> < ^ Date: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 10:33:51 +0100
> < ^ From: Joachim Neubueser <joachim.neubueser@math.rwth-aachen.de >
> ^ Subject: contributions to GAP

Dear Forum members,

Let me just briefly comment on the recent forum letter by Eddie
C. Dost:

* In fact, because of the missing guarantee for their unchanged
* survival of updates, they should be copied under a modified name
* into private code rather than called from the main GAP library.

I would indeed sugget this policy except for code which users of GAP
recontribute to the GAP effort, and which proves useful. This could
lead to faster (but managed by the maintainers) growing of GAP, as
people writing _good_ code would get the chance to have their time
rewarded by growing an 'undoc' function into a documented (or at least
supported, note the possibilities in this difference) one. The GAP
project would gain through contributes of decent code.

This is kinda the way the Linux project works, where I put most of
my efforts, and I can tell this leads to _extremely_ good and relyable
code, though the possible flow of the system might scare maintainers
at first.

But, taking a look at how other people would implement things, and
never thinking of oneselfs ideas as the greatest and only is what
makes a developer of compicated systems as GAP.

Concluding, I'd suggest letting those who can handle it deal with
the internals, and look _close_ at how and why those people did this
and maybe get some ideas for GAP for free.

We do indeed appreciate to get contributions to GAP from its users,
the small team of GAP developers can in no way hope to cover all the
different problems and solutions of the hundreds of users of
GAP. Therefore in this Forum I have asked several times to send us
code that has been written in the first place for own use and might be
interesting to others.

Some such suggestions have in fact found their way into the code of
the main GAP library, others have first been gathered in the
'incoming' directory.

However, in addition to improving and extending the functionality of
GAP that way, we are concerned on one hand that the work represented
by such contributions does not completely vanish into anonymity and on
the other that responsibilities for code stay clear. Thus we have
recently created the two WWW lists of 'deposited' and of 'accepted'
contributions that I have explained in GAP forum messages before, that
can also be found via the WWW pages of GAP.

Fully subscribing to Eddie Dost's intention I want to repeat my call
for contributions to GAP at all levels. I hope that none of these get
lost, but I want to apologize that for lack of manpower we may not in
all cases be able to integrate code into the main GAP library soon,
even when this might be possible and desirable.

Joachim Neubueser

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