[SciPy-dev] SciPy Foundation

Dag Sverre Seljebotn dagss@student.matnat.uio...
Sat Aug 1 12:49:21 CDT 2009

Joe Harrington wrote:
> Dag wrote:
>> I have seen email threads asking
>> what the SciPy goal is, without any clear resolution (?).
> For me, SciPy is a replacement for IDL that improves on it in some
> areas.  No more, but no less.  That doesn't say what it *is*, since it
> just begs the question, "what is IDL", but it does identify the space
> I'd like to see SciPy occupy.  It occupies most of the space IDL
> occupied for me now, except for a few crucial areas.  The main one is
> that enough of my colleagues use it that I can exchange codes with
> them.  A code written in an interpreted language that your colleague
> does not use is not useful to them.  If it's not useful to them, then
> the interest in your contribution is that much smaller.  So, my goal
> is to make SciPy (the toolstack, not the package) *to them* be what
> IDL is to them today.  That is a lot more than what IDL is to me,
> since I have more of a knack for computers than most of my colleagues.
> They need a one-touch install, hold-your-hand docs, GUIs, and so
> forth.  They are also less interested in the linguistic improvements
> of Python over IDL.  Or, they are until they really get coding, which
> is long after they make the decision to give it a spin.  This is a
> good thing in a way, since it means that once they try it, they
> *really* like it.  Most current SciPy users, I think, are savvy enough
> about computers that we can work around the shortcomings, but the next
> round of adopters will always be less savvy than the last, on the
> whole, hence the need for better and lower-level docs, professional
> packaging on all platforms, etc.

I really, really want what you seem to want too. BUT, I'll continue my
criticism, in the hope that something may come out of it.

What you mention above seem to be A LOT of work (in particular
"professional packaging on all platforms"), and as others have mentioned
partly in conflict with the way people tend to view SciPy currently, and
so on.

As you say it is indeed the whole stack that is important. Still, part of
what you write seems to be an effort to do what many are doing already:
- Sage (currently maths focused, but it does bundle SciPy and integrating
it better would )
- SPD (Sage without some of the math libs)
- Python(x,y)

These all bundle SciPy, but also sets up the whole stack, and can focus on
the whole picture.

Are you saying that you just want to do it better than these, through a
foundation? Wouldn't it be better to direct any funding through one of
these existing candidates?

This post I've written on the Sage list is very related and is about SciPy
vs. Sage:

The parent thread is a bit long but lots of related material in there:

Dag Sverre

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