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Re: Future for Mathematica on Solaris

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  • Subject: [mg99883] Re: Future for Mathematica on Solaris
  • From: "Dr. David Kirkby" <david.kirkby at>
  • Date: Mon, 18 May 2009 02:31:43 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <gugauu$epe$>

Peter Orion wrote:
> I was interested in purchasing a copy of Mathematica for Solaris, but
> have seen various things on the net suggesting the Solaris (and to a
> lesser extent linux) versions are more buggy than the Windows version.
> Looking on the Wolfram web site where one can request a trial
> I find one can't request a trail on Solaris from the web site.
> So I  contacted Wolfram Research directly by email and asked about a
> 14-day save-disabled trail. I received a reply in a couple of days,
> telling me no trial version of Mathematica exists for Solaris.
> Given the Solaris version is more expensive than the windows one,
> there are various reports of bugs on Solaris, and one can't even get a
> trail version, it does beg the question whether Wolfram Research are
> serious about the future of Mathematica on Solaris.
> Peter

Was this for SPARC or x86?

When I was a lot younger, Sun were pretty much the defacto standard in 
scientific computing. But now the SPARC processors are simply not up to 
the speed of the Intel/AMD CPUs. Sun SPARC systems have their strengths, 
but I don't think it is in scientific computing like it used to be.

So it would not surprise me if there was not a long term commitment to 
Mathematica on SPARC and perhaps Wolfram decision not to make a trial 
available is a result of that.

I see Solaris x86 as having a bright future. It's much more stable than 
Linux (stable in the sense that not there are not n-million 
distributions all a bit different.) It is also very fast and growing in 
user base now it is open-source.

1) Mathematica on Solaris x86 does not support Intel processors - only AMD
2) Intel processors are more common than AMD ones
3) A fix to Mathematica to allow it to run on Intel processors is quite 
easy (just replace a couple of libraries from those supplied by WRI to 
those supplied by Sun)

I am somewhat surprised Wolfram have not made more effort for Solaris 
x86. So perhaps Solaris support will be dropped, like HP-UX support was 
recently dropped.

Having seem various talks from WRI staff, its clear that almost all 
their staff's usage is on Windows. Unless more effort is made to get 
their staff to regularly use other platforms, bugs are far more likely 
to be found internally on Windows than on those other platforms. Hence 
users of the rarer platforms are more likely to encounter bugs. (That's 
my theory anyway - it might be completely wrong).

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