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## Re: symbolic math in octave

**From**: |
John W. Eaton |

**Subject**: |
Re: symbolic math in octave |

**Date**: |
Thu, 4 Jun 1998 10:07:43 -0500 (CDT) |

On 29-May-1998, George White <address@hidden> wrote:
| In order to have symbolic math in octave, a GNU licensed symbolic math
| engine is needed.
If the two programs are linked together to form a single executable,
this is correct, because the combination forms a derivative work, and
the GPL says that it must be possible to distribute the resulting work
under the terms of the GPL.
But, as I understand it, if Octave communicates with another program
through a pipe, the result is not considered a derivative work, so the
auxiliary program need not be free software.
In any case, I believe it would be better to use freely
redistributable software for this purpose.
| Such an engine does exist (maxima, a fork of Macsyma),
| but it seems to need a BSD-hosted clisp to run.
Are you sure? I thought that it could now be used with GNU Common
Lisp, and that it should work on just about any Unixy system.
| The problem remains that running two interpreters (octave and the lisp
| host for maxima) requires lots of memory (maxima is a big package).
| Since many octave users are financially constrained, symbolic math may be
| a stretch (it certainly isn't feasible to run maxima and octave on our
| m68k NeXT systems with 16M Ram!).
As it is now possible to buy 64MB for around $100, it seems to me that
this is becoming less of a problem.
If anyone is interested in working on an interface that would allow
maxima to be used with Octave, please contact me.
Thanks,
jwe

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