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Re: Mathematica 7.0.1.0 and some General Comments

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg97384] Re: Mathematica 7.0.1.0 and some General Comments
  • From: Mariano Suárez-Alvarez <mariano.suarezalvarez at gmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 12 Mar 2009 02:19:01 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <goqphr$lt2$1@smc.vnet.net> <gp5fou$9nr$1@smc.vnet.net>

On Mar 11, 7:21 am, mike.honeychu... at gmail.com wrote:
> On Mar 10, 5:35 am, Sebastian Meznaric <mezna... at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > I don't think Mathematica should replace mathematics. It is an
> > important tool, but very importantly, a commercial closed-source tool.
> > It costs a great deal of money and you do not know what it is doing
> > (although most of the time it gives correct results). Only systems
> > that can be considered to generally replace Mathematics have got to be
> > open source (although I admit I do not use any). If at least the basis
> > of Mathematica was made open-source with paid-for support from Wolfram
> > that would make things a lot better. As it stands, we should not chain
> > people to commercial software.
>
> Other than people who use pencils and paper, or blackboards and
> chalk*, everyone is "chained" to commercial products in their
> workplaces. We need to "free" our minds a bit from the idea that
> software should somehow be an exception to everything else that occurs
> in our workplaces. Or alternatively perhaps someone can explain to me
> why software should be any different to scientific equipment, cars,
> dishwashers... I cannot use an open source mass spectrometer, drive an
> open source car [although GM and Ford are verging on open source :),
> or at least maybe publicly owned soon] etc.

Well, if you come up with a proof of a theorem
which depends on non-trivial Mathematica code
to do non-trivial computations, in what way can
you possibly say that you know how the proof works,
if *you* yourself, the author of the proof, do not
know what Mathematica is really doing? Using
closed-source code simply goes against the very
spirit of open review which is essential to
the scientific endeavor.

There was a recent discussion in this subject
on the AMS Notices, which you can get at
<http://www.ams.org/notices/200710/tx071001279p.pdf>.

-- m


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