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[DPRG] Maxima installed on Hal at the "Club House"

Subject: [DPRG] Maxima installed on Hal at the "Club House"
From: William Harold Newman william.newman at airmail.net
Date: Thu Jun 19 11:17:00 CDT 2003

On Thu, Jun 19, 2003 at 09:12:52AM -0700, Kipton Moravec wrote:
> One of the things not recorded as being accomplished at the last RBNO was 
> installing Maxima on the Linux Server.
> http://maxima.sourceforge.net
> What is the big deal?  Maxima is a computer algebra system.  It performs 
> symbolic math.

> Wolfram Research sells Mathematica (pretty much the same program with more 
> bells and whistles) for $1880.00
> Maplesoft sells Maple but does not list the price on the website.

Um, it might not be too much of a stretch to say that Visual C++ is
pretty much the same as GCC with more bells and whistles; but to say
that Visual C++ is the same program as the GNU Ada compiler with more
bells and whistles would stretch my credulity to the breaking point.
(or similarly: "Visual Basic is the pretty much the same program as
Perl with more bells and whistles.") I think your statement is
similar, in that Mathematica, Maple, and Maxima (at least a decade
ago, when I last used Mathematica and Maple, and looked at some of the
Maxima documentation) are implementations of different languages and
libraries. They aim at the same sort of problem space, but their
designs are sufficiently different that the differences sometimes
affect the way you use them to solve a given problem.

(I hope I'm not being unreasonably picky: I thought the distinction
might matter for someone who's just learning about this and trying to
make decisions about what systems to read about and experiment with.)

(And it is very nifty that any one of them is installed, thank you!)

William Harold Newman <william.newman at airmail.net>
Saying that taste is just personal preference is a good way to prevent
disputes. The trouble is, it's not true. You feel this when you start
to design things. -- <http://www.paulgraham.com/taste.html>
PGP key fingerprint 85 CE 1C BA 79 8D 51 8C  B9 25 FB EE E0 C3 E5 7C

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