# William Stein: some panel discussion statements

# What are the strength and weaknesses of open source versus closed source software?

- Can we trust results of computer algebra systems/ mathematics
- software that is closed source? Or of any software at all?

No. No. We can't trust anything automatically -- there are only levels of trust. I'm more interested in usefulness. Extendability. Etc.

- Should a paper submitted for publication in a journal be
- rejected if it fundamentally depends on closed source software? Or on any software at all?

It depends on the quality of the journal. For a top quality journal, I have rejected such papers before and will again. Depending on software "at all" -- that's just a fact of life.

# Is it possible to provide a truly viable open source alternative to

- Maple, Matlab, Mathematica, and Magma that will survive the standard 30 year software lifespan and be well supported? No, it's completely impossible, since it's so frickin' hard. I don't care, I will do it anyways.

# There have in the past been many open computer algebra projects,

- which start out with much enthusiasm and excitement, but every single one has since failed. Why should Sage be any different?
- It is different than those projects in many ways:
- GPL
- Not at all "design by committee" -- everything is driven by immediate needs
- Do not reinvent the wheel
- Large number of developers
- Already SIX Workshops from Feb 2006 to Nov 2007, and many more to come.
- Me -- I want this to succeed very very much.

- It is different than those projects in many ways:

# Is it likely that any of the following mathematical software systems

- will be open sourced within the next five years: Fermat, Kash, Matlab, Maple, Mathematica, Magma, Mupad, Reduce?

Fermat or Reduce might... they are both by "out of touch" almost retired mathematicians... but who cares?

Or that they will be replaced by viable OSS alternatives?

I hope so.

# Do 'we' have to protect our OSS using a copyright such as the GPL,

- or should we just release using a BSD-like license to avoid the hassle? [Discussion on this point will be strictly limited.]

We have to use the GPL, because PARI, Singular, etc., already did. There's really nothing more to say.

# Discuss ideas for funding the creation of open source mathematical

- software, and of improving the *quality* of open mathematical software (e.g., testing, bug days, trac, etc., language choices, etc.).

- Funding:
- workshops cost a lot, so get them funded by institutes...
- hire undergrads "student/faculty research".
- creative NSF grants (e.g., the new CDI initiative) -- I will
- likely be on at least two CDI's because people want to "use" Sage to pump up their apps.

- donations (tax-free)

# Should software implementations be treated more like journal

- submissions, being refereed and hence putting computational work on the same footing as more theoretical work in the context of academic credit? (cf JSage)
- In some cases this would be very valuable for the mathematical community.
- It is also greatly improves code quality.
- Axiom: Non-refereed code is broken.

# Could (or should) Sage be packaged and distributed as a linux

- package in one (or more) standard formats (.deb, .rpm)?
- Yes, it definitely can and should be. Give me money to hire
- somebody to do this. Or maybe Michael Abshoff will. Definitely. I'm very surprised it hasn't happened already.

- Yes, it definitely can and should be. Give me money to hire