[om] Newbie questions on the meaning of the Attribution Element

Cem Karan cfkaran2 at comcast.net
Sun Jan 12 23:52:47 CET 2003

If all of this true, then OpenMath quickly becomes meaningless; the 
goal (at least as I understand it) of OM is to guarantee the ability to 
communicate between two (or more) programs or components.  My program 
does not, and probably never will understand how to talk to Maple using 
Maple's native encodings (or anything else for that matter; if it uses 
OM, then it will use the CDs in as pure a manner as possible).  I know 
that OM does not guarantee that the attribute elements are going to 
correspond to OM elements that are in the CDs, and I know that I can't 
force other users to do so correctly.  Would it be worth making a 
version of OM where the attribute element is deprecated?  Much of what 
it seems to supply can probably be supplied via other namespaces; this 
includes binary information, which can be base64 encoded.  The 
advantage to removing the attribute element from the OM namepace is 
that any application that claims to use OM as its communication medium 
wouldn't be able to limit itself to using attribute elements only, it 
would have to use information that other parsers could also use.

Cem Karan

On Sunday, January 12, 2003, at 05:14  PM, Richard Fateman wrote:

> I would go even further and say that any application
> is compelled to ignore the entire attribution unless
> the OMObject is coming from a trusted source )or whose
> attributions are certified in some way).
> It is conceivable for a front-end to a computer algebra
> system and a back-end to communicate with OMObjects,
> in which case it is very likely that the attribution
> will be the ONLY thing used  (e.g. for Maple, it could
> be Maple encodings).  That is, the rest
> of the OM is treated as noise, since it cannot convey anything
> MORE informative than the Maple command.
> In almost any other circumstance the attribution must
> be treated as noise.  Just because someone includes a
> Maple expression string in the attribution doesn't mean
> it is accurate; and if it is not Maple that is
> receiving the object, what sense will be made of it? One
> can only make sense of it if one has a "fake Maple"
> parser and knowledge base.
> In fact this illustrates the fundamental flaw in OM.  In
> almost any application you might as well be communicating
> in some side-channel if you want to make sure something
> is understood exactly and completely.  The alternative
> of building up a CD etc etc is too painful.  Demonstrations
> that this encoding might be useful for typesetting
> (like presentation MathML) is not a proof of concept.
> It is a proof that OM can be used for typesetting.

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