From: Andreas Strotmann <strotman@nu.cs.fsu.edu>

Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 16:06:37 -0400 (EDT)

To: Thomas Cool <cool@dataweb.nl>

cc: timbl@w3.org, www-math@w3.org

Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.10.10004131529360.10450-100000@xi.cs.fsu.edu>

Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 16:06:37 -0400 (EDT)

To: Thomas Cool <cool@dataweb.nl>

cc: timbl@w3.org, www-math@w3.org

Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.10.10004131529360.10450-100000@xi.cs.fsu.edu>

To all readers of the message below, I would like to refute several of the arguments put forward there. - "MathML reinvents the wheel" truth is that pretty much all existing CA system languages have been seriously deficient with respect to fundamental design principles for content markup languages[1]. OpenMath and MathML are the first to fix at least some of the most problematic of those errors. - copyrighting the language of maths. as anybody in the CA field can tell you, it is extremely ironic to put forward Mathematica as an example for a language that cannot be copyrighted. Indeed, the infamous mma/mockmma incident a few years back (where a well-known researcher was told off by Wolfram lawyers for using Mathematica's proprietary syntax for his own CA system and algorithm design environment) is an immediate refutation, and a direct argument for the need(!!!) for an open(!!!) language. Experience has shown that copyleft is a necessary ingredient in maintaining openness. - "the MathML group didn't deal with the makers of Mathematica (or Maple)" oh yes they did, even as far back as the beginnings of the OpenMath project that provided many of the MathML researchers responsible for Content-MathML. Collaborators have included people with close ties with: Maple (Gonnet, who initiated the OpenMath project), Mathematica (several developers are members of the MathML WG), Axiom (Sutor), REDUCE (myself, Neun, and others)... It should be noted also that the very idea of OpenMath (and Content-MathML) is - to get away from the babel of CA languages, and define a language all can agree on - to get away from the unnecessary details that some of them need for operational purposes (e.g. Axiom's very detailed type system, or the distinction between int and Int in Maple) - to get away from an operational view of maths and towards a declarative one - to go beyond Computer Algebra and into the rest of mathematics The message is furthermore rife with misunderstandings of the concepts employed in the definition of MathML and their relation to concepts in Computer Algebra languages. Most fundamentally, the distinction between a declarative semantics of MathML and the operational semantics of a Computer Algebra system's user language is completely ignored (see e.g. the introductory chapter on the design decidions for the KIF (knowledge interchange format) language -- "why not LISP"). At another place, it fails to distinguish between import and export convertability. The author apparently also fails to realize that his proposal for a <mathematics use=Mathematica> ... </mathematics> already exists: it is called the "object" tag. The author fails to distinguish between content and presentation markup, a distinction that is utterly vital in this context. Conclusion MathML may not be perfect, as I'm the first to conceed ;-), but it is very well designed (compared to, say, Mathematica or REDUCE input languages), and it should be published, even in its imperfect state, as soon as possible. Thank you. Andreas Strotmann [1] L.J. Kohout, A. Strotmann: "Understanding and Improving Content Markup for the Web: from the Perspectives of Formal Linguistics, Algebraic Logics, and Cognitive Science." in: ISIC/CIRA/ISAS '98 Joint Conference on the Science and Technology of Intelligent Systems (IS'98), Gaithersburg, MD, 1998. ____________________________________________________________ "The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice." - G.K.Chesterton: A Defense of Humilities, The Defendant, 1901 www.chesterton.org/acs/quotes.htm On Thu, 13 Apr 2000, Thomas Cool wrote: > Dear Tim Berners-Lee, > > You are probably under the impression that MathML is a good idea. > May I invite you to read the paper linked below ? > It isn't too late to stop it - but perhaps I am an idealist like you yourself. > > Kind regards, > > Thomas Cool > http://www.dataweb.nl/~cool > > http://econwpa.wustl.edu:8089/eps/get/papers/0004/0004002.html > http://econwpa.wustl.edu/eprints/get/papers/0004/0004002.abs > > also available at http://www.dataweb.nl/~cool/Papers/MathML/OnMathML.html > > > >Received on Thursday, 13 April 2000 16:06:39 UTC

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