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[Gcl-devel] Re: [Axiom-developer] RE: GCL on Windows

From: William Sit
Subject: [Gcl-devel] Re: [Axiom-developer] RE: GCL on Windows
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 03:39:51 -0500

Hi Bill:

"Page, Bill" wrote:
> Tim wrote:
> >
> > Is there a way to set it [HOME] during the install
> > process? Could we ask the user at that time?
> >
> Yes, I suppose we could ask the user what they want the
> default directory for AXIOM to be and default it to, say
>   c:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents
> (overridable by the user)

Simply asking this location at install time is not good, as was already pointed
out that this default may not be known to a naive Windows user,  may not be
desirable by other users, and in network environment, may be mapped to various
drive letters.

Two possible solutions may work across all Windows platforms. The first is to
use an axiom.ini file in the c:\windows directory to store all user information
(one section per user on the machine) that includes any Linux environmental
variable, user directories, etc, and a global section to store function call
translations (like cat to type). This file is easily editable by a user, or be
protected in W2k or XP.  The second is to put the info in the Registry.

> We could set the environment variable HOME to point there -
> provided that HOME is not already pointing somewhere else
> for some other purpose (possible but not likely).

Either of the above suggestions will not have conflicts since the axiom.ini or
registry entries are local information only.
> It might be better if there was an AXIOM specific home,
> like AXIOMHOME. Or we could default it to something off
> the AXIOM variable that is pointing into the mnt/windows
> tree. But since the default for installation is
>   C:\Program Files
> and it is not normal to store user editable files there,
> this might not be such a good idea.

The axiom.ini file can reside anywhere, in particular in the installed axiom
directory. The registry is editable and while most naive users (like students)
will not venture to do so, it is not a difficult thing to do so when guided by
the guru.
Alternatively, a simple menu type program can be written to allow
"configuration" with actual changes to axiom.ini or the registry hidden from the

As to the problem about path syntax, in order to be as portable as possible, we
may follow the method used by Mathematica. It breaks up a path into its
component as strings without the separators and then provides functions to piece
them back together according to the operating system. I have no trouble at all
transporting my Mathematica notebooks that involves paths across linux, windows,
and Macs or networks. Frequently used and more or less fixed paths can be
assigned to global variables that would be initialized at the start of the
program session. (For example, Mathematica has $InstallDirectory,
$PreferencesDirectory).  Axiom already has a FileNameCategory and FileName
domain with common facilities.


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