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Re: v.7.0 issues

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg93910] Re: v.7.0 issues
  • From: AES <siegman at>
  • Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 05:09:04 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: Stanford University
  • References: <gggqff$31i$> <> <gglsmu$8ai$>

On Nov 25, 7:18 am, " at" < at>

> I thought it could be a good idea to start a thread where to detail
> all the issues (both positive and negative!) discovered by early
> adopters of ver.7.0:
> detail your experience here!
> Alessandro


Are you limiting this to "early adopters" only -- or can "non-adopters" 
chime in also?

If the latter, then the overwhelmingly negative issues for me are not 
any of minor or routine (but still damaging) bugs and glitches that will 
come along with any major new version of any major software package (as 
people have already been reporting for M6 in this thread), but a set of 
much more basic issues:

1)  M7 brings another massive set of changes in old routines or new and 
increasingly complex capabilities that one presumably has to learn or 
adapt to, before the dust has even settled on the massive (and massively 
disruptive) changes associated with M6.

2)  And yet, _still_ no adequate user documentation, at least for new or 
occasional or "ordinary" users of these changes and new capabilities -- 
the same as was the case when M6 emerged.  (And, presumably, any 
third-party efforts that might have been under way to develop such 
documentation for M6 have now been thrown off track, or at least further 
delayed, by the emergence of M7).

3)  Beyond this, as a working engineer, long-time university faculty 
member, and educator, I'm fully in accord with the response that says

      > Like all [recent] versions of Mathematica, version 7.0 is 
      > ridiculously expensive for the average user...

"Ridiculously and impossibly expensive" might be more like it.

4)   And so I expect I'll be going along with another recent response 
that says:

      >  Probably, I am not upgrading anymore for this and the 
      >  reasons below, despite that I have been a loyal customer 
      >  since the earliest v2.1 and upgraded most of the 
      >  subsequent releeases. 

In my case, it's been "loyal customer __and active proponent__ of 
Mathematica since the earliest v1.0."  Just dug out of my files acouple 
of memos dating back a decade or more ago, from me to deans of schools 
and to IT people in my university, urging major university support for 
widespread adoption of Mathematica across my university.  Where 
opportunity presents, I'm voicing exactly the opposite views today.

5)  I might be a bit more restrained in expressing these highly negative 
views, here and elsewhere,  had I not had an accidental encounter a few 
weeks ago with a senior colleague in my department whose multi-year 
academic involvement with Mathematica up through v5 has included doing 
very extensive analyses and numerical calculations of complex quantum 
phenomena; writing several memos and reports for his graduate students 
and colleagues on the techniques he's developed for this work; and also 
developing, teaching and writing class materials for an undergraduate 
course titled "EE141M  Engineering Electromagnetics with Mathematica".  
(He also happens to be a member of both NAE and NAS.)

I discovered that, totally without any contact with my own views and 
rants, he had purchased multiple copies of M6 when it came out, and 
installed them on his home and lab computers.  After wrestling with M6 
for some period of time, he then removed and trashed all his copies of 
M6; dug out his old installation CDs for M5 and reinstalled it on all 
his machines; and doesn't plan to worry further about MX where X>5.

I've also had private email responses to some of my early posts on this 
group following the emergence of M6 that have been supportive of of my 
criticisms of M6.

Bottom lines:  

*  I absolutely don't pretend to understand Wolfram's product and 
marketing and branding strategy for Mathematica, and especially who they 
view as their customer base.  But at this point, it doesn't include me, 
or any groups I can think of; and I sure as hell wouldn't invest in 
Wolfram myself, or advise anyone I know to buy Mathematica.

*  And as an entirely separate issue, I don't understand Wolfram's 
strategy or tactics so far as user documentation is concerned.  Their 
approach simply seems utterly crazy to me, and has since the arrival of 

*  But I also retain a great admiration for the technical capabilities 
and the immense knowledge base embedded in Mathematica -- post M5 
included -- which means the two preceding comments are sources of 
sadness, not gladness.  I'm just not going to ride the Wolfram train any 
further myself.

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