About 15 years ago I found a bug that affected all Fourier-like transforms in Mathematica. (It was related to how the constants can be “allocated” between the exponent and an overall scale factor—someone had tried to generalize this concept by being too clever by half, and made a mistake.) I did a sanity check with comp.lang.mathematica or whatever the group is called and then filed a bug report. I understand that the error was not corrected until a later major release of Mathematica.

A few months ago I returned to Mathematica with a medium-sized project which involves some probabability calculations (PDFs, characteristic functions, etc.) I quickly found that Mathematica failed to crack an integral because it did not do a simple, trivial, second-semester substitution. I also found an error in the way a special function (MeijerG) is calculated numerically. In all, after only about three weeks of returning to using Mathematica, I filed five bug reports (one of which was UI-related) and have two or three saved up for when I get more time. I have watched the Mathematica release cycle for some years including the “dot” releases, and I am not encouraged that any of my reported bugs will be addressed before the next major release. (I believe that would be version 11.)

I have finally drank enough Kook-Aide to appreciate Mathematica and indeed have rather quickly (after my recent return) found it indespensible in my work; I am no longer even tussling with whether to use Octave/Matlab or Python/NumPy/SciPy for numerical work.

So: Why does Wolfram respond so slowly to bug reports? There seem to be only one x.1 or x.0.1 release after each major release, if that. Why not release more-frequent bug fixes like most other software houses, rather than let bugs exist for years in some cases?

Erim Radcliff