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Putting the Wolfram Language (and Mathematica) On Every Raspberry Pi

timothy posted 1 year,27 days | from the so-good-it's-named-after-two-animals dept.

Programming 99

An anonymous reader writes "Working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, effective immediately, there's a pilot release of the Wolfram Language — as well as Mathematica—that will soon be bundled as part of the standard system software for every Raspberry Pi computer. Quite soon the Wolfram Language is going to start showing up in lots of places, notably on the web and in the cloud."

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Blatant Shill (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486071)

Quite soon the Wolfram Language is going to start showing up in lots of places, notably on the web and in the cloud

lol no. It's far more likely that this language will be ignored by practically everyone. Remember Arc?

Re:Blatant Shill (1)

mmell (832646) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486361)

No. What's Arc?

(too lazy to google it)

Re:Blatant Shill (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488189)

No. What's Arc?

It is a Lisp dialect [paulgraham.com] that nobody uses.

Re: Blatant Shill (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45488247)

Remember every/any dialect of Lisp?

I do, because I used to work with this one asshole who wouldn't shut up about them.

"You know, HN is written in [some Lisp derivative]."

"...Yep."

Re: Blatant Shill (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45488395)

With that kind of attitude, no wonder engineering quality has taken a nosedive in the Western world over the last couple of decades.

Yeah lol fuck doze nerds bro XD reading is for faggots *bro fist*

Re: Blatant Shill (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#45489879)

Domyou realize that the "good days" of engineering you are probably refereing happened when almos nobody used a computer?

Re:Blatant Shill (1)

Yold (473518) | 1 year,26 days | (#45489699)

Woah, can't believe anyone else knows about Arc. I was one of the unfortunate few that had to use it for a regression class in college. The language is used in the textbook Applied Regression including Computing Graphics. Since the professor also wrote the textbook and Arc has strong ties to my alma mater, I figured they just had blinders on since the rest of the statistics world was already using R.

If you are interested in trying this (awful) software out for yourself, it is available for download here http://www.stat.umn.edu/arc/software.html [umn.edu] .

Re:Blatant Shill (1)

lee1 (219161) | 1 year,26 days | (#45495871)

That's an unrelated "arc".

Re:Blatant Shill (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#45497123)

That's a different Arc

Re:Blatant Shill (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486933)

Only reason anyone is paying any attention at all is due to the source.

But yeah, I think this is going to flop. The weird cynasism-less posts about it from a crowd that's cynical of everything is kinda unnerving for sure though.

bloat? (2)

Bootsy (33005) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486129)

Why? I'm sure it's great, but...

Re:bloat? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486171)

Wolfram = English guy associated with english computing
Raspberry Pi = english project designed to teach children computing
Wolfram + Rasberry Pi = vehicle for english technology sector growth

Re:bloat? (0)

Neuroelectronic (643221) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486495)

You forgot that Rasberry Pi uses TrustZone technology, so it's not just about growing the tech sector, it's also about extending control.

Re:bloat? (5, Informative)

ebenupton (2424660) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486903)

Actually, we discard the AxPROT AXI signals as they leave the ARM complex, so it's not possible to distinguish between trusted and untrusted transactions at the memory controller. BCM2835 is actually one of the few ARM APs *not* to use TrustZone technology.

Re:bloat? (1)

Neuroelectronic (643221) | 1 year,26 days | (#45496891)

>at the memory controller.

Of course, this is disregarding everything else about the TZ stack..

Re:bloat? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486569)

The British Empire is long dead. Raspberry Pi and Wolfram Arsehole will not save it now.

Re:bloat? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45488575)

The British Empire is long dead.

Not entirely, its former colonies still uses the imperial units.

Re:bloat? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45489093)

No, they use units which are named like the imperial units, but slightly differ in size.

Re:bloat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#45489839)

That tends to happen when you use your body parts to measure stuff. How did Abraham Lincoln compare to king George?

Re:bloat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#45492237)

No, its former colony uses units that are quite a bit older than the imperial units (which date from the 1820s).

Britain tried to apply some base-10 multiples to the pre-existing units in an attempt to create a system more like the metric system, but in a very half-baked way. So the gallon was set to the volume of 10 pounds of water (the older gallon used for liquid* measure in the US is about 8.3 lbs), but they didn't want to give up the approximate correspondence of 1 fl oz of water weighing about 1 oz, so the fluid ounce was only changed slightly (so that their new pint would still be an integral number of ounces. So now the British pint is 20 slightly different ounces than the 16-oz US pint (liquid). The old expression "the pint's a pound the world 'round" thus no longer holds (and British visitors feel cheated when they order a pint of beer in the US).

* why, yes, we do have a (similarly older than the British imperial system) separate set of gallon/quart/pint measurements for dry goods. Only the bushel, quart, and pint are commonly used in the dry system. So a pint of strawberries is a different pint from a pint of beer. Both of which are different from an imperial pint.

Re:bloat? (0)

Garridan (597129) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486413)

I just bought a laptop. It had windows on it. It no longer has windows on it. Actually... in 25 years, I've never bought a computer and used the pre-installed OS longer than a day.

Web AND Cloud? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486133)

Isn't the web a "cloud" in of itself?

Re:Web AND Cloud? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486189)

Isn't the web a "cloud" in of itself?

No, it is not.

Re:Web AND Cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486247)

How so?

Re:Web AND Cloud? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486291)

You see, one is hosted on someone else's server (or yours, should you so choose), whereas the other is hosted on someone else's server (or yours, should you so choose).

Re: Web AND Cloud? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45488255)

The cloud refers to your data on somebody else's server. The Web refers to the global network of computers running HTTP or some shit like that (I know it's different from the Internet somehow!).

Ever notice how fucking exhausting it is to even type "the cloud"?

Re:Web AND Cloud? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45489139)

Because the defining property of a cloud is that it doesn't run on a specific machine, but transparently on a whole cluster of machines. Some web sites certainly fit that definition, but it's in no way an universal property of the web.

Re:Web AND Cloud? (2)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486677)

Isn't the web a "cloud" in of itself?

More like a layer of smog...

Re:Web AND Cloud? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | 1 year,27 days | (#45489021)

The web is a kind of cloud, a limited subset of what cloud computing can do, but useful to mention specifically since so many peope are familiar with it.

Why not just release it for the home users too? (3, Interesting)

RocketRabbit (830691) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486153)

Why not just release Mathematica for the home users too? There are hundreds of millions of potential users out there who would love to have Mathematica for non-commercial use on their home computers. It would benefit Wolfram tremendously to have such a huge user base that knows his software, instead of just a fraction of anoraks that happen to work in universities or as engineers.

If it's the full Mathematica on Pi, though, I'd probably have to buy one just for that. The home version is several hundred bucks, which is too much for something that I'd just be puttering around with.

Re:Why not just release it for the home users too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486165)

It would benefit Wolfram tremendously to have such a huge user base that knows his software, instead of just a fraction of anoraks that happen to work in universities or as engineers.

How would it benefit him exactly?

Re:Why not just release it for the home users too? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45487115)

Well, Stephen Wolfram, it would benefit you in the following way: suppose that children learned your language in their most formative years, they would naturally want to continue using it when they entered the workforce. Your license would be permissive for home use and restrictive for commercial use. Now, every company will be required to use Wolphram language or none of the adults trained in your language since childhood would work there. Then you sue any company that doesn't buy a license from you since they are obviously using it in violation of the license. You'll be a trillionaire!

Re:Why not just release it for the home users too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45489247)

And this is how the British Empire was built! We built schools where we taught English. Simples.

Re: Why not just release it for the home users too (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45487073)

You are full of crap. Home edition existed for last 3-4 years if not longer. $300 from your pocket, all it takes.

Re: Why not just release it for the home users too (2)

geminidomino (614729) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488241)

Which is exactly what he said, so how is that full of crap? $300 is too much for something he'd just putter around with.

That's a bold claim. (4, Informative)

dmomo (256005) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486167)

Raspberry Pi comes with no operating system. There are a number of Linux builds, including the recommended Debian build, which could be made to include the free Raspberry Pi version of the Wolfram Language and Mathmatica. To claim "every Raspberry Pi" is a bit hyperbolic.

Re:That's a bold claim. (4, Informative)

Fwipp (1473271) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486201)

Looks like you're right. A few links deep found this: "Today, at the CBM education summit in New York, we announced a partnership with Wolfram Research to bundle a free copy of Mathematica and the Wolfram Language into future Raspbian images."

Re:That's a bold claim. (2)

wiredlogic (135348) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486597)

That will allow desktop users to have a ghetto Mathematica by running Raspbian in a VM.

Re:That's a bold claim. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | 1 year,27 days | (#45487273)

You'd be much better off just buying a Raspberry Pi and connecting to it remotely from your desktop. Emulating an ARM processor on your desktop (most likely x86) would be many times slower than just running it on the Pi directly.

Re:That's a bold claim. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488283)

How much does ARM emulation on x86 suck these days? I wasn't able to dig up much in the way of hard benchmarks; but this [aurel32.net] not-especially-recent page, describing QEMU ARM emulation (I'd assume that being adopted as the Android SDK's ARM emulator likely led to some improvements being made; since 2008; but don't know), says that an Athlon 64 X2 3800+ is about 20 percent faster than an NSLU2 (266MHz Xscale).

Given that the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ is a relative antique, and the Pi is only a 700MHz ARM core of not particularly new design, a contemporary system might actually emulate the rPi faster than the real thing, with the added bonus of being able to emulate more RAM than the real boards ship with, and likely faster mass storage.

Power efficient, this strategy would not be; but fast, it just might.

Real Pi is faster (0)

Sits (117492) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488495)

I was about dispute an earlier post but then ran

time factor 18014398777917439

on both a real Pi and a whole machine Qemu pi on a 2.5Ghz Intel machine. The real Pi was 3-4 seconds faster. A Qemu Pi may be faster if you didn't emulate the whole machine and just translated the binary though...

Re:Real Pi is faster (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45488611)

The real Pi was 3-4 seconds faster

This is a completely meaningless number, unless you tell us what one of the total times is.

Re:Real Pi is faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45489379)

204

Re:Real Pi is faster (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,27 days | (#45489645)

Interesting. I guess I've been really spoiled by how fast "emulation" is when it's really a fairly mature solution for shoveling as many x86 operations straight to the host CPU, unaltered, as is architecturally possible...

I don't think that I would have expected emulation to match one of the actually-competitive top of range ARM SoCs; but I figured that a comparatively antique ARM11 part might be within shooting range.

Re:Real Pi is faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#45496093)

time factor 18014398777917439
18014398777917439: 18014398777917439

real 0m0.025s
user 0m0.010s
sys 0m0.000s

Running on a binfmt_misc chroot into a gentoo installation that I compile on my intel i7 workstation but then deploy to a raspberry pi.

For comparison without the chroot

time factor 18014398777917439
18014398777917439: 18014398777917439

real 0m0.001s
user 0m0.000s
sys 0m0.000s

Re:That's a bold claim. (1)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488243)

Unfortunately, Raspbian does _not_ come bundled with the Raspberry Pi, for the simple reason that the RPi comes without memory card. You are also completely free to use something else than Raspbian.

Re:That's a bold claim. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486329)

From personal communication with him I can say Stephen Wolfram is all about making money. There is no need for a commercial language, no one cares. If a student license costs 500 dollars or more, people rather use R (a really shitty language, but on par with mathematica) or fight their way with python.

Re:That's a bold claim. (1)

ZankerH (1401751) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486567)

In my experience with university mathematics and engineering departments, students, TAs and anyone who can get away with it use pirated copies. For analytical maths, there's just nothing better than Mathematica.

Re:That's a bold claim. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45487013)

Most of the brighter ones gave up on that years ago, as nearly every decent sized university has computer equipment you can remotely log into and use all of their site licensed and other software. Unless you have internet connection problems, might as well freely use the software that is maintained and updated regularly than fuss with getting pirated software to work, even if that amounts to less than a day of screwing around.

Re:That's a bold claim. (2)

basecastula (2556196) | 1 year,27 days | (#45487741)

... might as well freely use the software that is maintained and updated regularly than fuss with getting pirated software to work, even if that amounts to less than a day of screwing around.

It is actually really easy, Run the linux install script, then run the key generator that has worked for previous version. Enter key and you are done.

Re:That's a bold claim. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45488671)

There's little point in pirating, if you actually expect to use Mathematica more than for couple weeks. In my opinion it is one of the rare pieces of software worth its' price - at least with student and home licensing price point. Also, if one wants to become a Mathematica power user, expense of a license is probably least of your worries. Expense in time learning to use system in truly expressive ways is measured in man-months to man-years - I've used Mathematica since 1995, and I still find new ways it can help me, and ways that I can use it better to express my ideas and problems.

Re:That's a bold claim. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#45492133)

If Wolfram was smart, he'd sell licenses to institutions only, give Mathematica away for free to home users (=installed on private, home machines), and sell educational, perhaps even entertaining books about Mathematica and how to use it to the home users.

There is also a need for an application similar to Alpha, but more like a gigantic, well-sorted list of problems + solutions to all kinds of everyday and textbook problems, i.e. the kind of thing that mathematics and physics teachers really hate. How long does the ball fly if I throw it such and such, determine the height of the building from the shadow, how much force does it take to throw a baseball to the moon (taking into account air resistance, too), and so on. Each type of problem should come with a little graphic, a desciption, optional more detailed explanation, and a built-in solver (including, perhaps, an explanation of the steps). Make it run on phones.

Re:That's a bold claim. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486341)

But if you go to the Raspberry Pi site there certainly are sets of "standard system software." So it's very possible it's not "hyperbolic" at all, maybe your interpretation of the statement is just extreme.*
 
* I know, I know... Slashdotters are never extreme in their interpretation of anything... sorry, my bad.

Re:That's a bold claim. (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486601)

maybe your interpretation of the statement is just extreme.

There is only one possible accurate interpretation of "every". That is the problem with using absolutes like "every". If they had said "many" or "most" then interpretation could be an issue.

Re:That's a bold claim. (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486875)

Every Raspi can run Raspbian at no extra cost. Splitting hairs much ?

Re:That's a bold claim. (0)

jklovanc (1603149) | 1 year,27 days | (#45487001)

Every Raspi can also run a build that does not have Wolfram or Mathematica. There is a difference between "can" and "is".

Re:That's a bold claim. (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | 1 year,27 days | (#45487223)

Every Raspi can also run a build that does not have Wolfram or Mathematica. There is a difference between "can" and "is".

Yes, and neither TFA nor TFS claim "is". Beyond "is a part of the standard bundle", which will be true soon.

Re:That's a bold claim. (0)

jklovanc (1603149) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488025)

It it necessary to install a standard bundle on every new Raspberry Pi? No. Therefore it is possible to get e new Raspberry Pi and never have the mentioned packages on it. Therefore the "every" is inaccurate.

Re:That's a bold claim. (1)

dmomo (256005) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486865)

There's only one way to interpret "every" as far as I know. Sorry for wanting more accuracy in the articles I read.

Re: That's a bold claim. (1)

mspohr (589790) | 1 year,27 days | (#45487709)

TFA States it will be bundled as part of the standard operating system for the Raspberry Pi. It doesn't state it will be on every Pi.
basic reading comprehension.

Re: That's a bold claim. (1)

vikingpower (768921) | 1 year,27 days | (#45489543)

There is no such fucking thing as a "standard operating system for the Raspberry Pi". That is fucking nonsense, as is all of TFA.

Re: That's a bold claim. (1)

mspohr (589790) | 1 year,26 days | (#45492319)

Oh dear.
You do seem to have "issues".
Have you talked to your therapist?
Why do you fear Wolfram?
Has Mathematica intimidated you?
Are you afraid that Wolfram will take over your life?
Wolfram Mathematica and the Wolfram language will be included in the Raspbian distribution. Raspbian is the standard recommended distribution that most people install. There are other OS distributions, of course, such as XBMC for specialized uses.

Dancing on the heads of pins. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#45489767)

You fucking lot sound like medieval theologians, debating how many angels, etc....

Agreed, the Pi doesn't "bundle" an OS and you're free to implement or install whatever OS you desire. But if you're not using it as a cheapo media server, then you'll most likely have installed the latest version of Raspbian on your memory card, either as the solo image or through the "Noob" installer, and the Raspbian image now includes Mathemarica/Wolfram. I should imagine that the semanticist in your crabby little soul will continue to insist that Mathematica/Wolfram is "bundled" with Raspbian and not the Pi but seeing as Raspbian is running on a Pi, and not anything else, then its just as valid to say its bundled on the Pi.

What IS it with the Slashdot crowd? The mere mention of the Raspberry Pi brings out the various anti-zealots in force, foaming at the mouth with cries of "shill", "Stinky Broadcomm" and "binary blob", ever eager to point out that "it isn't open at all" and that you can get a better SBC for little more than two or three times the price of the Pi. Don't you plonkers just buy whatever they need to get the job done, or does it have to tick all your ideological boxes too, even if you don't actually require access to feature X?

Oh well, they've managed to flog 2 million of the little beasties, so they must be doing SOMETHING right!

Why not just release it for the home users too? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486169)

Why not just release Mathematica for the home users too? There are hundreds of millions of potential users out there who would love to have Mathematica for non-commercial use on their home computers. It would benefit Wolfram tremendously to have such a huge user base that knows his software, instead of just a fraction of anoraks that happen to work in universities or as engineers.

If it's the full Mathematica on Pi, though, I'd probably have to buy one just for that. The home version is several hundred bucks, which is too much for something that I'd just be puttering around with.

Re:Why not just release it for the home users too? (1)

Desler (1608317) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486203)

Yes we know. You already posted this.

Re:Why not just release it for the home users too? (4, Funny)

jones_supa (887896) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486543)

He just wanted a larger user base for his comment by widely distributing it non-commercially.

Sample code (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486243)

ego() ^ ego() ^ ego()

Re:Sample code (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486309)

Beginner's mistake --- you need square brackets for function calls. And Wolfram's ego is far too large to fit on a single line of sample code.

Clap for the Wolfram! (1)

theodp (442580) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486429)

Young Steve Jobs Could"ve Used This (2)

theodp (442580) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486619)

STEVE JOBS: A FEW MEMORIES [wolframalpha.com] As Mathematica was being developed, we showed it to Steve Jobs quite often. He always claimed he didn"t understand the math of it (though I later learned from a good friend of mine who had known Steve in high school that Steve had definitely taken at least one calculus course). But he made all sorts of make it simpler" suggestions about the interface and the documentation.

pathetic (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486453)

Wolfram is so desperate to make his abortion of a programming language be popular that he needs to borrow from the trendiness of the Raspberry Pi.

Or, free Mathematica with $35 purchase of a Pi* (2)

strredwolf (532) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486467)

An offer of over $300 in value! Get yours now!

* Based on purchase of a Model B from direct authorized sellers. Does not include shipping or purchase at authorized resellers. Must be run from a Raspbery Pi computer board. Storage, display, keyboard, mouse, and power supply not included. Model A does not include Ethernet.

DWIM instruction finally implemented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486475)

I've only been waiting 20 years for someone to finally get 'round to implementing DWIM. It's a remarkably powerful machine instruction, but sadly missing from every single language thus far...

tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (5, Insightful)

Qubit (100461) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486487)

Just in case you thought things might have changed:

As with Wolfram|Alpha on the web, the Wolfram Language (and Mathematica) on the Raspberry Pi are going to be free for anyone to use for personal purposes. (There’s also going to be a licensing mechanism for commercial uses, other Linux ARM systems, and so on.)

I give the RaspberryPi folks credit for making amazing and fun toy for children (that turns out to actually be a quite powerful and useful system for all ages, but shhhh, don't tell the kids! :-). I dearly wish that more of the RaspberryPI system could be Open Hardware [wikipedia.org] , and love the fact that schoolchildren are getting their hands on their own computer that runs FOSS that they can program and tinker with and invent and dream.

But I dearly hope that the Foundation folks say "Thanks but no thanks" to this offer of crippleware. The platform should remain open to all, and putting something like this in a default install will perpetuate a system of haves and have-nots. If Wolfram wants to market this independently, then that is their perogative, but educational tools given to kids should be reuse- and remix-friendly.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45486683)

I hope the Foundation folks say "Thank you, much appreciated", and let the kids decide.

If the kids hate on Wolfram like all the geezers posting here abouts, I'm sure they will re-implement it FOSS style with bells on.
Gotta leave them something worthwhile to work on, don't you think.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (3, Insightful)

ebenupton (2424660) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486949)

I hope the Foundation folks say "Thank you, much appreciated", and let the kids decide.

That was pretty much what I spent the day saying. Atmosphere among the educators in the room when Conrad announced it this morning was pretty electric. If people don't like the fact that it's only free as in beer, there's always Sage.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

Qubit (100461) | 1 year,26 days | (#45498253)

I hope the Foundation folks say "Thank you, much appreciated", and let the kids decide.

That was pretty much what I spent the day saying.

Educators the world over have often decided to insulate and protect children from the gamut of choices available to them in the Real World(tm). I don't always agree with the extent to which we "protect" children, especially as they grow older and feel very limited by society's restrictions, but I believe some amount of guidance can be helpful.

Letting the children decide between Mathematica and alternatives sounds amazing to me, and I'm very appreciative that you proposed the idea.

Atmosphere among the educators in the room when Conrad announced it this morning was pretty electric.

What do these educators think about Sage and other alternatives to Mathematica? Do you think these educators are famiilar enough with the Pi system, Mathematica, and mathematics software alternatives such that they can explain the differences and pros/cons to their young charges?

If people don't like the fact that it's only free as in beer, there's always Sage.

Yes, there is Sage, but while Mathematica's efforts got a big boost with front page billing [raspberrypi.org] , I see nary an article about Sage Math [sagemath.org] on the RaspberryPi blog. Whereas you just "announced a partnership with Wolfram Research to bundle a free copy of Mathematica and the Wolfram Language into future Raspbian images" (the officially-built/recommended OS), I believe that Sage has never been included in these images.

If you do want to give schoolchildren a choice between the two of them, why not start by writing an article about Sage and putting it in the default install as well? Unlike Mathematica, children will be able to download and run Sage easily and for no fee on any Win/Mac/Linux computer accessible to them, which will allow them to start projects on the Pi and move to beefier hardware later, or start a project on a school computer and bring it home to their Pi.

If children are able to make an informed choice between Mathematica and Sage (or other alternatives), then I support their opportunity to do so. Computers and the software that lives upon them should be given to children to explore, investigate, break, and repair. To truly give our future generations an opportunity to see the beauty of hardware and code I believe we should allow them to tweak and fiddle with the frobs inside these complex systems. A closed-source package like Mathematica curtails the possibility of investigation and dampens the fires of curiosity and innovation that can be seen in children everywhere.

Give children a choice? Certainly. But make sure that our educators can provide our students with exploration limited only by one's own imagination.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

femtobyte (710429) | 1 year,27 days | (#45487069)

Are kids always paragons of making thoughtful, long-term philosophical decisions? Give a kid something that, *today,* is free (as in beer) and easy to use, and they might not carefully balance the long-term repercussions of tying themselves to an incredibly expensive and proprietarily locked-down solution (instead of devoting their effort to getting over the learning curve of something far more valuable in the future). Part of an educational product/effort should be educating kids --- guiding them towards better choices, like embracing Freedom, than they'd make if fed only commercial propaganda from corporate "benefactors."

Do you also recommend, for good educational practice, that parents pack their kids' lunchbox to give them the choice of an apple or high-purity cocaine for a healthy snack, and "let the kids decide"?

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45487427)

Part of an educational product/effort should be educating kids --- guiding them towards better choices, like embracing Freedom, than they'd make if fed only commercial propaganda from corporate "benefactors."

So you're just replacing one "propaganda" with your own. There's something very newspeak-like about claiming to have them embrace freedom when the "freedom" is to only chose what you want.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

femtobyte (710429) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488219)

If you consider the "software freedoms" of the Free Software movement to be entirely void of meaning, then that philosophical stance would seem just "new speak." Why do you think Free Software [fsf.org] (as in Speech) does not provide real freedom not found in proprietary lock-in to free (temporarily, at least) as in beer? Do you not think that the Free Software environment produced around, e.g., the Gnu utilities and the Linux kernel has not contributed positively to society, and it is not worth fostering such goals and aspirations in future generations?

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

geminidomino (614729) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488269)

(Not the GP)

Why do you think Free Software (as in Speech) does not provide real freedom not found in proprietary lock-in to free (temporarily, at least) as in beer?

Because, like most philosophical extremist propaganda, it relies on some strange redefinition of concepts.

To say "Free software" is "more free" than proprietary software: fine and dandy. No objections. But the FSF doesn't stop there.

The concept that "Free software" (as in copyleft) is more free than more permissive licenses (BSD, MIT, etc. just to name two) is contradictory from step 1. Both GPL software and Oracle software contain license clauses that say "You can use this software, but not in any way that we forbid." The GPL just happens to forbid a lot less, but more than the aforementioned non-copyleft licenses.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

femtobyte (710429) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488335)

So you don't agree all the way with the FSF "extremist" position (which, I think, has repeatedly shown its value in countering the everyday anti-freedom extremism of corporate profiteers). However, "free" Mathematica isn't even anywhere near the "more permissive" free licenses; in general, Mathematica is a prime example of one of the most heavily locked-down, DRM'd, annoyingly-invasively-restrictively-licensed pieces of software out there. If you even think BSD/MIT-license style freedoms are valuable to encourage, then Mathematica is the wrong choice to hook young minds on.

  I ended up throwing away the "free" (academically site licensed) version of Mathematica on my computer after too many instances of being randomly locked out of my own work (requiring calls/emails/faxes to appease Mathematica's finicky licensing code). In that sense, Mathematica has been quite educational for me: it cemented the lesson to never trust locked-down proprietary software, no matter how slick and useful it might seem.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

geminidomino (614729) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488419)

More valuable to encourage is software that works. In my limited experience (a couple of stats classes in college), R filled my needs as well as Mathematica, so I didn't need it and didn't use it. There's plenty of free software that just doesn't work worth crap (I'm looking at you, GIMP).

When you use your computer for your livelihood, rather than just some political statement, then philosophy comes far down the list of priorities (above it being "budget" and "does the shit work", for starters). Then there's FOSS that's "plenty good enough", and sometimes even "Best in class" (this is generally server-side) and I use many of those. But getting done the work done that I'm trying to do is more important than "encouraging" politics.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

femtobyte (710429) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488449)

I use my computer for work (graduate level physics research) --- that's why I found proprietary software like Mathematica unacceptable. I can't have my research and calculations go *poof* because a licensing server coughed up a hairball. Being unable to share results with collaborators also makes anything I do *completely worthless.* My "political statement" is closely joined to the reality of getting work done, and knowing that everything I do isn't chained to the whim of some proprietary system. Experience has shown that building reliance on non-free systems is, in the long run, unacceptably dangerous for anything of importance. I use some non-free software for play; but, for anything that will screw me over if it stops working tomorrow (or when I want to dig out the results a decade from now), free software is the *only* responsible choice.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

geminidomino (614729) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488681)

You're either confusing or conflating the software with the output. There is plenty of proprietary software that produces output in standard formats.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

femtobyte (710429) | 1 year,26 days | (#45491069)

Standard formats are part of it --- but, often, by the time you've produced a "standard format" you've lost the ability to use whatever capabilities you were using the proprietary software for in the first place. Sure, I can dump my Mathematica notebook inputs to a text file, or make a PDF with all the pretty graphics --- at which point I've rendered the content useless from a functional point of view. A collaborator without their own Mathematica license can't run my algorithm over their own inputs from a PDF. My results will be useless if I come back a decade from now, and Mathematica is a defunct product (or just modified with no backwards support). There is also the issue I've repeatedly referred to above --- if proprietary software fails when you're right in the middle of working on something, you're boned (and probability of failure is often built-in to high end packages with elaborate and flakey DRM license-checking schemes). With Free Software, you can pop the hood and fix whatever's stuck to get moving again.

Yes, if you're just using the proprietary software as an ephemeral intermediate step, with no need to ever share or reproduce the results (... which is often a rather high priority for doing science ...), then it won't matter so much what software was used to produce some final result in a standard form. But, for scientific work, the end result --- the fact that my calculated answer is 5.73826(23) --- is usually worthless without also being able to share, explain, modify, and reproduce the whole process leading to the answer; a proprietary "black box" stage in the procedure is blatantly un-scientific. Software and the output are naturally "conflated" when integrity and communicability of the whole process leading to a result are important.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45489175)

You probably also think America got less free when they forbade slavery. One more regulation, you no longer have the freedom to own slaves!

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

geminidomino (614729) | 1 year,26 days | (#45490047)

You probably also think America got less free when they forbade slavery. One more regulation, you no longer have the freedom to own slaves!

And people still wonder why the FSF isn't taken seriously?

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

hweimer (709734) | 1 year,26 days | (#45490187)

The concept that "Free software" (as in copyleft) is more free than more permissive licenses (BSD, MIT, etc. just to name two) is contradictory from step 1.

The FSF considers permissive license to be free software [gnu.org] . They do not consider copyleft licenses to be "more free" than permissive licenses. Please stop spreading false propaganda.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

david_thornley (598059) | 1 year,26 days | (#45496165)

I'm curious where you concluded that the FSF and Gnu think GPL is more free than BSD. I did a lot of reading on the philosophy parts of gnu.org and don't remember encountering such a thing. There was a list of free licenses, and Stallman did classify them by copyleft and GPL compatibility, but that's all I remember.

Now, the FSF wants you to use GPLv3+ for all your sofware, but that's largely a strategic drive, not because it is freer. One idea of the Gnu project was to provide a large and very useful body of GPLed software, so that people would GPL their own stuff as part of using it. A large and very useful body of BSD code would be a very nice thing, but it wouldn't induce other people to make their software free.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45488689)

>If you consider the "software freedoms" of the Free Software movement to be entirely void of meaning

Most people do, so it's all good.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (1)

Dan East (318230) | 1 year,27 days | (#45487283)

There is no "default install". Raspberry Pis don't even come with SD cards. You download whatever OS image you want and extract it to your SD card, and there are many to choose from, both "official" and 3rd party.

Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45488713)

If Mathematica on Raspberry Pi is in your opinion crippleware, I must say crippleware is quite widespread; pretty much every closed-source commercial - and apparently free - application fits this extended description.

I thought core idea of RPi was to take tinkering in IT to the kids, not to make them followers in The Cult of RMS. To some, (ideologically) perfect appears to be the worst enemy of (pragmatic) good, or betterment. In my opinion it doesn't violate any freedoms that Mathematica (actually a full Mathematica - apart from documentation pushed to the web) is available to kids.

OTOH, I feel Mathematica becomes useful only when approaching university-level studies. Below that, other systems are probably better - apart from the fact Mathematica is internally quite consistent. In my opinion, larger number of alternatives is always a good thing, and free Mathematica on RPi shouldn't really hurt STEM as education aid and technical toy for those teenagers, that find math interesting, but don't want to burden themselves with programming or pencil-and-paper ordeals after doing their homework.

breaking news / interesting (1)

rewindustry (3401253) | 1 year,27 days | (#45486711)

as i read this, said "language" is already available immediately, as i assume it's as open source as the raspy itself.
can someone point me to the source, please - i'd like to know what this is about, and the official site is acting very coy.
judging from all the ad hominem reactions, it certainly seems to have set some kind of cat amongst the pigeons, around here..

-- be aLert, your country needs Lerts.

There is no "standard system software" for the Pi. (1)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,27 days | (#45488221)

Unless you mean the boot-loader firmware running in the graphics hardware. After that you have a kernel of you choice and a RPi Linux distro (or something else that runs on it) of your choice.

So? Will anyone use it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#45489449)

Yet another language we don't need...

Re:So? Will anyone use it? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | 1 year,27 days | (#45489597)

Yet another language I, whose opinion can be safely extrapolated to the entire of humanity, don't need...

FTFY.

wolfram on the pi? (2)

spike hay (534165) | 1 year,26 days | (#45491819)

I'm pretty sure his ego can't fit in 512 mb.

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