I’ve resisted looking into Sage for a while now, because it’s way too late into my PhD to use it for any legitimate purpose. Furthermore, I’ve spent too much time playing around with Mathematica to justify abandoning it, at this stage.
Still, my interest was kindled anew by the discovery that there’s a LaTeX package that can be used to write ‘literate programs’ in Sage. Well, I was at home, unwell. Why not at least install this Sage program and see how it goes?
First impression: ‘Christ, this thing needs manual installation’. As they say in the readme:
If you’re an OSX guru and want to make steps 4–6 much nicer, join sage-devel and tell us. You’ll be greatly appreciated by a lot of people!
The first thing that could be improved is to distribute it inside a zip archive rather inside a disk image. After decompressed the 300MB archive into a disk image, you have to copy that over the Applications folder anyway!
I really don’t have anything to say more than this, because I quickly exhausted any time allotment for exploring with this new program. I hope in the future that I can become an enthusiastic user of Sage; it seems to me to be the most promising possibility for improving the future of engineering, maths, and science research.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love Mathematica and I rue turning my back on it, but its closed nature, I believe, dooms the long-term benefits it may have. Backwards compatibility aside, if I write code now I really would like to have some hope of running it in ten year’s time.