> < ^ Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 11:35:33 +0100 (BST)
> < ^ From: Alexander Hulpke <hulpke@math.colostate.edu >
^ Subject: Announcement: GAP4 beta 4

Dear Gap-Forum, Dear Gap4 list,

We have released a new beta version of GAP4. This mail contains the
announcement and information on how to obtain it.

The GAP Group in Aachen and St. Andrews.

		    Release notes for GAP 4 beta 4

This is the fourth beta release of GAP 4 (GAP 4b4). When we released
GAP 4b3 last February, we said that we hoped that that would be the
final beta release, and that GAP 4.1 would be released in early
summer. That has not turned out to be possible, but GAP 4b4 is very
much closer to a finished product than GAP 4b3 was.

GAP4 is available for UNIX, Macintosh and 32 bit Windows. We are indebted
to Burkhard Hoefling for creating the Macintosh version.

In particular:
* almost all of the reference manual (which is also the on-line
help) is present, although a few chapters are missing and some
others (marked "preliminary") are terse to the point of being
skeletal, or even, in a few cases, contain misleading sections.
* all the algebraic functionality which we wanted to have in GAP 4.1
is now present
* we plan no further incompatible changes (unless they are forced on
us) so developers can feel free to start developing programs with
this version which should then work unchanged with 4.1
* numerous bugs are fixed, including many found by beta testers,
please keep up the good work! Extensive tests have been run to
ensure GAP produces correct results. We are not aware of any bugs
remaining in this version.
* a variety of performance problems have been addressed (some still
remain, unfortunately). In comparison with beta 3 this means
speedups of a factor 3 or more in some areas.

We would like to encourage users starting new projects, or developing
code that they expect to be using for some time to consider moving to
GAP 4 at this point if they have not already done so.

We would also encourage all GAP users to try out the new version and
let us know how you get on. We are especially interested in bug
reports (or bug fixes), of course, but we would also like to hear your
general views of the system, suggestions for improvement (patches that
improve it are even nicer, naturally), and so forth.

We are also interested in trying to quantify and improve the
performance of the system. "Real-world" benchmarks that let us compare
run-times with older and newer versions of the system, or with GAP3
(where relevant) are of interest.

You can obtain GAP4b4 from the GAP Web pages

Europe (UK, master):
Europe (D, mirror):
USA (mirror):
Australia (mirror):

or from one of the following ftp servers:

Please allow the mirrors to pick up the last updates over night.

A list of changes since beta 3 can be found at

If you are an experienced GAP3 user new to GAP4 we suggest you read the
Chapter on ``Migration to GAP4'' of the tutorial for a summary of changes
from GAP3 to GAP4.

Contributed Packages

System changes from GAP3 make it much easier to integrate contributed
packages into GAP4 without having to release a new version of GAP
(mainly, each package has its own manual). This will, we hope, enable
us to release GAP4 versions of a number of GAP3 share and deposited
packages over the next months. Users who develop GAP programs that
might be of wider interest are encouraged to consider submitting them
to be refereed for "publication" as share packages. See the web pages
for details.

Email Addresses 


If you install GAP4b4, please send a short message telling us that you
have done so, and perhaps the type of computer/OS that you are using
and the broad mathematical area that you expect to use GAP in to
gap@dcs.st-and.ac.uk. This helps give us an idea of our user base.


If you have a specific problem or query that does not seem likely to
be of wider interest, or a message for the "GAP team", please send it
to gap-trouble@dcs.st-and.ac.uk, rather than to individual members of
the team.


This mailing list is for general discussion of technical issues
relating specifically to GAP4. To use this list you must first join.
(see http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~gap//Info/miles.html on how to do)

With previous beta-releases, we have specifically requested beta-testers not
to discuss GAP4 in the gap-forum. Reflecting the greater maturity of this
release, we now merely suggest that detailed techncial discussion be kept to
the gap4 list.

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