[Om] Reflections on the 2016 OM Workshop, part 1

Lars Hellström Lars.Hellstrom at residenset.net
Thu Jul 28 16:18:07 CEST 2016

Since I didn't make it to CICM this year, but still (with some help) follow 
what goes on at the workshop, I've decided to post some reflection on it to 
the OM mailing list instead, in the hope that it reaches the participants. 
Readers beware; there may be ranting.

First and foremost, I don't think Michael should chair future discussions on 
extending OpenMath; I've heard him do so at least twice by now, and the 
results haven't been good.

It's not that I disagree with him -- on the contrary, I quite agree with his 
position on the matter -- but it is clear that he is too keen on being the 
advocate to do much chairing, and as a result the discussion degenerates. 
The view I had on Monday didn't show much, but I could see a number of times 
where Jan Willem raised his hand without anyone up front seeming to notice, 
as a small group there seemed happy to keep the discussion between themselves.

(It also didn't help that what these people /were/ saying sounded distinctly 
like 80% repeat of a discussion originally held last decade, where it 
possibly rather was on the topic of strict versus pragmatic Content MathML. 
If such reruns is what the oldtimers want to spend their time on then fine, 
but please limit it to your own time, rather than wasting the precious 6 
hours of OM workshop that we have once a year or two!)

That we should produce errata to the OM2 standard is a no-brainer! To not 
issue errata, when there are obvious typos in the specification, is to be dead.

We should _also_ work on extensions, because there are kinds of mathematics 
that the current standard doesn't do a good job of supporting. (Anyone who 
doubts that claim is hereby invited to detail what in 
http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-1010/paper-21.pdf they consider to be wrong. Note in 
particular that appeals to lambdas or helper sets is tantamount to claiming 
that MSO logic is pointless, something that the formal languages literature 
very much disagrees with.) And the mathematics doesn't give a damn that 
CMML3 has been blessed by the ISO -- blessings have no weight in any logical 
system I've ever heard about.

What forms extensions to OM should take is another matter, but one that will 
be easier to address once the possible extensions are made more concrete. 
Having as engineering goal while developing an extension that it should be 
implementable via a Language Extension Dictionary is fine by me, but it 
should not be considered necessary, even if I suspect that such an 
implementation will usually be possible.

Lars Hellström

PS: Yes (in case there was ever any doubt), I volunteer to work on the above 

PPS: There is more to say, but this makes a nice part 1. Part 2 will be on 
other topics.

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