In a previous comment, J. Tarr asks "what is Maple primarily intended to do?", and suggests that I might have something to say on the topic.
And indeed I do. To me, Maple is primarily a tool for assisting in the solution to problems of a mathematical nature. By ``of a mathematical nature'', I mean problems that can be successfully attacked with mathematics, so that this includes problems from physics, chemistry, circuit analysis, mechanical engineering, etc. And while a magic tool (like solve, int or simplify) can sometimes be a one hit wonder towards the solution of a problem, the expectation should be that multiple steps will be needed.
I definitely include education in the above, as to me it is not possible to separate education from problem-solving. You need education to be a good problem solver, and problem solving is a learning process.
In a later blog post, I will turn to the question of ``What makes such a tool different?'', ie how is it different than developping software like Word, Linux or Firefox. But here I want to talk about ``is Maple about math research?".
Undeniably, without the huge amount of research that went into it, Maple would not be what it is today. But at this point in time, two things are true: 1) more research can be done to improve Maple, and 2) as a product, Maple is ``mature''. The issue here is that, being mature, much research might point to developments in areas of Maple that can't be done without breaking backwards compatibility. The upshot is that most of the research done in Maplesoft-sponsored labs has become less about core Maple and more about specialized mathematics (there is great work being done, just not about core). It seems that Maplesoft is best described now as 'friendly to select research' rather than research-intensive. From the perspective of a mature product for a for-profit company, this makes a lot of sense.
We can easily observe what Maplesoft thinks Maple is about: it is about capturing greater market share by expanding into more application areas (largely in the engineering market). There is also a large push on a notion of usability that seems to be all about pointy-clicky widgets.
What do others think?