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

Professor James Davenport jhd at cs.bath.ac.uk
Mon Jan 13 11:23:52 CET 2003

On Sun, 12 Jan 2003, 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).
Not so - a rendered that supports the "colour" attribute could render 
symbols in various colours without needing to know the "trusted source" 
(which might well by a saved object in a file, or an e-mail attachment).
> 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.
This is possible, but this is very much a "private" communication, and 
outwith the scope of the OpenMath standard.
> 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.
True, but at the time an OpenMath object is stored, one does not know what 
uses are going to be made of it. Assuming that Maple is storing it, it 
might as well store the Maple as an additional piece of information in an 
attribute. That way, IF the object is later read back into Maple, 
processing is more direct, but if it read nto Maxima, the Maple is ignored 
and the OpenMath is read.
James Davenport
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