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Re: Mathematica and some General Comments

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  • Subject: [mg97432] Re: Mathematica and some General Comments
  • From: mike.honeychurch at
  • Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2009 04:49:26 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <goqphr$lt2$> <gp5fou$9nr$>

On Mar 12, 2:14 am, peter <plindsa... at> wrote:
> Its the danger of being "locked-in" to a product that people are concerned
> about. Changing chalk brand isn't going to ruin your Maths day, unless the
> chalk is rubbish of course. One can imagine there is some risk to getting
> locked-in to Mathematica or any other proprietary brand competitor.

thats a fair point but no one forces you to buy mathematica. If being
locked in is that much of a concern you have other options other than
purchasing Mathematica in the first place. On a more general note
being locked in, or symbiotic type relationships, are a fact of life.
Car part makers are locked in to the car industry. They may be the
best run businesses in the country but if Ford/GM go bust so do they.
I realize that's a bit of a digression but the point being that
totally relying on something or someone is relatively common. At least
with computer algebra you make the conscious choice from the outset
whether to choose commercial or open source but having made that
choice you shouldn't expect the commercial company to change their
business model.

> with C++, Fortran etc you can get so dependent on proprietary libraries,
> which may be "black-boxes", that you'd be struggling to cope if you had to
> change brand ?

...and I would imagine that to most people who write their own code a
compiler is a black box. At some level most, if not all, of us use
things that are opaque to us.

> 2009/3/11 <mike.honeychu... at>
> > On Mar 10, 5:35 am, Sebastian Meznaric <mezna... at> 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.
> > Mike
> > *these are also commercial products of course
> --
> Peter Lindsay

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