerous convincing arguments have been made and there are quite
a number of examples that demonstrate that open source licensing
is fully compatible with commercial development. E.g. OpenOffice
and Sun's StarOffice product.

Even the license conditions for Axiom itself (i.e. BSD) do not
preclude the possibility of Axiom being a part of some commercial

> but I can no longer locate the reference and it may or may
> not still be true.

There were plans at one time to develop Aldor as an extension
language for Maple. See for example:

Since Maple is a proprietary (i.e. not open source) commercial
product, if Aldor as an extension language for Maple was successful,
one might anticipate that Aldor in this context at least, might
also be marketed commercially - perhaps even by Maplesoft. But
since I have been involved with Maple for many years and I am
aware of recent developments in that product, I think I am
qualified to state my opinion that I think such a development
is very unlikely.

Another site that mentions Aldor and Maple is the "Atypical:
Integrating computer algebra and reasoning" project:

Clifford, you might be interested in this project for other reasons:

"Our project is to explore the integration of reasoning capabilities
into the Axiom system, or more specifically into the Axiom library
compiler, Aldor, and to use this integrated logic to improve support
for symbolic mathematics. The integration will make the practice of
symbolic mathematics more reliable - by incorporating conditions on
the application of certain operations, for instance. It will also
extend what it is possible to achieve with CA by allowing logical
reasoning as a part of symbolic computation."

I don't know how current this project information is but the authors
are: Simon Thompson, John Shackell, James Beaumont and Leonid
Timochouk and the date on the web page is "Last modified 07.01.03".

> I note in what seems
> to be the main problem is the requirement that Aldor needs to be
> able to make modifications available, e.g. "Parts of the existing
> code base in the software package that this license is applied to
> require to make any updates available to the initial
> contributors."  Is this NAG/IBM?  If so, could this be dealt with
> the same way that issue was handled with Axiom itself?

If Aldor was released under GPL then this requirement could be
easily satisfied.

> Alternately, if Steve Watt or whoever should be reached can't
> be reached to discuss the issue, was NAG's release of Aldor to
> the group exclusive?  Perhaps NAG could release the
> original Aldor to Axiom also, just with a different name?

Perhaps this would be possible, but such negoitiations often
require a lot of "leg work", effort and patience.

> > > Can we distribute such in Debian yet?
> > 
> > I presuemt that to distribute on Debian we would require
> > a GPL-compatible source license to Aldor, right?
> I think it has to meet the Debian Free Software Guidlines to
> be included in the "main" distribution, otherwise I think it
> could go in non-free?

What are the requirements to be included in Debian non-free?

> I must admit for myself I'm not at all motivated to look at
> Aldor unless it can be a default part of the free Axiom.  Aldor
> might be nicer than SPAD, but I just can't see putting time
> and work into a non-open source scenario personally.

I am still optimistic that the licensing issues can be
resolved to everyone's benefit.

> Cheers,
> CY
> (Note - I replied to both dev and legal lists, but for this
> part I think axiom-legal is the appropriate place - no point
> clogging up the developer list with license discussions when
> we have a special place to talk about such issues. :-)

I agree that axiom-legal is the right place to discuss the Aldor
licensing issue.

Bill Page.

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