Re: Bug reports on MathGroup (long)
- To: mathgroup
- Subject: Re: Bug reports on MathGroup (long)
- From: sdoyle at fed.frb.gov
- Date: Mon, 8 May 89 12:00:08 CDT
- Relpy-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I've sent several bug/feature reports to Steve Christensen, who in turn
has forwarded these to the MathGroup list. Some of these problems appear
only on a particular version of Mathematica or a particular machine. This
led Richard Fateman to ask:
> [...] since only WRI has access to source,
> what point is there to telling us all about such bugs?
Well, I think that the current policy of posting differences between
1.1 and 1.2 or between different machines is a good one, although I
also partially agree with Richard. Many of the people on this list are more
interested in computer algebra or algorithm design, and not difficulties
of specific implementations of those algorithms. Even if they were
(as Richard points out), the non-WRI members of the group don't have
access to the source code, so their advice might be of limited use.
Finally, some (perhaps naive) readers of MathGroup might interpret
a bug report as a signal that Mathematica was not a good software
package (and it IS a very good package!).
Since Richard made a good case for limiting the types of bugs
posted to MathGroup, I'll present some reasons for the other side:
(1) Users may have encountered some of the same problems and
have figured out some work-arounds. From my point of view, it
doesn't matter if the problem is Sun's or WRI's... but if
someone on MathGroup can describe the problem in a consisent
way then we are all better off.
(2) I like to know the limits of the programming environment
that I'm working in. Sometimes these limits are specific
to an implementation, sometimes not. I assume that others
might share this interest.
(3) I tried to explain in my posting the point of what the function
of the program was (polynomials used as operators), and this seemed
like a generic enough problem that I was sure that someone else
had already solved it in a clean way. I often learn a great
deal by watching these sort of conversations on the net...
(4) I usually interpret bug reports/problems with packages as a
positive signal. It means that people are really using the
package and pushing it into areas where the designers might
not have anticipated it being applied.
(Of course, others could have interpreted my posting in a different
light. If so, I apologize to WRI. )
These are my reasons for keeping MathGroup's posting policy in its present
But... I've been wrong before. :-)
Sean Doyle Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
20 and Constitution, NW Mail Stop 76 Washington, DC 20551
(202) 452-2352 uucp: uunet!fed!m1swd00 , internet: sdoyle at fed.frb.gov
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