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-Although this article is mainly about using Sage, especially in the classroom, there are some
+Although this article is mainly about using Sage, especially in the classroom, there are some
meta-mathematical issues it's hard not to discuss.
<h2 id="History">A brief history</h2>
-<p>Mathematical software of one kind or another has been around since the 1960's. There are a number of
+<p>Mathematical software of one kind or another has been around since the 1960's. There are a number of
proprietary ones, of course, but a number of free programs have been heavily used as well. In symbolic
-computation one may think of <a href="http://maxima.sourceforge.net/">Maxima</a>,
-<a href="http://www.gap-system.org/">GAP</a> is heavily used in group theory, <a
-href="http://pari.math.u-bordeaux.fr/">Pari</a> in number theory, and so forth. <a href="http://www.geogebra.org/cms/">Geogebra</a>
-is another great tool that has been mentioned in this very publication.</p>
+computation one may think of <a href="http://maxima.sourceforge.net/">Maxima</a>,
+<a href="http://www.gap-system.org/">GAP</a> is heavily used in group theory, <a
+href="http://pari.math.u-bordeaux.fr/">Pari</a> in number theory, and so forth.
+<a href="http://www.geogebra.org/cms/">Geogebra</a>
+is one of many other great tools that have been profiled in this very publication.</p>
<p>But many other programs are proprietary. This particularly bothered the founder of Sage, William Stein,
-because it was actually quite plausible that a student of his might work on a research topic in
+because it was actually quite plausible that a student of his might work on a research topic in
computational number theory, but then not be able to afford the software it was implemented in. Starting
from scratch, he started a new program based on the Python language to glue together many other pieces.</p>
-<p>Over the past six years, these pieces (including Maxima, GAP, and Pari, and hopefully soon to include Geogebra)
-were added to thousands (FIXME: millions?) of lines of new code to provide a system that is licensed
-in such a way that improvements to it will never be the matter of paying for an upgrade. FIXME: obviously
-too strident - better wording</p>
+<p>Over the past several years, these pieces (including Maxima, GAP, Pari, MathJax, and many others)
+were added to many many thousands of lines of new code to provide a comprehensive system. And it's
+a system that is licensed in such a way that improvements to it will always be fully available to the
+entire mathematical community, no matter how many resources one has.</p>
-<p>This is quite friendly to pedagogy, because we can actually point students to the underlying
-algorithms, to verify that it really is what the textbook says. In many less computational areas,
+<p>This approach is also quite friendly to pedagogy, because we can actually point students to the underlying
+algorithms, to verify that it really is what the textbook says. In many areas,
it's also possible for them to directly contribute.</p>
-<p>FIXME: This all was weak. Also include something about not competing, but complementing, things
+<p>Though Sage's mission is to be a viable alternative to similar proprietary software, the developers do not
+see Sage as competing with other open-source alternatives; each project has a different type
+of interface and goal. There are examples of people using WeBWorK, LaTeX, Geogebra, Sage, and Moodle together
+with proprietary programs as appropriate for the institution and the needs of each course.</p>
<h2 id="Contrib">Contributing to Sage</h2>
-<p>FIXME: Put in at least some content here.</p>
+<p>If that vision of cooperation for the community excites you, there are many ways to contribute to Sage. Here
+are just a few ideas.</p>
+<li>Just telling us about your experiences using Sage helps improve it! For instance, contributing your
+pedagogical thoughts to the <a href="https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/sage-edu">sage-edu Google
+group</a> gives others the chance to respond to ideas. Using the public
+<a href="http://aleph.sagemath.org/">Sage cell server</a> allows caching of common requests, like "2+2".</li>
+<li>If you find what appears to be an error or have some functionality you wish were in Sage but isn't yet, then all
+of the places mentioned in the section on <a href="Help.html" class="internal">help</a> are great places to ask. For
+those who don't mind signing up for a developer account on <a href="http://trac.sagemath.org/sage_trac/">the Sage Trac</a>
+of bugs and enhancement requests, you can create a ticket there complete with details of what went wrong.</li>
+<li>Finally, for those who don't mind actually typing a little bit in the actual files or have some programming experience,
+there are three great ways to get involved - ask on the
+<a href="https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/sage-devel">Sage developer list</a> for details:
+<li>If you feel like there is some additional documentation that might help others do even better,
+contributing such documentation is definitely valued by the community.</li>
+<li>No matter how trivial, fixing bugs, typos, and documentation errors is the way many of us first moved
+from users to developers.</li>
+<li>And naturally, for those with more significant background - or the willingness to learn - there are
+all kinds of programming projects, with as little or as much mathematical content as one would like.</li>
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