Maxima is a computer algebra system comparable to commercial systems like Mathematica and Maple. It emphasizes symbolic mathematical computation: algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and much more.
For example, Maxima solves x^2-r*x-s^2-r*s=0 giving the symbolic results [x=r+s, x=-s].
Maxima can calculate with exact integers and fractions, native floating-point and high-precision big floats.
Maxima has user-friendly front-ends, an on-line manual, plotting commands, and numerical libraries. Users can write programs in its native programming language, and many have contributed useful packages in a variety of areas over the decades.
Maxima is GPL-licensed and largely written in Common Lisp. Executables can be downloaded for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android; source code is also available. An active community maintains and extends the system.
Maxima is widely used: annual direct downloads exceed 300,000. Many other users receive it through secondary distribution.
- Specialized in symbolic operations but offering numerical capabilities too.
- Can be accessed programmatically and extended, as the underlying Lisp can be called from it.
- Complete programming language with ALGOL-like syntax but Lisp-like semantics.
- Arbitrary-precision integers.
- Rational numbers of sizes limited only by machine memory.
- Arbitrarily large floating-point numbers ("bfloats").
A complete, full-fledged and (if the big amount of functionality it offers is taken in consideration) still easy-to-use Computer Algebra System.
Great computar algebra system!
Switched about 2 months ago from Maple to (Wx)Maxima and it works perfectly well ! Had to learn a lot of new things as some approaches are different (e.g. Maple dchange() now requires defining some gradients using gradef()) but on the whole no big problems. A little confusing are the 2 plot and draw libraries : how about dropping the plot library altogether ?
I use this professionally and find it to be a great open source alternative to MathCAD, and an excellent complementary tool to Octave (which is open source Matlab). Definetly worth trying.