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Re: Major problem with

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg89426] Re: Major problem with
  • From: AES <siegman at>
  • Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2008 02:29:06 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Stanford University
  • References: <g2fueq$2j6$>

In article <g2fueq$2j6$1 at>,
 Bill Rowe <readnews at> wrote:

> Your post clearly indicates your frustration and that you have
> gone to some effort to fix things to your liking with no
> success. But no where in your post do you provide specific
> examples of problems. That lack makes it quite impossible to
> offer constructive help.

Your reply has considerable validity with respect to the first part of 
this post, centered around his 6.0.1 to 6.0.2 crash problems.

But I suggest you -- and WRI -- take more seriously the later portion of 
this post, where the OP says

> Then came 6.  . . . . Commands that don't work even in the
> help browser (try TableAlignments in TableForm).  A new help browser in
> which a search now provides reams of links somewhere in which you might find
> buried the information you want.


>  Unless the information you need isn't
> there: So far as I can figure out, it's still not possible, now months after
> the release of 6.0 and however may subsequent releases, to find a list of
> what is in the standard packages; neither can I find a single place to see
> all the backward-consistency problems that plague notebooks written
> previously. And so forth. 


>  Important commands that used to work fine now
> sometimes work and sometimes don't (PlotLegend, which I use throughout
> myriad notebooks, now doesn't work at all with many types of plot commands
> where it used to work fine, in versions before 6.).  . . . . 

> Several teachers I know are so frustrated by 6.0 that they're trying to
> persuade their institutions to switch from Mathematica to a competitor 

Not all of his complaints, in an obviously heated and angry post, may be 
entirely valid.  But from my recent experiences with Mathematica, and 
from private correspondence I've received from another faculty member at 
another large university in response to my own posts here, he, and I, 
and others who have better things to do than post on this group, do 
resonate with the underlying point, which is that WRI has done a 
_totally_ inadequate job of _user_ documentation, information, and 
assistance in its introduction of 6.0, and this has greatly damaged 
Mathematica's perceived standing, and possibly its future.

Doesn't take a lot of responses like this to have an impact.  If WRI 
wishes to keep Mathematica the premier choice for a computational and 
symbolic tool for higher education broadly, it had better repair these 
deficiencies quickly.

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