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Re: How to write a "proper" math document

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg120091] Re: How to write a "proper" math document
  • From: AES <siegman at stanford.edu>
  • Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2011 04:52:06 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <201107041044.GAA02461@smc.vnet.net> <iuukk8$epi$1@smc.vnet.net> <iv1aho$smk$1@smc.vnet.net> <iv45e4$eu9$1@smc.vnet.net>

In article <iv45e4$eu9$1 at smc.vnet.net>,
 Richard Fateman <fateman at cs.berkeley.edu> wrote:

> > And then all the immense swarm of freeware, shareware, and low-cost
> > software tools that we all enjoy today.
> 
> You have a somewhat romanticized view of this swarm. 300,000 iphone 
> apps?  How many free computer algebra systems that (apparently) you 
> don't use?  Free and low-cost malware?
> >
> While I agree that Mathematica could be improved, I think it is pretty 
> speculative to say that it would be better if  Mathematica were free and 
> open source. I'm in favor of paying programmers and mathematicians.  I 
> doubt that you get the best results from students who have to deliver 
> pizzas in the evenings to pay their rent.

As just a brief response to this and some of what preceded it:

I'm thinking of more or less serious, general purpose, and reasonably 
low-cost or free software and computational tools, suitable for 
intellectual, scholarly, or artistic pursuits, not iphone tools (which 
I'm not knocking, just not interested in). 
  
My Mac is full of them -- things like BBEdit, Bean, Bento, Bookdog, 
DoubleTake, DragThing, EasyFind, EndNote, Excalibur, Fetch, File Juicer, 
GraphicConverter, Google Earth, and so on down through the rest of the 
alphabet (e.g., Patent Download, PDF Shrink, Print Window, Pronto 
Patent).  BASIC (a university development, if I recall) would once have 
headed that list.

I'm particularly thinking of software tools which would provide some 
limited but still useful combination of computer algebra, numerical 
computation, and graphics -- "Mathematica Light", so to speak.

As for paying programmers and mathematicians, that's one of the things 
that universities have always done and to some extent continue to do, 
along with national labs, national academies in some countries, 
'Stiftungs' like Max Planck, and so on -- not as much as we'd like, of 
course, or as much as we (the US) should do -- and Bell Labs, Xerox 
PARC, and others once upon a time.


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