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MathGroup Archive 1992

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Re: Academic pricing for Mma

  • To: mathgroup at yoda.physics.unc.edu
  • Subject: Re: Academic pricing for Mma
  • From: Timothy Mooney <mooney at plains.nodak.edu>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Dec 92 11:34:10 CST

SCHNEIDR at knox.bitnet wrote:
)
)Just a brief note to support David Elbert's thoughtful comments concerning
)Wri's academic pricing and password protection scheme.  His comments are
)right on the mark.  I know of many institutions that decided to use Maple or
)some other product because they were so much cheaper than Mma.  And I would
)hate to hazzard a guess about the number of four letter words that have been
)uttered about Mma's password protection scheme.
)
)Mma is a great product.  I hope it will be made more affordable to academic
)institutions.  And I hope the password protection scheme will go ....ah, the
)way of other bad ideas.

I have the student edition of Mathematica v2.1, and I was vaguely offended
when I was first presented with the password dialog box. As a computer
science student, I see their desire to ensure that those who use their
product do so legally, but I'm disappointed at the method they chose.
The students that use Mathematica today are the same people that will
be looking for a tool of this type for their work in the future.  It's
quite possible that Wri's copy-protection policy will cause some to look
elsewhere for this type of tool.

Also, to the best of my knowledge, there is no upgrade path for a student
that purchased the student edition of mma that wishes to upgrade to the
full version.  Considering the price of the full version, I think this
is a mistake.  Again, freshly graduated engineers and scientists that are
in need of a SMS have reason to look elsewhere.

As long as I'm writing, I might as well add my feelings about what mma
should be.  I understand that the basic purpose of Mathematica is to
aid in problem solving, mostly by removing the drudgework of intermediate
calculations en route to some new revelation about the problem at hand.
To this end, *a* primary concern for the continuing development of mma
must be extension and refinement of mma's purely mathematical capabilities.
I don't think that this needs to be the area of advancement to the
exclusion of all others, however.  To suggest that ease of use needs to
be sacrificed to gain added power is, IMHO, dark-age thinking.

-- 
Timothy Mooney
mooney at plains.nodak.edu
--





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