January 23rd, 2010 | Categories: math software, mathcad | Tags:

Ever since PTC bought Mathcad from its original developers, Mathsoft, back in 2006 the future for the product has been uncertain.  The first PTC-led release of the software, Mathcad 14, followed a few months later to mixed reviews and it’s been very quiet ever since.  The only sign of life over the last couple of years has been a few minor bug-fix releases which, to be perfectly frank,  is rather insignificant compared to the competition.

All of this led me to write an article back in June 2009 called ‘Is Mathcad Dying?’ which garnered quite a lot of feedback from both the Mathcad user community and from PTC themselves.  The reaction from the user community ranged from people calling me some colourful names through to those who agreed with much of what I said and everything in between.  It quickly became apparent that there was a large user community who were fervently hoping that PTC would do something special with Mathcad rather than let it wither and die.  These users feel that Mathcad brings something unique to the technical software landscape; something that isn’t provided by the likes of Mathematica, MATLAB and Maple and they didn’t want it to go away.

In the meantime, some of the people at PTC got in touch with me to tell me that Mathcad is far from dying.  I learned that not only was a new release of Mathcad on the cards (Mathcad 15) but that they were also working on what was essentially a complete reboot of the system called Mathcad Prime.  They had also performed an internal company restructure which included the creation of a business unit specifically for Mathcad; this, I was told, would allow them to do much more with Mathcad than had been done before.  It all sounded very exciting and I was looking forward to a host of public updates but then it all went very quiet again.

Until now!

One of my contacts at PTC sent me a tweet last night to say that I might be interested in a blog post over at mathcad.wordpress.com and he was right.  Finally, everything that I had been told in confidence has been made official and more besides.  Mathcad 15 will be released later this year.  The date for Mathcad Prime is a little more vague but 2011 seems like a distinct possibility and there will be a virtual conference in mid-March where PTC will tell us more about its Mathcad strategy (I’ve already signed up).

I have to confess that I have never been a fan of Mathcad, preferring to use MATLAB, Mathematica and Maple, but I have been deeply impressed by the loyalty shown by some of its long-term users.  Some of these users have been kind enough to take the time to show me why they believe that Mathcad deserves such allegiance and I now realise that some of my earlier comments on the product were not as well thought out as they should have been.   So, I hope that these new developments by PTC not only repays this loyalty but also produces a product that I would want to use myself.

Update (1st July 2010): Mathcad 15 has been released now (over 3 years since the last version if I recall correctly) and the list of new features appears to be rather underwhelming at first glance.  I’ll write more when I get my copy (assuming that there is more to write about).  I guess PTC are putting all of their resources into Mathcad Prime right now.

1. Mike,
Thanks for taking the time to post a thoughtful review here. Indeed, we have passionate users and for that, we are grateful. We’ve been hard at work, focusing on a new product that aims to increase usability of Mathcad. I understand you’re not a fan of Mathcad, but appreciate your objectivity. Perhaps you could share why you like the other tools over Mathcad. In any event, thanks for the note, and we look forward to your continuing coverage and commentary.

2. Mathcad developed a following because like TurboCad vs AutoCad, Mathcad was originally aimed at the low end of the market. The products that you prefer are high end (+$1,000), and – like AutoCad – cannot be afforded by the average user. Sadly, it appears that PTC desires taking Mathcad in that direction. For a single user, you can catch their$99.00 single user special for Mathcad 14 with no maintenance support or updates. If you want the support, you must pay through the nose compared with the 99 purchase price. I hope that PTC will switch course and keep the low end market in mind with Mathcad 15. 3. @ardneh I look after mathematical software at a large UK University so I tend to worry about educational site-license costs rather than individual licenses. Roughly speaking, a site license for Mathcad costs about the same as Maple. Maple is infinitely more capable in my opinion. @Mike B – Mathcad has caused me nothing but pain over the years. My first introduction to it was in version 12 where there was a problem with its xml handling. The practical upshot of this was that it was corrupting a lot of student’s work. I discovered that I could recover their work by hand-editing the xml source but it took AGES. Mathsoft (as it was then) couldn’t offer a better solution at the time so I worked into the night for a week recovering over 100 student assessments. Thankfully, the workaround was simple (don’t save files in the new xml format – use the old format instead). The academic who I was supporting wasn’t very happy with the situation but since I had saved the situation he wasn’t hurt so much that he wanted to move away from Mathcad. Version 13 was pretty solid – didn’t cause me much grief at all but then we had to upgrade to version 14 at short notice. The sudden move from a Maple symbolic kernel to a Mupad one caused this same academic some problems and I had to help him rewrite some of his course notes. Then we were hit by the ‘Print Preview bug’ which was initially blamed on me since I was the guy who had deployed Mathcad to our clusters. People assumed that I was to blame rather than Mathcad itself. The only plus point for Mathcad, in my opinion, is it’s WYSIWYG whiteboard-like interface. In every other area it loses to the competition. -Its symbolics are weaker than Mathematica/Maple -Its numerics are weaker than MATLAB (and probably the other two as well) -The recent updates haven’t given us much value for money. -Its programming language is very weak compared to almost anything. All this is just my opinion of course. One of the reasons I write this stuff is because, if I am wrong, then someone will eventually put me straight. Cheers, Mike 4. I like Mathcad because I can quickly start a new project after a year of not using Mathcad. And since Mathcad sheets are meant to be shared (and a full package is needed to use them), the fact that new features are not added quickly into Mathcad helps give new worksheets a broad user base. But my experience is causing me to hedge my bets. Mathcad 13 worked great, but when I moved to a new Vista based computer, some graphics did not display properly. The ‘support’ was to upgrade to Mathcad 14 – at the special introductory price. Okay fine. This works okay, but it crashes when I do a print preview. ‘Support’ is to buy a maintenance package to get the latest maintenance release – special introductory pricing though. Okay fine. Well it’s almost time for a new computer. It might have Windows 7. Will I have to fork over more to get the license moved from one computer to the next? The original purchase allowed a transferable license, but that was the company beore PTC. I am trying mathematica 7 (on linux this time) but the low purchase price does not allow me to use it for work. It’s definitely harder to learn than Mathcad. Mathcad should do something to improve. How long before someone merges Basketnotes, jmath, and Euler into something nearly as effective? 5. Another gripe I have about mathcad is platform support. A Maple site license (same cost as a Mathcad one give or take) allows our users to install it on Windows, Mac and Linux. Mathcad is windows only so we get less users able to take advantage of it. 6. @Kirby I agree – Mathematica is harder to learn but it is so so worth it. The things I can do with just a couple of lines of code…. Same goes for MATLAB and SAGE. 7. @Kirby, The Mathcad Print Preview bug was fixed in the M020 release. Initially PTC required maintenance to access that but at one point they changed their minds and made it something that could be downloaded to update your system. I do not know if it is still availiable but you should try contacting them again. 8. I have used Mathcad since the early 90’s. I have signed up for the conference to see what Mathcad 15 will bring to the table (I will probably upgrade to 15). I was not too impressed with Mathcad 14.O (M020). I had to do quite a bit of rework on some of my worksheets to get them to calculate properly using MuPad. I upgraded to windows 7 and luckily my re-installation of Mathcad 14 went without a hitch, and seems to run fine under windows 7 (after I got an new license file). 9. I’m an engineering student and use MathCAD, although I’ve tried Maple and Mathematica. Despite it’s flaws my preference lies with MathCAD simply because of it’s seamless handling of units. All the other programs have very cumbersome unit implementations. The one thing I really miss in MathCAD is an improved typesetting feature with table of contents, chapter/sections and so on. The perfect solution would be full LaTeX integration, but that’s not likely to happen. 10. I’ve been battling with Mathcad for years. I don’t do anything particularly advanced, just use it for basic engineering calculations. However, I do find some ridiculous features. Why can’t I change the calculation order to move across pages so something at the bottom of page 1 is evaluated before something at the top of page 2. I can get round this using global definitions but then the print order is messed up. Otherwise I just waste loads of screen space. Also, work needs doing to make the layout more sensible. I need to be able to insert tables with full Mathcad functionality. I either have to align loads of matrices or use an excel component and loose the unit capability. How does Mathematica or Mample compare? The cumbersome units mentioned by Anders doesn’t bode well. Sam 11. I did not like version 14; a lot of my templates (programed looping and matrix manipulation) did not work the same so I whent back to version 2001. I know that there have been some changes, but who wants to have to revisit complex templates and fix. Also, I am noticing a tren among the resent graduating engineers I have to interview applying with my firm who are not as familiar with MathCAD as those of just a few years ago who were. Not even NASA TEC Trens journal is puplishing articles that used MathCAD as before. Is PTC killing th goose that lays the golden eggs??? Wesley 12. I’ve been a MathCAD user since version 2 and have spent a lot of money updating over the years to version 14. I have not been very pleased with PTC’s policies about getting updates although I eventually was able to get M020 version even though I don’t pay for the maintenance agreement. I recently installed MathCAD 14 onto a Dell Studio XPS Desktop with i7 processor after upgrading from Win7 Home Premium 64-bit to Win7 Pro (see bestbuy.com for more computer info). The installation seems to have worked OK although the program will no longer plot out mesh plots. I haven’t spent enough time on the computer to find other problems. I see in PTC’s advertisements that Mcad 15 has Win7 support so hopefully they fixed the problem although it would be nice if they came up with a fix for Mcad 14. One of the other so called selling points they offer is “A second MathCAD License FREE”. This is really nothing new but the same old license agreement that allowed you to legally put a copy onto a home computer. The only difference now is that they indicate the “home use license expires with maintenance”. I’m not sure how they plan to enforce this but I don’t like the plan since I occasionally do work on MathCAD at home. As an alternative to MathCAD I’ve been using Octave which is very close to Matlab. The price is right… free. I haven’t had chance to try it with Win7. I do like MathCAD’s WYSIWYG whiteboard-like interface and the units feature but the alternative software is also beginning to look better for the price as well as not having to deal with PTC’s poor and costly support. Anyone else having Win7 problems with MathCAD 14? Tom 13. @Tom G. I had been using Mathcad extensively since the first DOS version was introduced. I remained a loyal customer/user until Mathcad 14. The first impetus to move away from Mathcad was caused by the lack of “patches” or bug fixes. Instead, I was required to purchase an upgrade to fix something that was broken. Also I believe the marketing policy changed in later years. For example, as a user of Mathcad you would receive an email giving notice of a new release with indicated upgrade price. If you did not upgrade immediately, you would receive another email at some later time with a new, special (lower) upgrade price. If you waited even longer, you would receive yet another email with another (lower) updgrade price. To me, this was a terrible business practice. That type of marketing coupled with the numerous bugs in the first release of Mathcad 14 was almost enough to stop using the tool. At the time, I had begun to migrate to Matlab and Maple. The final straw, so to speak, was the fact that Mathcad abrubtly moved from the Maple symbolic engine to Mupad. Two totally different packages in terms of syntax. Due to the above, Mathcad 14 is my last upgrade. I now use Maple extensively. With the above said, and given my experience with Maple, I believe that Mathcad’s whiteboard emulation is better than Maple. I do miss using that interface, however, my more recent Mathcad experiences (2008, 2009, 2010) have left me sorely disappointed. FDJ 14. One thing that puts Mathcad far above its competitors is the ability to create very nice-looking documents. I have used both Mathematica and Maple as well as Mathcad, and the other programs do not do anything like what Mathcad does. I can mix text, graphics, and mathematics any way I want to. That, to me, is very important. I am an educator, and I use it to produce handouts and online text for my students. They don’t have to be familiar at all with the program to read what I produce with it and to follow what’s there. And, it’s much easier to do this with Mathcad than it would be with a word processor. The nice integration between the symbolic and numeric capabilities is also a plus. For individuals who may not all be computer savvy, it’s much easier to learn than the other software. I teach a course in computational physics, and we use Mathcad in that course. I would have to spend quite a bit more time teaching syntax with any other environment. Is Mathcad as “powerful” as its competitors? Well, no; but often you don’t need those extra tools. For most tasks, Mathcad has plenty of power. It is also faster at some tasks than Maple is. 15. Hi Mike Thanks for your comments. Which tasks is it faster than Maple at? Cheers, Mike (The other one :) ) 16. I have been using MathCAD since the DOS days As you can see, I am a devoted follower, but since 14 came out, I have been very disappointed. The issue I have is not trusting if the calculations updated. I have found the hard way that 14 on Vista (I have confirmed this issue with others using XP) will not always automatically update answers. Sometimes just saving the file will update it yet other times I have to close and reopen the file. This one issue has caused me to look at other options. (Hey PTC, are you catching this?) And this PTC “maintenance” game is a joke. Perhaps they can do this with ProE and other high end code, but they will be walking away from their grass roots support base. 17. I’ve also been been a long term MathCAD user since the first MathCAD, with regular updates every since, and I just saw a video about MathCAD 15. I now believe that PTC does not have the expertise to handle MathCAD and haven’t ever had any real expertise since they bought it. I think that their efforts not only fall short, but are just plain pathetic. What we really need is a White Knight to swoop in, take MathCAD off their hands. Promise PTC to do a job 100 times better than PTC (that is to say, just plain good upkeep), and then make MathCAD into what it really should be. That would be more systematic, more complete, more uniform, a first class API, add multi-CPU capable, etc. Say! Google, are you listening? PLEASE buy mathCAD and make to a World Class product. Pretty please????!!!!! I would like to see everyone talk up Google buying MathCAD and get them to hire some first class mathematics types, team them with some good interface designers, and then build it into the future Chrome Operating system, side by side and compatible with all the cool stuff that Google is doing. 18. I have been a Mathcad user since 1987 when I bought 2.0 (DOS). I only use Mathcad 2000 Pro on XP Pro. The patches have made it quite usable although it still crashes more frequently than I like; turning off Automatic Calculation when you’re developing or editing a function helps a lot to prevent crashes. I upgraded to Mathcad 13 on XP Pro and uninstalled it after a few days – nothing but crash, crash, and crash. I am a Civil Engineer and a huge fan of Mathcad with a ton of functions that I have developed over the years. My library is the reason I will continue to use 2000 Pro until I retire in 10 years; frankly, I don’t give a damn about upgrades since I don’t use all of 2000 Pro’s features anyway. I only hope it will run fine on Windows 7 since I will probably have to abandon XP Pro in the near future just to remain abreast of other software. 19. Files for Mathcad 15 (dlls and exes) have version number 14.1.0.436. That is Mathcad 15 is Mathcad 14 plus a bit. Note to install Mathcad 15, Mathcad 14 (if present) must be un-installed first – but this does not apply to 11, 12 or 13. 20. Thanks for the info Paul. This ‘upgrade’ gets less impressive by the second. 21. Hi Mike, Thanks to you and all the readers for your comments regarding Mathcad 15.0. We always pride ourselves on the passionate community that has grown over the years around Mathcad. We are listening and always appreciate feedback, be it positive or negative. Though Mathcad 15.0 might not seem like a major release, recall that we initially planned to go from 14 directly to Prime. Instead, we responded to the community and provided additional functionality (DoE, READEXCEL, xlsx support, Win7 support) and fixes to the 14 base (Mathcad “Classic”), while working on Prime 1.0 in parallel. This gives our existing users some new functionality, fixes, and a strong product base to stand on while we work hard on Prime. Mathcad 15 will be supported by minor releases for some time while the community becomes comfortable with Mathcad Prime. We are very excited to release Prime 1.0 around the end of this year and to get it into the hands of the community. We’ve gotten very positive feedback so far. It has been a long time in the making and finally the light at the end of the tunnel is coming into view. Thanks again, Mike, et al., for the comments. -David B Mathcad PM 22. Thanks for the update Dave – I look forward to getting my hands on Prime. Cheers, Mike 23. After discovering the print preview bug in Mathcad 14, then learning the fix was available only at cost, PTC had lost a longtime MathCad user. Substitute software was searched for and found: the program Scientific Notebook, from http://www.mackichan.com/ It is a terrific WYSIWYG math word processor coupled with the MuPad computer algebra system. It’s nominal in cost, easy to use, works like a charm, and technical support is friendly and polite. Goodbye PTC! 24. Dave B – Making me pay for a version of software that does work versus the version that I purchased that doesn’t work just doesn’t make sense to me. I have used MathCAD since the DOS days and I love its functionality. But having to guess if the page has updated or not just doesn’t work for me. John Rand – Thank you for the link to MacKichen. With PTC fixing bugs only with a new version, I’m done with PTC, too! The new rally cry: “Goodbye PTC!!” PS – Has anyone contacted MacKichen and asked if we turn in a valid MathCAD license will they give us a price break? 25. I’ve used Mathcad since the DOS days. MCad 12, 13 and 14 were extrememly lousy versions, full of bugs. I dealt with the bugs described in this blog, but constant crashes due to memory leaks were the last straw. I tried to stay with Mathcad for as long as I could stand it. Spoke directly with PTC about my specific problems, but to no avail. I’ve dealt with PTC in the past regarding ProE and know how terrible their customer focus is. I finally abandoned Mathcad after being told that I must buy a service agreement to fix my defective SW. I went back to Mcad 11, the last good version, only to support my previous work. I finally swithched to Matlab, realizing that throwing good money after bad only helped PTC at my expense. I passed on the Mathcad 15 upgrade offer and am unlikely to return as long as PTC supports it. I will pass on Mathcad Prime until SP3 is released AND long-time customers are writing raving reviews about it. I have no confidence that PTC can return Mathcad to its former glory. How unfortunate, since Mathcad was at one time an exceptionally productive tool. 26. I have been using MathCAD for several versions. I am currently using 14. I like it because I can enter equations that look like equations; and I like the units conversion capability. I can enter an equation, get actual numeric results while making sure the units of measure balance… And then cut and paste the equations and results into a report. But the non-Academic version is way overpriced. I use it much like I use MS Excel for tables and it should be priced in the same range (e.g.300-$400) but the new 15 version is priced over$1,000. That is simply too high for the value provided. And, when I look at the new features in 15 vs 14, I really do not see any significant new ones.

–Doug

27. I have been a long time user of MathCad and last upgraded from 11 to 14 in 2007. I had been using version 14 with no problems until my hard drive crashed in March. It has been months trying to work with PTC, and I still cannot get 14 reinstalled to work OK! PTC support has been dreadful.

I am trying to reinstall MathCad off the original CD from 2007, so it is version 14.0.0.163 (build 701291152) on an IBM T42 laptop with XP Pro OS. In case you do not know, the current MathCad licenses are linked to the MAC address of the computer. So I have made sure I was doing the install with my wired MAC address active and the wireless MAC address disabled to that the active MAC address would match the one for the license.

I have repeated totally uninstalled MathCad 14 and then reinstalled it using the new license I was emailed. The license person (Giorgiana) who sent me the new email license opened a help ticket for me, but all I got out of that was an email telling me to uninstall and reinstall with the new license file. I reported back that did not work, but apparently that email fell into a black hole as I heard nothing back from it.

Why should I pay the ~$333.85 ($85 download + $240 maintenance +8.95 shipping)to upgrade to version 15 with (or I could pay$325 and choose not to take support!!) just to get a working version of MathCad when I already own MathCad 14? I am about to put PTC on a blacklist of vendors for my companies, unless somehow this gets straighten out! If anyone has any suggestions, please leave a message here and I will check back.

-Martha

28. Mathcad cannot be compared to Matlab or Mathematica, it’s in a league of it’s own, and perhaps there lies the problem when it concerns PTC. PTC in my view stands for very good software, but terrible support, mostly -to my feeling- because support is taken abroad to India or some other country in the east, secondly because PTC is convinced it’s software is incomparable with others, which is only partially true for ProE and Mathcad.

I’ve used Mathcad since Mathcad 5.0 plus (somewhere back in the mid 90’s) and have done things with it I never could or can perform on another tool like excel, Matlab or the like. The big plus with Mathcad is the user interface, combined with its unit awareness. This combination makes engineering and documenting so much more intuitive. When used properly, the available features can save you a lot of discussions, time and reasoning effort.

A few months ago, PTC released a survey among users to analyze what were the advantages and disadvantages of Mathcad. Value for money for sure is a big issue, as in the early days a license was a cost into tens of dollars, now we are indeed talking about +1000$, for virtually no extra features or improved performance (on the contrary even). Will that make me drop Mathcad? Yes and no. Yes if there is some real competition available. On the other hand, the connection between CAD (ProE) and Mathcad is a very big potential I hope PTC will try to materialize. When Mathcad can be used throughout ProE for relations and linked parameters, there’s no guessing the size of the impact that could have on the lead time of design projects I’m doing for the company. 29. After reading all the comments i believe i have found the Devil. MATHCAD 14 Why don’t you do a review of Scientific Notebook from MacKichan? 30. Try SMath just to see what only one man can do. I guaranty that you would be rather surprised. Btw, it is free. 31. I also have used MATHCAD since DOS days, however I fell out with upgrades about MATHCAD 11. When they introduced the XML file saving in 14 it became very unreliable, so I have just continued using 11. I find the use of units and the whiteboard ideal for engineering, however I agree with other users who say it is overpriced, and has not been imnproved for a while. 32. @Martha Martha, We have a new dedicated person to help with licensing issues. Please send him an email at mathcadlicensing@ptc.com, and he will fix your problem. Regards, Mona Zeftel Senior Mathcad Technical Consultant PTC 33. Hi there, I was a MathCad 14 user – now moved to new install of Prime on hp workstation running xp. I am having instability problems – locking/crashing whole machine – any one else have problems? Steve 34. @Mike B MATHCAD 15 has some issues, installation is not as smooth as earlier versions due to the licencing wrapping that comes with it, the PTC site is often slow to access. MATHCAD 15 won’t display true colour on a 64bit Windows 7 installation. The contour graphs just don’t show at all. The work round is to reduce the colour display to 16bit high colour – not what a premium product should do at all. PTC should really do better than that. 35. I just purchased Mathcad Prime and it came with 15 …..loaded 15 but the only product code was for prime so used trial after that it uninstalled my purchased 14 and then the computer Would not load prime..uninstalled 15…no longer have 14 and prime says I need SP2 for XP and I am running Windows 7…Now I have nothing and I have homework due please help me resolve 36. Last winter I bought MathCAD 15 upgrade from MathCAD 11 and attempted to install it on my 64 bit Windows 7 Home Premium computer with Norton 360 antivirus. Norton 360 said the MathCAD software was unsafe and would not let me install it. I removed the file and got a refund. I suspected that MathCAD 15 required Windows 7 Professional instead of Home Premium, so I have upgraded to Windows 7. I have not retried since. If I tried again would it install? 37. Interesting comments. I have been a loyal user since about Mathcad Ver. 6 – one of the first Windows versions – and have upgraded the product right along through the years. I stuck with MCAD 2000 for several years until I saw a very good “deal” to upgrade to 14, which I did. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I wasn’t purchasing a MATHSOFT product, but a product from PTC. When I first learned of the change, and realized that PTC were the same bunch that put out PRO/Engineer – which I have never used, but am familiar with through colleagues who swear by it – I thought it was a “good thing.” As if. Soon after the purchase, I learned that the old user paradigm, single-license users, was pretty much gone, and that PTC had introduced the typical (and godforsaken) business model of the big, ginormous engineering/technology user-base with licenses typically bought in quantity by the Boeings, Lockheeds and TRWs of the world. In other words, a little ol’ single-license user like myself wasn’t even worth thinking about. Oh, they’ll support you…if you start forking over hundreds per year in “support fees.” Now, this works fine if your are talking about Free-and-Open-Software like Redhat Linux, where they give the product away for free but charge you for the support. But PTC wanted to have it both ways: charge a goodly amount for the software AND for the support. Since then I have pretty much stopped using MathCad, finding that most of what I need to do can be done just fine with Excel, to be honest. I am interested in looking at Mathcad Prime, because it does seem to have engineering calcs in mind – that’s what I do. So we’ll see. But I am glad to know that I wasn’t alone in thinking PTC’s purchase of the Mathcad product was apparently done in complete ignorance of its user base. 38. “…PTC’s purchase of the Mathcad product was apparently done in complete ignorance of its user base.” For some Consultant/Client groups of users, MathcadPTC became extinct by lack of backward compatibility. No client is willing to repay and wait to recode 1000’s of work sheets [update to standards, optimize …]. By same token, the MathSoft knowledge mining collaboratory got deserted. By the end of February 2012 some lucky old collabs will have access to my web site [MCADeng] … 50% > 2750 pages of Mathcad 11 work sheets. 39. I have used Mathcad since v6 which I got on a very special offer – I think it was 50$ or so on a visit to Houston in a discount shop. I thought it was great and waas thereafter hookedalthough as usual I expected too much. It was great for documenting and explaining solutions (which often were thereafter implemented in Matlab for exploring numerically and plotting). I upgraded at each new release up to 2001i – there were a couple of intermediate releases with issues but they didn’t cost a bomb and eventually 2001i was pretty good and did most I wanted. Mathcad 11 I never installed – although I got a copy automatically – the reason I did not install it was PTC’s licensing policy – I had a number of PC’s laptop, work desktop, home desktop, backup laptop and mostly I used the home desktop but occasionally I wanted to use any one of them – so I stuck to 2001i. I did upgrade to Mathcad 14 (restricted to one computer) but was horrified to find that it would not save in 2001i readable format so I avoid using it.

So, eventually, and apologies for the verbosity, I got Maple on an offer (which I can set up on 2 PC’s). I am impressed by the capabilities but I can’t (yet ? – I hope) prepare documents in the mould of those I can in Matlab 2001i. I suspect that most of this is down to a lack of understanding/knowledge about the MAPLE way of doing things. Has anyone found a clear exposition of how to make the transition from Matlab to Maple for a simple engineer !

All the ‘less than complimentary’ comments I have seen regarding PTC attitude to users appear totally justified – it’s a shame, the Mathcad client base was very enthusiastic (Adept Scientific have always been good on support – PTC should listen to them more often !). I wish Maple had bought Mathcad to avoid the patents maze – then , what a product we could have had !