I have an email to Ara to add me as an editor.  I think you are right
about getting something running.  If we wrap a whole bunch of
libraries, it might be slow, but a design is what we are after, and
optimization can happen later.

While I am thinking about it, here is a somewhat random brain dump of
everything I would like to see:

Symbolic
--Solving symbolic algebra
--Applying "normal" mathematics to data as blocks

Data:
--Data acquisition (netCDF, internet, SQL, native, etc)
--Data storage
--Session persistence
--Concurrent access
--Data communication
--Views of data--I prefer as matrices with sparse extra info, but in R
you can have data frames with all sorts of weird types in the rows
("ordered factors")
--SQL
--Data organization while working (hierarchies, stacks a la HP
calculators, that R command where you say "I am working on dataframe x
now", etc, setting up contexts in a session to make working easier)
--Speed and space considerations
--Views and handles--maybe pass through to persistent storage
sometimes?

Math
--Numerical routines (linear algebra is often the base, but
minimization, etc)
--....  I show my lack of more than a B.A. in math here...
--Pay attention to various branches, from statisticians to number
theorists
--Units! (I hate units!)

Visualization
--2-d plots, but with many plots on a page, many lines or whatever on a
plot
--3-d
--Fancy stuff like VTK, or ???
--Slightly specialized applications (viewing directed graphs, etc)

Other
--Geographic stuff
--Learning curve: starting should be easy, progressing should be linear
--Integration with version control

Output
--Printable graphics--latex, pdfs, etc
--Integrating text with graphics nicely
--Integrating our text with other programs


Playing nice with the rest of the world
--Internet
--Databases
--Metadata, central who knows what
--Instrument input

Interaction modes/stuff
--Interactive session
--Batch
--Server
--Hooks

Models (other languages)
--Octave/Matlab
--R/Splus
--IDL
--Connection based visualization languages (OpenDX)
--Connection based processing (ArcView Model Builder)
--Verilog
--ML/Prolog pattern matching etc (useful?)
--Erlang message passing (just brainstorming, remember...)