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Re: Opportunities and Player Pro

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg104508] Re: Opportunities and Player Pro
  • From: AES <siegman at stanford.edu>
  • Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2009 17:59:05 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: Stanford University
  • References: <hcbi0f$jn9$1@smc.vnet.net> <20910958.1256889652954.JavaMail.root@n11> <hcgmus$d0m$1@smc.vnet.net> <hcjiu0$jmi$1@smc.vnet.net>

Some time back, when earlier go-arounds of these discussions were going 
around, I actually carefully read some of the online "licenses" that are 
associated with all these various Players and online demo conversion 
processes and various "home" and academic versions of Mathematica -- all 
the terms to which you are supposedly committing yourself, and in some 
cases, your organization or employer or school (are people actually 
authorized to commit their organizations?)-- including all the links in 
these licenses leading to further stuff that is presumably part of what 
you're committing yourself to.

And I decided:  These people are nuts. ("Looney" was the lovely word 
another Canadian poster used about the same time).

Take the word "academic", for example.  I'm a (retired) academic.  
Suppose I do some engineering-oriented research that's heavily dependent 
on Mathematica calculations (Mathematica can be an incredibly great 
program, at times) and then, as happens, get invited to go to some other 
academic institution, all expenses paid, to talk about it -- and to live 
demo it from Mathematica in my laptop.  That's clearly academic, right?

But suppose -- as happens -- that this invitation also includes a 
(modest, but taxable) honorarium, in addition to expenses.  Still 
academic? (so far as Wolfram is concerned?)  Or partly commercial?

What if -- as happens -- the invitation comes from a conference, with 
lots of nonacademic participants?  Or even a trade show, organized by a 
profit-making professional organization, with mostly nonacademic 
participants.  Still academic?  What if -- as happens -- the invitation 
comes from a large company, that does some research, but is absolutely 
totally commercial?  Am I violating my license for "academic" use?

What if -- as happens -- I subsequently use some of this stuff in a 
modest but definitely commercial consulting assignment?  (A small part 
of my overall use of Mathematica.)  Am I violating the license on my 
academic or home copy of Mathematica, or the license for a demo?

Is Wolfram seriously going to *enforce* these licenses?  (Of course 
not.)  Is Wolfram going to start stuffing its various products with 
booby traps and blockers akin to the madness of the DRM stuff that 
prevails in the media world these days?  If so, that will be a very sad 
day -- and signal the end of  any pretense that "Wolfram" and "academic" 
should be used in the same sentence.

All the above concerns are just part of the reasons that, however great 
a piece of software it may be, I'm not about to build my entire 
professional work flow around Mathematica -- and why I'm going to stay 
very alert for any substitutes or open-source replacements for 
Mathematica.


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