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Math Open Source Software Science

LastCalc Is Open Sourced 103

Posted by timothy
from the ultimate-mathematicator dept.
Sanity writes "LastCalc is a cross between Google Calculator, a spreadsheet, and a powerful functional programming language, all with a robust and flexible heuristic parser. It even lets you write functions that pull in data from elsewhere on the web. It's all wrapped up in a JQuery-based user interface that does as-you-type syntax highlighting. Today, LastCalc's creator, Ian Clarke (Freenet, Revver), has announced that LastCalc will be open sourced under the GNU Affero General Public License 'to accelerate development, spread the workload, and hopefully foster a vibrant volunteer community around the project.'"
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LastCalc Is Open Sourced

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10, 2012 @02:43PM (#39312985)

    For those who are curious what Freenet [freenetproject.org] is: It's a distributed data store, which is censorship-resistant and allows to publish information anonymously.

  • by Sanity (1431) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @02:44PM (#39312991) Homepage Journal

    This is compelling but the use of Affero for the license makes onerous demands of the user. The implicit threat of a code audit is there.

    Can you elaborate? Which clauses specifically make onerous demands?

  • Similar software (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Twinbee (767046) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @03:31PM (#39313253) Homepage
    Calculators should be multi-line like this - it's so much easier to keep track of calculations. Similar to LastCalc is InstaCalc [instacalc.com] on the web and something on the Mac called Soulver [acqualia.com] which is also very impressive.

    Shameless plug: I've been working tirelessly on something like this too for almost a year, and apart from lists and a couple of other minor features, is a bit like LastCalc on steroids:

    OpalCalc [skytopia.com] (for Windows currently).

    The screenshots should give an idea of what it can do, but to name a few things: it's even more like notepad, faster, can handle times/dates, and allow words in the sum (like saying "5 oranges * £10 = £50" ).
  • Re:Similar software (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sanity (1431) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @03:49PM (#39313377) Homepage Journal

    Soulver was actually what inspired LastCalc, but I wanted to bring it to the web, and make it programmable.

    OpalCalc looks neat, unlike Soulver it supports functions, and I'm sure it has a few features that LastCalc currently lacks.

    However LastCalc has a few features that OpalCalc lacks too, such as support for higher-level datastructures like lists and maps, pattern matching (like Haskell), and the ability to pull data from the web to use in calculations.

    So I'm not sure that I would describe OpalCalc as "LastCalc on steroids" by any stretch.

  • by butalearner (1235200) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @09:26PM (#39315389)
    I used to prefer the various *GPL licenses until I read the OGRE development team's post [ogre3d.org] about switching from LGPL (plus a commercial license option) to MIT for version 1.7. The key paragraph for me was this:

    While not requiring modified source to be released might initially seem like giving up an important motivator to contribute code back to the community, we’ve noticed something in recent years: 99% of useful code contributions come from people who are motivated to participate in the project regardless of what the license tells them they have to do. It’s our experience that a certain percentage of the user community will always participate and contribute back, and therefore encouraging adoption via simpler licensing is likely to result in more contributions overall than coersion via complex and restrictive licensing does. In addition, people who are internally motivated to participate tend to provide much higher quality and more usable contributions than those who only do it because they are forced to.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @12:56AM (#39316127) Journal
    It would take a very comprehensive piece of surveying work to say whether this in fact holds across the board; but my anecdotal impression is that the utility of legally enforced compliance may vary depending on what sort of software you are dealing with.

    The area that comes to mind is embedded systems: a substantial number of assorted plastic SoC boxes running linux are user-modifiable today because their sellers were forced to provide sources under the GPL. Their firmware was often of rather low quality; but contained vital architectural details about the hardware that would otherwise have had to be inferred by comparatively arduous reverse engineering. In those situations, motivation is still better(one presumes that the manufacturers who are shipping *WRT firmwares are probably more helpful than the ones who stash a passive_agressive_GPL_compliance_blob.rar file somewhere in the dark corner of their support site); but bad code that provided enough information to port the better mainline-based 3rd party firmware was still useful.

    In something like the OGRE case, there doesn't seem to be the analogous vital information, bad code would just be bad code, making enforced contribution considerably less useful.

    I'd be interested to see if this pattern in fact holds, or if I am simply mistaken, and if there are any other categories that push strongly in one direction or the other; but I don't really have enough information to say...

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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