Re: Range of Use of Mathematica

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg89061] Re: Range of Use of Mathematica*From*: David Bailey <dave at Remove_Thisdbailey.co.uk>*Date*: Sun, 25 May 2008 03:18:42 -0400 (EDT)*References*: <g0m8tt$14$1@smc.vnet.net> <g0rkfr$dtv$1@smc.vnet.net> <200805200627.CAA23235@smc.vnet.net> <g11qvh$a6r$1@smc.vnet.net> <200805220637.CAA22441@smc.vnet.net> <g18hvh$km0$1@smc.vnet.net>

Andrzej Kozlowski wrote: > > I think you somewhat misunderstood my point (and I think AES's point > too). To put it in a nutshell: if you wish to use Mathematica only as > a computational engine and use TeX, Illustrator and whatever other > programs you wish to use for non-computational tasks, then you can do > this just as well with Mathematica 6 as with 5 or earlier, and in fact > much better, since the computational engine is now much more powerful. > It has become much more powerful without any fundamental changes to > the basic structure of the language (which is not the case with some > other rival programs). So, if you do not care for Mathematica's > typesetting, graphic and presentational capabilities you can simply > ignore them - they in no way affect the computational ones. Indeed, > this has to be so, otherwise the Kernel would not be able to function > without the F.E. and it obviously does. > Your concerns about the FE becoming over complex for newcomers > (whether justified or not) affect only those newcomers who need > capabilities other than pulling down menus, copying and pasting and > using Shift-Enter. If I am not mistaken, AES thinks that these are the > only FE capabilities Mathematica needs. My point is that for users who > adopt his approach (which I have nothing against in itself, > particularly that it isn't all that different from mine) there has > been no significant in difficulty and complexity. Even the complaint > about the lack of printed documentation does not carry much weight, if > all that you care about is the Kernel, since available documentation > for earlier versions is more than enough to turn one into a (Kernel) > power-user. > > Finally, I would like to add one comment on the issue of WRI's > "strategy" that AES has raised. Actually, this strategy has been very > clear many, many years, in fact even since WRI decided to re-position > Mathematica from a "system for doing mathematics by computer" (in > other words a "CAS") to "fully integrated technical computing system". > Note the words "fully integrated". To me it has been clear for more > than a decade that this was meant to imply things like typesetting, a > fully programmable graphic engine (independent of PostScript), and > other things. In fact, any one who attended any of the numerous > Mathematica demos, particularly those conducted by Theo Gray, could > have had no doubt about this. Has this been a success? Well, let me > point out that quite a large number of commercial general-purpose CAS > have appeared since Mathematica's debut (and some even earlier). With > one notable exception none of these has been a commercial success and > most are available now as freeware. I would say that is a pretty clear > vindication of Wolfram's strategy. > By all means have a discussion of the "product strategy" of > Mathematica if you enjoy this sort of thing. Butif if anyone hops to > stop or reverse the ongoing process of "integration" (as in "fully > integrated") than all I have to say is that it seems to me to be > rather late for that; by over a decade, actually. > > Andrzej Kozlowski > My comments regarding the size of Mathematica related particularly to the future. The problem is that a new user doesn't know, say, that for his purpose he should concentrate on the kernel functions (he doesn't even know what the kernel is) - he is presented with the totality, and has to figure out how best to use the product. A potential user may get no further than reading a review that presents Mathematica in a way that seems to him to involve an excessive learning curve. David Bailey http://www.dbaileyconsultancy.co.uk

**Follow-Ups**:**Re: Re: Range of Use of Mathematica***From:*Murray Eisenberg <murray@math.umass.edu>

**References**:**Re: Range of Use of Mathematica***From:*David Bailey <dave@Remove_Thisdbailey.co.uk>

**Re: Range of Use of Mathematica***From:*David Bailey <dave@Remove_Thisdbailey.co.uk>