[om] Matlab phrasebook?

Andrew Solomon andrews at it.uts.edu.au
Sun Oct 28 08:27:58 CET 2001

Dear Alberto González Palomo,

On Sun, Oct 28, 2001 at 04:58:31AM +0100, Alberto González Palomo wrote:
> > > If the idea offends you so much
> > > I suggest you unsubscribe from this list since it is our basic
> > > premise.
> > 
> > Actually, setting up small groups of people to establish standards that
> > do not correspond to clear requirements specifications, and that
> > are outside any standardization bodies (like ISO or IEEE), and which,
> > additionally discourage critics, seems to me like a clear route
> > to irrelevance.
> 	Except for the standarization body part, I agree.
> 	That's a clear risk for OpenMath.
> 	In particular, trying to exclude such a clueful critic as
> Prof. Fateman is an error. While I think that OM has some utility and
> hence I'm not in complete agreement with him, I've been reading very
> carefully his writings about the issue (posts to mailing lists, news
> groups, papers) and many of his objections match my experience as a
> programmer.
> 	OpenMath's future is not going to be any better just by
> rejecting reasoned (albeit debatable) criticism.

Here's my take on the subject, my opinion.

If you're active in this list, it's reasonable to assume that:
a) you want there to be a standard; and 
b) you want to make progress in that direction by discussing
it with people with the same ambition. 

Richard's original email did not suggest he would subscribe to (a) or (b).

It is perfectly ok to put forward the thesis that the notion of a
standard is ill-conceived, but I don't think this list is the place to 
conduct that discussion. By analogy, if you want to question the validity
of mathematics as a discipline, you wouldn't do that in a mathematics
journal, but most probably a philosophy journal. Most fora
proceed upon certain basic assumptions which aren't questioned.

Richard is welcome to send his thesis directly to me and, I imagine, any 
of the members of this list, but as individuals. Perhaps he could set 
up a list in which to debate the virtues of having a standard - I would 
certainly subscribe. He could even (and perhaps should) publish his thesis
in a scholarly journal. I just don't think this list is the place to 
discuss it. 

On the other hand, for over a year I've welcomed and given serious
consideration to Richard's criticisms, read some of his papers and 
even agreed with some of his points, however, I really think that 
if this list is to be productive, posts to the list should proceed from 
the assumption that establishing a standard is a well founded project.

best wishes,

Andrew Solomon
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