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Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: AMS Notices: Open Source Mathematical Software

From: William Stein
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: AMS Notices: Open Source Mathematical Software
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 16:58:05 -0800

On Nov 25, 2007 2:14 PM, C Y <address@hidden> wrote:
> >> Third, even if the NSF funded SAGE, how would those funds benefit the
> >> various subprojects like Axiom? Open source is mostly volunteer work
> >> done in "spare time". While it is amusing to daydream of being paid to
> >> develop open source computational mathematics on a full time basis, it
> >> seems unlikely that this could lead to more than just small
> >> grants. The expertise and continuity needed to do research work
> >> requires longer term funding.
> >
> > Great questions and comments.  There aren't easy answers.
> > One possibility is selling "support"... which could bring in
> > money to support people who are out of country.
> One possibility I've wondered about for a while would be getting a
> number of colleges to simultaneously agree to pool small amounts of
> money into an effort to support a couple of developers working on these
> programs - i.e. spreading the cost over many institutions rather than
> just having one or two carry all of the cost.  Start up a small
> nonprofit or some such to serve as the organization in question.  Surely
> if grant money can sometimes pay for commercial software it could go to
> pay for such an arrangement, particularly if the software was all
> guaranteed to be open.
> Is this something someone could set up with any hope of success?

I think something like this could be successful.  Actually, Magma has
been a very successful example of almost exactly this during the last
10 years.   They are a nonprofit, they get a pool of small amounts
of money from a few hundred (?) sites, and as a result hire about
5-10 fulltime people per year to work on Magma.   The only difference
is that Magma is not open.  But it is a useful successful real-life
example, which
should not be ignored:


 -- William

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