- The community. There are some heavyweight MATLAB users (Walter Roberson, Image Analyst, John D'Errico, Jan, and I'm sure I missed many of you) who have immense knowledge and are also very active on MATLAB Answers. However, the forum is full of people whose posts do not show any research work. They expect complete solutions without showing any effort. When Python users raise issues on GitHub/Gitlab, etc., I don't have this feeling. Related: I also feel that the open-source nature of Python produces quality contributors.
- Lack of momentum. There are too many awesome projects that stop because the maintainer a) lost interest or b) left the university and has no access to MATLAB any more. Being closed-source really hampers the development.
- Ecosystem. I can only talk about areas I experienced, but Python (and now Julia) has such an extensive ecosystem and an active and responsive community, that one does not have to start reimplementing everything. MATLAB toolboxes sometimes provide a solution but university clusters often miss many toolboxes.
- Editor. The MATLAB Editor (the classical one, not the Live Editor) is useful but misses some features that others have. As if the MATLAB linter was available for other editors too!
- OOP. Reading the threads, people criticize the OOP syntax of MATLAB. To me, it is not a problem (Python also explicitly needs the instance as the first method parameter), but custom types are really slow in MATLAB. I would love to have (nearly) costless abstraction as in Julia or in C++; it happened to be that because of speed issues I had to sacrifice readability and turn to built-in types to achieve reasonable speed.
- Lack of efficient data structures. Complex problems require fast hash maps, linked lists and other data structures.
- Parallelism. The fact that open source tools support many levels of parallelism and MATLAB offers it in a toolbox is a big drawback. Moreover, launching parallel pools open new MATLAB workers that spend about 700 MB each! I didn't see any efficient massively parallel applications done by MATLAB.
- Invoking C code, let alone C++, is difficult with the MEX interface. The really powerful MEX commands (see on UndocumentedMATLAB) are not documented and change all the time. You also cannot debug MEX code with MATLAB Editor.
- To generate standalone application, you need an additional toolbox. Moreover, the MATLAB runtime is huge, so for a simple application, you have to download hundreds of megabytes. The startup time is also very slow.
- TMW's focus on shiny features and the toolboxes. The core numerical algorithms changed very little in the past 20 years. To me, MATLAB's focus should be on computational mathematics (as it originally was) and not polishing the IDE and other secondary issues. Yes, they are important, but supporting tensor operations, introducing state-of-the-art ODE solvers (as Julia's wonderful DifferentialEquations.jl) would be more useful for a scientist. I would just highlight git support. If someone has to solve complex git-related tasks, they will use a feature-rich editor (such as SmartGit) or will use the command line. What I want to point out is that TMW spends its workforce on implementing many things into MATLAB that simply cannot compete with specialized tools (diff tools, git support, etc.). If they concentrated on the core of MATLAB (things that are unrelated to the IDE), all people could profit from it. I saw the tendency that computational scientists use MATLAB less and less because they need the features that other languages' rich ecosystems provide. Honestly, I am deeply disappointed that TMW tries to satisfy novice engineers instead of providing powerful tools. You are losing hardcore programmers and scientists this way (cf. points 1-3). I follow the release notes and bitterly recognize that in the last decade, almost no improvement was made for the core. Just the superficial features... Sigh...

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