Maxima is a free version of Macsyma (Project MAC SYMbolic MAthematics program), one of the oldest Computer Algebra Systems (CAS), created by project MAC (MIT's Project on Mathematics and Computation) in the late 1960s. It was originally coded for a PDP computer. Around 1982 a version dubbed as Vaxima started to be distributed for the VAX computers. Professor William Schelter, a mathematics professor at the University of Texas, Austin, continued to develop that version and in 1998 was granted permission form the Department of Energy, who own the rights to Macsyma, to distribute it as Free Software, under the name of Maxima.
After the death of professor Schelter in 2001, a group of volunteers was formed to continue the development and distribution of Maxima. I joined that development team in 2006.