This post is more about a personal opinion.
Most of the followers of my blog know that I’m a devote Linux user, and that I prefer Open Source than any other software.
It is clear than most business people prefer to spend money for a piece of software which get the job done. And additionally, developers will align with the mainstream vendor… or in some cases, money convince them.
The last to months I’ve been working in some supergravity theory, and you might imagine that even a easy calculation is messy… at least, and will take a huge amount of time to complete.
On the other hand Mathematica offers a huge (really huge) toolkit for mathematicians, physicists, economists, and so on. I admit it… I sort of hate to use Mathematica, really do!, but although we all know is amazing as a toolkit.
Nonetheless, most scientist (specially those who grow up using this kind of software), trust the results as if it was not possible to be wrong!!! But if you look further…. there is a book, as enormous as Mathematica user’s guide, of bugs :-S
A year ago one of my office mate found two bugs: one in an integration routine, and another in a loop routine!!!! A LOOP ROUTINE… Do you know someone who has never used a loop routine? How many possible errors have been publish and propagated?! Moreover, I found a bug myself… in the plot function 😐
Since then I use SAGE… or Python, so I’ve spent a lot of time learning, developing and proving routines, asking in the help channels and so on!
I know that this alternatives are far away from Mathematica or Maple or whatever your favourite calculation software is… but imagine!
Today I found a Mathematica package for computing GR tensors, you can use differential forms, first order formalism, redefine quantities in term of vielbeins, write equations using differential forms (with Hodge star and so on)… Incredible! Isn’t it?
Who develop this package? It was not Wolfram!!!! If I were the developer of this marvelous package, I’d prefer to kill myself before writing such a thing for a product which is not available for everyone. Exaggeration?! yes, may be… but I’m citizen of a wealth country, full of poor people. Yes, I also know that any pirate page has a cracked copy of Mathematica… but why should I crack a program?
I don’t want to crack Mathematica… I want an open source software which do as Mathematica. Sorry, I correct: I want an open source software which do BETTER than Mathematica.
My bet is on SAGE, and that’s why I’m willing to contribute with this project.
Live wide and prosper! Enjoy!