Suggested discussion topics for panel discussion on
The Future of Open Source Mathematical Software
SAGE Days 6
Sunday 11 November 2007
Chair: John Cremona
Panel members: William Stein, Robert Bradshaw, Ondrej Certik, Bill Alombert, Michael Abshoff, Dan Bernstein.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
There have in the past been very comprehensive open computer algebra projects that are a truly viable alternative to Maple etc., which start out with much enthusiasm and excitement, but since failed. Why should Sage be any different?
- 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? Or that they will be replaced by viable OSS alternatives?
- 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.]
- 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.).
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 [http://www.sagemath.org/jsage/ JSage])
- Could (or should) Sage be packaged and distributed as a linux package in one (or more) standard formats (.deb, .rpm)?