One of the mundane limitations which I’ve faced in past years, when installing Computer Algebra Systems etc., under Linux, that were supposed to be open-source, was that the only game in town – almost – was either ‘Maxima’ or ‘wxMaxima’, the latter of which is a fancy GUI, as well as a document exporter, for the former.

Well one fact which the rest of the computing world has known about for some time, but which I am newly finding for myself, is that software exists called ‘SageMath‘. Under Debian / Stretch, this is ‘straightforward’ to install, just by installing the meta-package from the standard repositories, named ‘sagemath’. If the reader also wants to install this, then I recommend also installing ‘sagemath-doc-en’ as well as ‘sagetex’ and ‘sagetex-doc’. * Doing this will literally pull in hundreds of actual packages, so it should only be done on a strong machine, with a fast Internet connection*! But once this has been done, the result will be enjoyable:

I have just clicked around a little bit, in the SageMath Notebook viewer, which is browser-based, and which I’m sure only provides a skeletal front-end to the actual software. But there is a feature which I already like: When the user wishes to Print his or her Worksheet, doing so from the browser just opens a secondary browser-window, from which we may ‘Save Page As…’ , and when we do, we discover that the HTML which gets saved, has its own, internal ‘MathJax‘ server. What this seems to suggest at first glance, is that the equations will display typeset correctly, without depending on an external CDN. Yay!

I look forward to getting more use out of this in the near future.

(Update 09/15/2018, 21h30 : )

One of the benchmarks which I use to test a CAS, is to see whether it can solve the equation:

x^{5} == 5^{x}

The solution requires the ‘LambertW’ function. At the same time, I once complained that Maxima was unable to find the exact, symbolic solution to cubic equations. In truth, the somewhat esoteric answer to both questions is, to load the ‘to_poly_solve’ module. I just never went back to update the old posting.

Well, I felt I should also benchmark SageMath in this way. When asked to perform pure Algebra, Sage actually falls back to a specialized version of Maxima, but this is no disappointment, because in addition, SageMath offers tons of features that go beyond what Maxima could have done. But just, to complete this old benchmark:

Dirk

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