Tue, Dec 9, 2008, 12:41am The Insane Cost of Math Software
Living » Learning
(Last updated: Fri, Dec 11, 2009, 9:28am)
B
ig mathematics systems like Mathematica, Maple or MATLAB are extremely expensive, with prices starting at $2500, $1900 and $1900 respectively. Those prices are for the single commercial license. My interests aren't commercial, but is no non-commercial sales option. They all have Student, Government and Commercial licenses. I'd call myself a student in the wider sense, but they will want to check with my institution, which is, I guess, just myself, and I'm guessing they'd balk at that.

Since there's no money to be had in autodidacts, I either shell out the big bucks or make do with systems such as FreeMat, Octave or Scilab. These seem to be good tools, which I've only dabbled with a touch, but they're clearly not on the same level with their commercial brethren. But dang… why must they be so much for non-commercial use.

I'm not even saying that the software isn't worth the money, I'm just saying I can't rationalize it and I'm sure I'm not the only home researcher who would be willing to pay some reasonable amount for such a tool. Sadly, all 3 companies above have decided it wouldn't be in their interest to market to this niche.

Update 2009-12-11: Since this was written I have found that both Wolfram Research and Maplesoft offer inexpensive home versions of their products for those who are not using them in any commercial way. Mathematica is available for $300 and Maple for $240. (In order to find that figure from Mapplesoft, I had to email them directly to ask if such a thing existed, since their website is completely silent about it.)

  • Shawn (Sat, January 24th, 2009, 8:27pm UTC)
    I feel your pain, Jeff. I had to fork out the full Matlab license fee to work on a $4,000 contract. Granted I had future business in mind, otherwise there would have been no way that would have made business sense.

  • Jeff (Tue, January 27th, 2009, 4:34pm UTC)
    One program I hadn't tried out (downloaded, then forgot about, but then found again accidently just now), was Sage, which is looking pretty decent. Certainly useful, just not sure to what extent yet.

  • lorenzo.brito (Fri, August 21st, 2009, 3:39am UTC)
    Yea,,for that developers using a open source tool under glp must help the project adding code or donating, in order to get hight standard as comercial stuff.

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