I decided to download and install Mathematica 6.0 for Linux- our school has a license agreement with Wolfram so we can use Mathematica for free. Ubuntu 7.04 however doesn’t seem to want to play nicely with Mathematica. Even after using a couple of tricks to get it to install and to display output properly, Mathematica is still seg-faulting anytime I try to evaluate anything more complicated than simple arithmetic.

It works fine however on Fedora 8.

I haven’t spent very much time troubleshooting the problem yet, and I would imagine the problem could be fixed without too much work, but right now I just don’t have the time. I haven’t had the need to use Mathematica before, but so far I’m pretty impressed. The Mathematica Demonstrations Project has a bunch of cool visualization demos, and you can even attend free online seminars to learn how to use some of the features of Mathematica.

There are some open-source alternatives to Mathematica (e.g. Gnu Octave and R)

) that I would like to learn eventually, but for now I think I’ll stick to Mathematica since there is already a wealth of documentation for it online.