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Re: Re: Journals dying?, apparently rather slowly (was ,

I have Adobe Acrobat Professional and my experience is that using it to
convert Mathematica notebooks to PDF documents produces far superior results
than the various free converters. The resulting PDF files are much smaller
and the graphics and print quality are far higher. I tried the one that is
built into Mathematica, I've seen the results of the one used by The
Mathematica Journal, and I've seen the results of the one that comes with
the Mac operating system. None of them were anywhere near as good. Maybe
there is something that works as well, but I haven't seen it.

For me, the free Mathematica Player is too restricted (I think it only
displays Manipulate statement results, and can't use user supplied
packages.) and convoluted to be useful. The Mathematica PlayerPro is along
the lines of what I would like to see but I'm not going to convince many
people, probably no people, to pay $200 to read one of my notebooks. It
would be nice if it were free.

Let's face it, the audience for a Mathematica player is much smaller than
for a PDF reader. It probably wouldn't be on every computer - at least not
at first. And the technical feat of being able to play an active, dynamic
Mathematica notebook is much greater.

WRI is also worried about hacking, but it only has to be less hackable than
what Wolfram|Alpha allows one to get from Mathematica.

Let's cross our fingers and see what WRI does and hope there aren't too many

David Park
djmpark at  

From: Peltio [mailto:peltio at] 

Nasser M. Abbasi wrote :

> This is what WRI should do: make the player support all Mathematica 
> functions, and make arrangements with PC makers to have it in each PC and 
> also fill the shopping malls and the post officies with CD's that have the

> player in it (like they did with AOL many years ago). in few years, the 
> Mathematica player will be just as widespreadly used as PDF reader is

I am afraid it would not be enough.
The reason the pdf format is so widespread is that everyone can create 
a pdf file without having to buy Adobe Acrobat. Every word processor 
let you save your work to pdf. You can even install 'pdf printer 
drivers' that let you save in pdf whatever you want. same story for 
another ubiquitous format: .doc.
This is the reason many people also want a pdf reader on their machine. 
PDF reader that has not to be necessarily that supplied by Adobe. There 
are plenty of third party reader out there, many of them light and 
protable (i.e. do not require installation and do not clutter your hard 

The problem (I perceive) with the Mathematica format is that:

 1. It requires Mathematica (big and, for companies, expensive) to 
create the content.
 2. It requires the Mathematica Player to read the content. And the 
Player itself is not very light (because it does a lot more than simply 
displaying files).
 3. Only WRI can supply those programs. There are no third party 

I do not see how .NB could become as widespread as .PDF unless there is 
a virtually free way to produce (static) mathematica documents without 
having to buy Mathematica.
This does not mean that WRI has to give Mathematica away from free 
(even if it has gone a long way by creating the Home License). It might 
want to go back to the Mathematica READER and, instead of expanding it 
in order to PLAY .nbp file, they could allow it to WRITE .nb files.
Making it a free, possibly light and portable, word processor for math 
and science.

The offer will than see:
 A light and portable Mathematica Reader/Writer, to write and read 
static nb.
 Mathematica, that has the computation engine to run input cells and 
producing output, plus producing simulations in the .nbp format.
 Mathematica Player to run the simulation created with Mathematica.

I believe that this apparently insane giveaway will let WRI become the 
makers of
> the main tool of exchanging scientific and mathematical 
> notes between scientists, engineers and students.

And since they would also be the maker of the only tool that can 
'evaluate' the content of the notes, it will only do good to their 


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