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Learning Lean4 involves failure

Friday October 27 2023.

I’ve been wanting to learn to use Lean4 for a while, but it’s so weird and hard. I followed the instructions on this page and ran the following command:

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/leanprover/elan/master/elan-init.sh -sSf | sh

then rebooted by machine.

Next the page said I need to to install an editor like VS Code. But last I checked programming languages should not depend on an editor.

At this point if we run elan or lean in terminal they seem to be installed. What I would like to do is run lean example.lean and have it return something. So, I followed the instructions on this page. It said to run lake +leanprover/lean4:nightly-2023-02-04 new my_project math which makes a new folder called my_project. Then I went into my_project and ran lake update, which “downloaded component: lean” (~200Mb). Then I ran lake exe cache get and downloaded a bunch more files. Next we make a new folder, MyProject inside my_project, and create the file test.lean. In this file I wrote

import Mathlib.Topology.Basic

#check TopologicalSpace

Then in termimal I ran the command

lean test.lean

The output was

test.lean:1:0: error: unknown package 'Mathlib'
test.lean:3:7: error: unknown identifier 'TopologicalSpace'
test.lean:3:0: error: unknown constant 'sorryAx'

So clearly I did something wrong.