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Re: What should Mathematica be?
I will have to take a position with Hay from the UK on this one. Mathematica is not just for trolls. It should continue to develop along the lines of an "n's Work Bench" where n=Physicist, Engineer, etc. The distinction made by a previous correspondent between the kernel and the interface is crucial. Notebooks are important teaching tools for both the University and professional environment. It should be possible to create documents which pass a minimal test of clarity and quality both in typography and graphics. I don't mean to imply that a full postscript editor is needed, but it should be as easy to make your results presentable visually and in print as it is to create them. Anything less defeats the "workbench" concept. It seems mildly insulting to suggest that WRI is not capable of keeping two objectives in mind at once. As MathLink becomes the default kernel/front-end communication device, one could even imagine a future with two front ends from WRI, one (presumably cheap) for persons who are indifferent to the appearance of their work or who never show it to anyone else, and another (less cheap) for persons who occasionally would like to communicate with students or colleagues. WRI is, after all, a business. The more abstract a package, the fewer people who need or care about it. Would it be impertinent to suggest that while WRI is making Mathematica in its present form more robust and generally useful, interested mathgroup readers might consider solving their own problems? Writing elegant packages to do specific tasks, such as asymptotic expansions or whatever, could confer satisfaction, glory and even riches. Perhaps along the way, it might become clear why it is important to be able to generate good documentation. Robert A. Weller Materials Science/Physics Vanderbilt University