Re: Re: Range of Use of Mathematica

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg89179] Re: [mg89160] Re: Range of Use of Mathematica*From*: Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at mimuw.edu.pl>*Date*: Wed, 28 May 2008 04:45:54 -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$1@smc.vnet.net> <200805250718.DAA18797@smc.vnet.net> <g1e351$eqq$1@smc.vnet.net> <200805271116.HAA01511@smc.vnet.net>

On 27 May 2008, at 20:16, AES wrote: > In article <g1e351$eqq$1 at smc.vnet.net>, > Murray Eisenberg <murray at math.umass.edu> wrote: > >> My impression is that in (much) earlier Mathematica versions, WRI >> went >> out of its way to encourage and foster such 3rd party books (some of >> which were, in fact, written by or co-authored by insiders). Either >> this is not being done or, if it is, there's a considerable lag in >> such >> efforts seeing the light of day. >> >> I remain convinced that some of the early success of Mathematica >> was the >> existence of such books, beyond the intrinsic value of the software >> itself. And I continue to hope that the seemingly print-averse, >> pro-electronic enthusiasts within WRI do not totally dominate the >> direction this takes. > > Murray and I are of course singing from exactly the same songbook in > expressing views like these. I'll go further: WRIs failure to have > done this with the ("revolutionary") transition to 6 is not just > inexplicable but absolutely insane. Combined with Mathematica's > pricing, I predict that it will do substantial damage to Mathematica's > competitive status and market success. > There is a well known and time confirmed rule about all such predictions: check if the "soothsayer" has staked some of his own money on his prophecy coming true. If not, ignore it. One strange property the ivory tower has, is that its walls are not transparent and for some completely obscure the view of the outside world, leading to a strange kind of collective solipsism. But there really is a real world outside The Tower and it often works by quite different rules from the world inside. Let me give just two examples. A few years ago I had a conversation with one of the main developers of the typesetting capabilities of Mathematica. I mentioned the fact that TeX was so established as the standard in academic publication in such areas as maths and physics that it looked extremely unlikely that Mathematica (or Publicon) could challenge it. He replied that they had never had such intention. TeX was indeed so firmly established that it seemed impossible to challenge, and besides, since academics expect most things to be free it was not really worth the effort. But there were countless companies and organizations outside the Academia, which needed a technical publishing tool, were prepare to pay for it, and had never even heard of TeX. One of them, if I recall correctly, was the US Mint, which, if I recall correctly, actually adopted Mathematica as a standard. On another occasion I listened to a lecture by one of the original developers of Mathematica, who talked about some issues involved in promoting Mathematica in the corporate market (in this case, big financial institutions). One of the problems turned out that Mathematica was too cheap; such companies are used to programs that cost order of magnitude more than Mathematica does, and find it hard to believe that something as cheap as Mathematica could be a serious tool. I do not, however, remember he mentioning the existence (or non existence) of 3rd party books as being a major factor in purchasing decisions by any company. Note that Wolfram claims among its customers all the Fortune 500 companies and that the great majority of published books on Mathematica involve purely academic applications. So I doubt that they had any influence on Mathematca's sales to the corporate world. So the "market" in this case is not as simple or homogeneous as it may appear from inside The Tower. Finally, one should not forget that there are lots of free computer algebra systems available, many of them excellent in what they do. Wolfram's main concern must be to make sure that mathematica does not join this already crowded collection. So far WRI has been pretty good at doing this and I predict it is going to continue to do so for quite a few years still to come. Andrzej Kozlowski

**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>

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

**Re: Range of Use of Mathematica***From:*AES <siegman@stanford.edu>