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Re: ClearAll ?? or what

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  • Subject: [mg102863] Re: ClearAll ?? or what
  • From: AES <siegman at>
  • Date: Mon, 31 Aug 2009 06:34:32 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Stanford University
  • References: <h7371j$b28$> <h75nba$p3g$> <h77nb8$s5d$> <h788qn$bgs$> <h7b08s$h1$> <h7dj22$keq$>

This reply is primarily for Albert R., re his message below:  Sorry, I 
really did not intend to criticize or allege mistakes by anyone, and if 
my message did so, I'm apologetic.  I just wanted to make clear that 
what I had referred to initially as a minor problem, and as an "error" 
(in quotes, with the quotes intended to indicate that it was a somewhat 
minor kind of error -- something on which I think we're in full 
agreement) was in fact referred to by the Mathematica documentation as an 
explicit error.

I'd also add once again, however, that when the kind of minor and more 
or less trivial change from version to version illustrated here is 
combined with much more substantial and less trivial changes between 
versions, in an application that has become as massively complex and 
convoluted as Mathematica, it's not just backwards compatibility that is 
degraded.  Rather, at least IMHO, the net usability and certainly the 
friendliness of Mathematica begins a steep slide in the wrong direction.

In article <h7dj22$keq$1 at>,
 Albert Retey <awnl at> wrote:

> Hi,
> >>> The problem (a minor one) is that if you do this, then the first time 
> >>> you execute such a notebook in a newly opened Mathematica session, you 
> >>> will get the "error" message:
> >>>
> >>>    Remove::rmnsm: There are no symbols matching "Global`*". >>
> > 
> >> a message is a message and an error is an error. I think this is not
> >> meant to be an error message, but a warning message, and I think it is
> > 
> > 
> > I guess my mistake was to click the ">>" at the end of this 
> > warnng/message/"error"/whatever, which took me to the 
> > Mathematica documentation for Remove::rmnsm, in which I 
> > read, quote:
> > 
> >   "An error occurs if there are no symbols with names that 
> >    match the string pattern given in the argument of Remove"
> > 
> The purpose of my message and my intention was not to decide whether
> you, Mathematica or anyone else made a mistake. The purpose of the
> message was to show you how you can get rid of the message without
> defining dummy variables (which is just a workaround and could not help
> under certain circumstances). If that information has no value for you,
> feel free to ignore it.
> If you want to turn that into a discussion of who made which mistake I
> would like to add this: obviously the documentation of Remove::rmnsm
> (which I never found necessary to read before) contradicts my suggestion
> to interpret this as a warning rather than an error. I fully accept the
> authority of the documentation and stand corrected.  But for all
> practical considerations I will still stick to my interpretation, just
> because I think it is quite clear what happens and why. And honestly I
> don't even feel like discussing whether that is a mistake in the
> documentation or implementation, just because I don't think it's worth to.
> hth,
> albert

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