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MathGroup Archive 2002

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Re: Choosing between Mathematica for Windows and Linux

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg36953] Re: Choosing between Mathematica for Windows and Linux
  • From: Steven <hattons at speakeasy.net>
  • Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2002 00:16:33 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <amh36l$9f8$1@smc.vnet.net> <ane8r9$ked$1@smc.vnet.net>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

Dr. David Kirkby wrote:

> Sidney Cadot wrote:
>> 
>> Hi group,
>> 
>> One of these days the company I work for will buy one Mathematica 4.2
>> license. Now we will have to choose between either the Linux or the
>> Windows versions of the product.
>> 
>> Our Linux systems are Debian based, running 2.4.19 kernels, and the KDE-2
>> window manager. Our Windows systems are running on top of VMWare in
>> Windows XP Professional.
>> In testing using an evaluation version I found that the VMWare/XP version
>> is performing pretty well so that wouldn't be an issue.
>> 
>> My main concern (and probably the grounds on which we will base our
>> decision) is the quality of the front-end. The Windows frontend works
>> flawlessly; however, in test-driving earlier versions of Mathematica (3.0
>> and 4.0) on Linux, I found that the front-end was working a lot less
>> satisfactorily. I didn't spend much time to hunt down the source of the
>> problem, but it is probable that some X key-mapping was wrong making, for
>> example, keyboard shortcuts for 'Copy' and 'Paste' malfunctioning. On the
>> whole, I'd say the Linux front-end simply felt less robust than does the
>> Windows frontend.
>> 
>> Can anybody please tell me whether they got the Linux 4.2 Front-end
>> working to full satisfaction? I'd be willing to spend a couple of hours
>> to fix some settings, but only if I'm sure it could be done. The bottom
>> line is that I I would much prefer to run Mathematica on Linux instead of
>> VMWare/Windows, but not if that would mean putting up with a quircky
>> front-end.
> 
> For what it is worth, I have no problems with the front end under Solaris
> - another varient of Unix.

I sincerely wish WRI were more relaxed about allowing people to use the same 
license on the same hardware, but with a different OS.  My understanding is 
that I would have to buy two licenses if I wanted to switch back and forth 
between Windows and Linux.  I'm willing to bleed to avoid using Windows.  
That's how open source is paid for.  Not everybody has the same amount of 
spare blood in their veins, or willingness to spill it.  For those who 
*are* willing to give a little to making the Linux version better, but also 
have real world constraints which preclude full-time use of the Linux 
release of Mathematica, it would be nice to have a dual boot option.  Perhaps it's 
simply a support issue.  It would potentially cause the same customer to 
require more support if he were switching back and forth between OSs.

WRT the keyboard mappings on Linux, I've made some headway:
http://public.globalsymmetry.com/proprietary/com/wri/ch05.html
http://66.92.149.152/proprietary/com/wri/ch05.html

I still have some tweaks to add to this, such as M-k -> C-k, but it at least 
demonstrates that (all) things aren't cast in stone.

STH


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