[Maxima] New Maxima
l.butler at ed.ac.uk
Wed Oct 29 07:17:10 CDT 2008
On Tue, 28 Oct 2008, iga Lenari wrote:
< The user spends most of the time figuring out strange maxima's quirks
< and inconsistencies, functions with strange names. Most potential
< users don't want to deal with downloading maxima and it's gui
< wxmaxima separately. The command line maxima makes the user feel like
< it's some ancient DOS program and inherently inferior to Mathematica
< or any other CAS. Until Maxima isn't packaged into one application
< with a proper gui and proper help it won't get any use from anyone
< but the most hardcore geeks and old strange mathematical profesors.
< Implementing a proper help, gui and consistent functions with
< noncryptic names is much more inportant than implementing new
< functions for some obscure mathematical uses and fixing some special
< buggy integral. That's the truth.
I am part of a team of 3 which teaches a maple, latex and mathematics
course at the 3rd year level here in Edinburgh. Every year, students
find that maple documentation is difficult to grasp, maple syntax is awkward,
and maple function names are obscure. What do these complaints reveal
about the software vs. the user?
Actually, I have found maxima rather straightforward to pick up. I
recently had the occasion to translate some code into maxima. From a
standing start, I was able to do this in a couple hours. Ted Woollett
has done some very nice work putting the maxima documentation into a
sequence of self-tutorials, which made my work much easier. Ted also has
written some very nice things about why he has contributed to free
software. These are well-worth reading.
Concerning a gui, I would suggest that a gui is essentially a peacock's tail.
It consumes a large amount of resources and is largely devoted to
advertising. I think that you agree with this assessment and
think it a positive thing. If so, I hope that you will get involved in
developing a better gui. But please don't feel obligated to disparage
the hard work and dedication of others who are working on other aspects
A maxima user
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