While it still lags Julia slightly on speed, Mathematica functionality includes all of the alternatives listsed here combined plus a lot of computation not supported by any of them (image & video, geometry, GIS, PDE modeling, bio-sequencing,...)
But the key thing about Mathematica is all this functionality is deeply integrated - not a bunch of libraries from dubious sources or disconnected toolboxes. The value of having functionality join up without you having to wrestle the software into submission should not be undersestimated.
The main problem with mathematica is that it is not open-source. Ask the software for results and you'll get some, but don't ask how can you arrive to that result because that is inside the blackbox of their company property. This is contrary to the spirit of mathematics. Proof and explanation are required for claims to be accepted, it's not enough to say "computed using Mathematica".
This is like saying that my mathematical calculations are incorrect because I used a calculator to compute some things rather than doing it by hand. You still have the code that you put into Mathematica, much the same way you still have the numbers you entered into the calculator. As such, Mathematica is merely a very powerful calculator.
Reply written over 6 years ago
The biggest problem with Mathematica, is that it's not an open source app. I don't mean it's a problem for the money that it needs to buy it, but if you want to watch the errors in one chaotic system you cannot see the source to understand (find) the function that it produces the errors. (Sorry for my bad english).
When i try to communicate with Wolfram to give me the source code for sth like that, they send me an e-mail which it was say "Its company property"
So i refuse to go on with mathetica..Just a tool for amateurs, not for professionals.
Mathematica is a powerful piece of software, closed source or open. Not all applications are open-source, and you can't expect them to "give you" the source code. It is company property, and how else do you expect them to keep employees if they give away their source code for free? You should find some examples of the uses of Mathematica, it's quite useful. They also provide support for their product, as do most all software companies.
I’m agree with NightHeron there is no good reason in 2018 to use close source software. A company can exist with open-source product. It’s a shame universities promote this kind of software.
Reply written almost 4 years ago
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