Date: Feb 14, 2013 2:09 AM
Author: David Park
Subject: Re: Stephen Wolfram's recent blog
Can we answer here? That's what I'm going to do because it seems the better
venue and I don't have to type into a small box.
This raises a number of questions. What does "freely available" mean? Can we
expect a major change in the business model? And what does Stephen mean by "
the programming language of Mathematica ". Is it everything one types in a
notebook? Or just things that get sent to the kernel? How about things that
get sent to the front end? How about Text cells and Section headers?
The way I feel about it is: "We don't need no stinking programming
language!" Many of the employees at WRI need a programming language but why
do the users need one?
Instead of thinking of writing a computer program, why can't one think of
writing function definitions, equations, specifications (for a graphic or
table say, or for initial data), axioms (as Rules say) and other literate
forms of expression? I like to think of Mathematica as a piece of paper on
which we develop, write, and communicate ideas with a significant
mathematical or computational content.
So how about a name like MagicPaper because the piece of paper has rather
magical qualities, with its computational power, memory and access to a wide
spectrum of information? Or maybe CPR for Computational Paper with
Resources. It really does get to the heart of the matter. Maybe static
"Paper" is not quite right but Windows might annoy the Mac people and
Screens isn't too great. Anyway, paper was used to doodle, try out ideas,
calculate and do symbolic math, and communicate ideas and that's what we
want to catch.
I see people who write in "Mathematica" as ranging from those simply using
it as a graphical calculator, to those writing extensive scholarly works
(which I call Actomes for Active Tomes) that consist of books in the form of
a collection of notebooks, a number of packages with full documentation
(through Workbench unless WRI comes up with something better). These can be
wonderful things because they can act as a vehicle for exchanging ideas and
further development between authors and readers, or among groups of readers.
The other users are readers of such productions.
It doesn't seem quite right to try to isolate the "programming language"
part of this - or even think in the paradigm of programming.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Readers of comp.soft-sys.math.mathematica (MathGroup) might be interested in
the latest blog from Stephen Wolfram.
It raises the question of what to call the programming language of
Mathematica. I will quote from near the end:
"What should the name be? I'm hoping to get feedback on the ideas I've
discussed here, as well as to get new suggestions."
The Comments section has reached 66 as of the time of my writing this note.
And the blog is but a few hours old. Suggestions are solicited.