[om] comments on documents

Mike Dewar miked at nag.co.uk
Fri May 17 17:40:26 CEST 2002

Hi Richard,

> The documents don't make consistent
> sense.  It seems from a casual reading, that
>    OM encoding doesn't specify presentation.
>    MathML doesn't specify content.
> Both of these are essentially false, easily observed by
> (a) the conversion of OM to MathML and to TeX. So OM specifies
> (or can be used to specify) presentation.
In that case the stylesheet (or whatever) used to do the conversion is
what specifies the presentation.  There is nothing intrinsic in the
OpenMath object or the OpenMath standard which specifies a presentation.

> (b) MathML has a content component, which could either
> point to some OM piece or not.
As far as I know we never said that "MathML doesn't specify content".
What we said is that MathML has no way of describing the semantics of a
symbol.  This seems to me to be true.

> You also claim that OM objects can be
> * verified as being mathematically sound (or not!)
> I don't know what this means.  Mathematically well-formed?
> True?  (1+1=3  might be well-formed but not true).
> Either provably true or provably not true?  or
>   (provably true) or not (provably true?   {a tautology).
It might be better to leave this to the automated reasoning crowd, but
my understanding of this phrase is that the object is consistent with a
given set of Axioms.  
> There is a side issue about standardization and how
> this is done.  One technique used in industry where
> there are competing technologies is to stamp out
> competition by attempting to elevate one proposal
> to be the standard.  Self-praise is no recommendation.
> To what established international body is the OM
> standard going to be submitted?  Certainly the OM
> committee is not sufficient.
Who is elevating one proposal over another here?  The MathML
recommendation gives a number of examples where OpenMath is used for
expressing semantics which are beyond what MathML offers.  The OpenMath
community advocates presentation MathML or TeX for rendering, depending
on the context.   Your suggestion that somebody is trying to "elevate"
their particular standard over somebody elses to be *the* standard is
simply not true.

We have no plans at present to seek formal standardisation for OpenMath
because it seems unnecessary.  If there was a large community using it
then that would be another matter but as it stands those of us using it
are happy with the current semi-formal arrangement.  We are not trying to
compete with MathML and indeed many of us (including NAG) are actively
involved in both groups.


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