> < ^ Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1993 09:28:22 +0100
> < ^ From: Joachim Neubueser <joachim.neubueser@math.rwth-aachen.de >
^ Subject: Comfort in GAP

Dear GAP-forum,
In his last letter Arnaldo Mandel asks that the developers of GAP
should comment on the discussion about online documentation for GAP.
Rather than leaving a technical contribution on this problem to those
who have done the actual work in the development that is there, as the
oldest in the team I want to make a general statement:

Please do not forget in such discussions about the wanted comfort in
the use of GAP (the discussion on the splitting of the gap-forum and a
few others were in the same line) that GAP is developed by a small
group of mathematicians ("Lehrstuhl" means chair, and this is a
correct description, there is one chair in mathematics and some
assistants and several students around it who are developing the
central part of GAP). This is what I have tried to emphazise in the
preface to the manual, GAP is thought of as an open system to which,
we hope, other people will also contribute mathematics, it is not a
commercial product where you can demand and buy the personal comfort
that you personally would prefer. We have volunteered to provide some
reasonable environment for using GAP and in particular several of my
young colleagues and students have devoted quite a bit of time (that
often enough is hardly recognized as doing mathematics in academic
proceedings) to these developments. We do not regret this or want to
complain now, but I just ask everybody's understanding that we do have
priorities that tend more to implementing new mathematics than
fulfilling every possible (even if quite understandable and justified)
wish for more comfort.

We are most grateful to those colleagues who have on their own taken
up some of the more technical tasks in making GAP available or more
comfortable to use, for instance to Steve Linton for doing the first
portation to the DOS world, to Professor Mendelsohn's group for making
GAP available on MACs or to Harald Boegeholz for providing a hypertext
version to name just some. And we welcome of course very much the
"share libraries" that add to its mathematical power. We think that
GAP can survive as an open system only if also some of the technical
tasks are shared by some more people than the few at Aachen and we ask
you to further help us in this way. These tasks should be discussed in
the gap-forum as well as - I hope increasingly again - mathematics
that has been done or can be done with GAP and I think that it is not
too much of a burden to throw away those e-mails that do not concern

A small special request in this line: please try to get the latest
version of GAP and to follow up the patches that are made available in
some intervals; as in every larger system there are of course bugs in
GAP but quite often we do get reports on bugs that have already been
fixed and for which the fix had been distributed. Finding this out
does take some time that you could help us to save by having all
bug-fixes installed with you at the earliest possible time.

Thank you for your understanding for these matters.

Joachim Neubueser

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