[Maxima] Making Maxima be Mathematica compatible...

Richard Fateman fateman@cs.berkeley.edu
Mon, 09 Dec 2002 17:08:04 -0800

There was a letter from a lawyer in the employ
of Wolfram, suggesting that WRI owned the commands
of Mathematica.
  I wrote back saying that MockMMA had thousands of
"commands" since any common lisp function was accessible.
If WRI owns If, Sin, Cos, ... then they would have a
tough time defending that in a court with Macsyma, Maple,
etc in evidence.
  After letter 2, I consulted with the university counsel's
office; the lawyer there said "don't write any more letters"
and if WRI doesn't do anything for 2 years, they will have
conceded that you work is not a problem.  That's what
happened.  The only concession I made was to change the
name from MockMathematica  to MockMMA.
(The name Mathematica is actually very common, and appears
in many journal titles, for example.)

If IBM treated Fortran the same as WRI apparently wanted
to treat Mathematica,
there would be only IBM Fortran compilers.


seberino@spawar.navy.mil wrote:
> Richard
> I noticed on one of your web pages that you mentioned
> Wolfram previously was not too happy with a Mathematica
> like parser.  You seemed to imply he eventually lightened
> up.
> I've done a /little/ investigation of the legalities of
> compatible software interfaces and it seems like
> they are legal.... we are not copying Mathematica
> source code but working with completely independent
> code that just happens to be compatible.
> The evidence this is OK is that Octave did Matlab
> compatibility and the world did not end.  Also,
> you did MockMMA and you are still alive and didn't
> get sued into homelessness.
> Nevertheless, I'm very interested in the details of
> your friction with Wolfram for obvious reasons.  Please
> elaborate on exactly what were their concerns and how
> they tried to discourage you to pursue MockMMA, etc.
> Chris
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