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7 of the Best Free Linux Calculators

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the open-in-tabs dept.

Math 289

An anonymous reader writes "One of the basic utilities supplied with any operating system is a desktop calculator. These are often simple utilities that are perfectly adequate for basic use. They typically include trigonometric functions, logarithms, factorials, parentheses and a memory function. However, the calculators featured in this article are significantly more sophisticated with the ability to process difficult mathematical functions, to plot graphs in 2D and 3D, and much more. Occasionally, the calculator tool provided with an operating system did not engender any confidence. The classic example being the calculator shipped with Windows 3.1 which could not even reliably subtract two numbers. Rest assured, the calculators listed below are of precision quality."

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Useless. (3, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966900)

No maxima? How about kmplot?

Re:Useless. (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966974)

No maxima, but it can do altima and sentra.

Re:Useless. (1)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966986)

No dc? What kind of Linux is this guy smoking?

Re:Useless. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967206)

Desktop weed. The calculators in the article all have clicky-button interfaces.

Re:Useless. (5, Informative)

xororand (860319) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967566)

One of the mentioned calculators has a pretty usable CLI though: "Qalculate!" - a great calculator for dealing with units, especially currencies.

Example:

> sphere(2 furlong) * (1.293 g/m^3) to kilogram
approx. 352739.273 kg

Re:Useless. (2, Informative)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967630)

I am a huge fan of Landon Curt Noll's calc [isthe.com] program (known as "apcalc" in Debian/Ubuntu), and it's usually one of the very first things I install on my machine. It's CLI-only, and having it available to my via SSH means that I have a great calculator available to me anytime via my mobile phone. I don't care for RPN; calc lets me write an expression just like how I would on paper, so it is very intuitive. It has a large scientific library, too.

When I need to graph, I use gnuplot.

They left out RPL/2 (4, Interesting)

jdb2 (800046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966904)

While technically not a "calculator", unless you run it in interactive mode, RPL/2 [rpl2.net] is one of the oldest and most mature of any HP28/48/49/50 style UserRPL [wikipedia.org] interpreters.

What makes it so awesome is its ability to interface with the OS via POSIX compliant commands -- it's almost like using your HP48 as a scripting tool for Unix.Too bad they didn't mention it.

jdb2

RPN Better than algebraic? (1)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967636)

I've heard that RPN calculators save keystrokes, but my precalculus book listed RPN and algebraic keystrokes for various problems, and it seemed that the savings was only due to unnecessary keystrokes with the algebraic version. Looking at several examples in that book, I couldn't find one where an efficient user of an algebraic order calculator couldn't do the problems in just as few keystrokes. Could someone give an example of a problem where RPN uses fewer strokes than an algebraic order calculator (including what strokes are needed on the RPN)?

echo is good enough for me. (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966922)

#!/bin/bash
echo `$[2+2]`

Re:echo is good enough for me. (5, Insightful)

Gerald (9696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966948)

My favorite Linux calculator:

function math
{
        echo "scale=2 ; $*" | sed -e "s:x:*:g" | sed -e "s:,::g" | bc
}

$ math 12,147.2 x 3
36441.6

Re:echo is good enough for me. (1)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966968)

bc++

Missing (3, Informative)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966928)

$ dc

Re:Missing (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966978)

> $ dc

And bc.

Stick with the classics (1)

Denis Lemire (27713) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966930)

'dc' is the only calculator you'll ever need!

Re:Stick with the classics (2, Funny)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967280)

Desktop calculators are for losers, and here's why:

Everybody knows that all real engineers use a slide rule.

In those rare cases where a slide rule doesn't quite cut it you have a perfectly good excuse to go and ask the hot intern three cubicles down for help. Chicks dig guys who can admit a shortcoming, and who dare ask for help when they can't quite figure it out. It's an almost idiot proof way to score, second only to having pictures of nephews/nieces/puppies on your desk. So get yourself a slide rule and the rest is up to you: What has your desktop calculator done for you lately?

Re:Stick with the classics (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967536)

Bah, real engineers use an abacus. Quite a bit quicker once you get the hang of it too.

For most people ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966932)

anything more complicated than adding a few numbers, it's easier to open a spreadsheet than to learn how any particular calculator functions.

Re:For most people ... (5, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966946)

anything more complicated than adding a few numbers, it's easier to open a spreadsheet than to learn how any particular calculator functions.

Or "anything more complicated than adding a few numbers, it's easier to open a calculator than to learn how any particular spreadsheet functions".

That's really just a fancy way of saying that you are familiar with a spreadsheet, and not with a calculator program.

Re:For most people ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967180)

no, it's saying that the interface to most of the calculators is a royal pain in the ass, and most people won't be sure that they've gotten the right answer, because they ARE a royal PITA to use - no two are alike beyond the basics.

This is a problem in the "real world" as well - nobody uses most of the functions on their fancy non-virtual calculators because it's a real PITA to figure them out.

Huh? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967348)

Are we worried now about the math results of people who can't figure out a calculator? Why?

Re:For most people ... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967204)

That's really just a fancy way of saying that you are familiar with a spreadsheet, and not with a calculator program.

Maybe it's just a way of saying that he thinks visually instead of mathematically, and finds it more useful to see an entire spreadsheet with notes and information, where he can look at parts of the formula at once.

I'm math-challenged, and find the spreadsheet easier to use, too. It's not because I know Excel better than bc. I don't really know either worth a shit. It's because I think visually, and not numerically. My hat's off to you if you can think numerically, but I haven't learned how yet.

Don't be so sure you know everything.

Re:For most people ... (2, Interesting)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967356)

Perhaps at first blush, your reaction might seems right. But it only takes the a slight bit of thought to realize that most calculator interfaces, regardless of OS, mimic those of a physical world calculator - that is to say they don't take advantage of the extended output options of a desktop display and require you interact with numbers in the same archaic way as the physical models. A spreadsheet, on the other hand, allows you to keep all kinds of numbers all over the place for quick reference in addition to allowing you to quickly apply similar functions across different sets of numbers or more easily write more complex mathematical equations. Even when you calculator app allows that kind of thing, it's almost always more complicated to learn than its worth, and is way more easily done by just popping open a spreadsheet. As the parent said, anything more complicated than just adding a few numbers; I'm inclined to agree.

Re:For most people ... (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967064)

Or for those who already use the R package, that's also nice. When dc doesn't cut it, I fire up R.

Also, this never clicked for me, but it seems like a good idea: http://dirk.eddelbuettel.com/code/littler.html [eddelbuettel.com]

Re:For most people ... (1)

HouseOfMisterE (659953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967388)

anything more complicated than adding a few numbers, it's easier to open a spreadsheet than to learn how any particular calculator functions.

Not if you use the Google Apps spreadsheet program. It doesn't round by default and gives weird results to some of the simplest math. Play around with it a bit and you'll see.

Re:For most people ... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967416)

They said the same thing about the abacus.

Re:For most people ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967632)

This article just proved I am addicted to the internet. I'm reading about linux calculators and I don't even run linux.

Where's DC/BC? (5, Informative)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966942)

DC [computerhope.com] or BC [computerhope.com] are more than adequate, are already in 99% of the distros out there and are chock full of features!

Re:Where's DC/BC? (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967020)

bc is crippled by the past in classic Unix style. Why does scale default to 0? Because otherwise you break things.

Re:Where's DC/BC? (1, Insightful)

Cow Jones (615566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967184)

bc is crippled by the past in classic Unix style. Why does scale default to 0? Because otherwise you break things.

alias bc='bc -ql'

Re:Where's DC/BC? (1)

michaelmuffin (1149499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967240)

hoc, the successor to bc, does not have this particular annoyance

Re:Where's DC/BC? (2, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967446)

What does it matter what the default is? Put your preferred scale in your .bcrc file and be done with it.

Re:Where's DC/BC? (2, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967130)

> DC or BC are more than adequate...

But they (shudder, moan, recoil in fear) involve the *COMMAND* *LINE*!!!

digg (0, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966964)

why no digg button? Is it because they already posted this story and have that dupe thing figured out?

Re:digg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967196)

No, it's because Slashdot has a policy of only posting stories at least a week after they've been posted to Digg. So there's no need to share on Digg, because Digg will already have covered any Slashdot story AGES ago.

Read Slashdot for the comments (especially because the stories are often flat-out wrong), read Digg for current news.

hp48 (5, Interesting)

tantrum (261762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967002)

I'm amazed they left out the hp48 emulator. It was an amazing calculator, and the emulator does exactly what it it is supposed to do - everything.

It did everything a calculator is supposed to do, and it was _almost_ able to boil my coffee.

After my 10 years working with programming, this is still the environment i love the most. Actually it is probably the only thing i still know the exact location of at all times.

I love beeing a geek :)

Re:hp48 (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967326)

There was a disturbance in the force when Carly the Horrible 86'd the calculator line at HP, and collective sigh when they came back. I keep a sheet of 1/8" aluminum in the front of my HP48Gx soft case to protect the LCD when it's in there. I can't imagine engineering without it. I fully expect to have it buried with me when I die.

RPN FTW!

Re:hp48 (2, Interesting)

dasqua (57144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967404)

My hp48gx has been my calculator of choice ever since I first got it. Still works fine.

The benefit of this:
    quicker to use, 1 second startup
    portable, its a physical device
    easily upload results to the PC when needed

I also use python/SAGE...

How about a symbolic calculator? (3, Interesting)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967040)

I still use the TI89 that I've had for almost 10 years, because to this day I have yet to find a desktop symbolic calculator that satisfies me.

I use matlab for work, and its command line interface to maple is decent. What I really want, though, is to somehow combine a command line interface with a nice typeset display - visually parsing the results is so much faster that way. Does such a thing exist?

Re:How about a symbolic calculator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967128)

Same here; although I've only had my Ti89 for a few years. What I really want in fact, is a good calculator application for my N900. You'd think there is some money in it, I paid a couple hundred dollars for my Ti89 and it's paid for itself many times over. And I'd gladly pay $100 for an app that allowed me to carry around my Ti89; and bonus points if it's even better (a nicer UI wouldn't be hard, and wolfram alfa style working out would be awesome)

Re:How about a symbolic calculator? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967470)

Don't know how good it will work, as I don't run Linux or have an N900, but here [ticalc.org] is a Ti emulator for Ti89-92+ that has Linux, Win32, and Mac ports. Maybe you can give it a spin and tell us how well it works? It wants GTK on Windows and I have no desire to install GTK.

Re:How about a symbolic calculator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967420)

A pricey but uber powerful version of this is mathcad, it runs on the same base as maple but has an excellent interface.

Christ (1, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967046)

Half the people on this site probably weren't even alive when Windows 3.1 came out... could you guys give the pointless Microsoft bashing a rest? Just once, ever?

Could we maybe just get over it instead of posting another "LOLZ Microsoft BOB is bad guyz!!"

This shit pisses me off.

Re:Christ (4, Funny)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967158)

Crikey. I had to use that cr*p. There is no way any company that put out a product like Windows 3.1 could ever be bashed enough.

Re:Christ (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967222)

It wasn't that bad for the time. Worked even on low end hardware. OS/2 surely was much better, but also much more memory-hungry.

Re:Christ (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967246)

Half the people on this site probably weren't even alive when Windows 3.1 came out... could you guys give the pointless Microsoft bashing a rest? Just once, ever?

Windows 3.1 was released in, what, 1993? 17 years ago. So the majority of slashdot posters are less than 17 years of age, by your reasoning. I find that unlikely as the median age in the US is 36.7 years of age. That is where most slashdot posters are located...

Re:Christ (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967288)

You forget that Slashdot has got a very specific target audience. There are lots of young folks here. When I started posting here more than a decade ago I wasn't even 20 myself (and back then Microsoft bashing even made some sense).

BTW Windows 3.1 was released in 1992.

Re:Christ (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967526)

1992. It's easy for me to remember that because that's the same year Wolfenstein 3D was released.

Also, you're making unwarranted assumptions about the demographics of Slashdot versus the general US population.

Re:Christ (2, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967274)

You kinda make a good point. In my opinion, the difference between a calculator and a program is a GUI interface with buttons for numbers and functions. Almost everything mentioned in the discussion(but not the article) are command-line calculators and computer algebra systems.

Gnome's calculator is excellent for basic stuff. Compared to Windows, Linux is still severely lacking with the usability of Computer Algebra Systems - many of which are still commmand-line( in before 'Get off my lawn'), though some have very crappy GUI wrappers which open plots in new windows. That's one of my biggest pet peeves as a student and recent Linux convert. Needing 2 or three open windows(terminal, gui, plots) is too cluttered for those of us who are spoiled with things like Maple*. On the other end of the usability spectrum, there's the labyrinthine Sage, which requires running in Mozilla if you want a GUI! That caused usability problems with NoScript even before I started to use the damn thing, and now it won't even start again without tinkering. I might even make room for a Windows partition for Maple or Matlab, or run them in VMs.

* Yes, I know they make 'em for *NIX. They just might be the first Linux programs I'll actually buy.

Re:Christ (2, Funny)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967350)

Just get off the lawn, kid. Or, mow it. When we want your opinion, we'll offer you an ice cream.

Re:Christ (2, Funny)

westyvw (653833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967362)

You are right. Microsoft has gone on to design much more then faulty calculators. Lets move on. Now they design faulty spreadsheets.

Re:Christ (1)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967396)

Around 1985 I bought my fourth computer: an 8086 based system running Xenix, Microsoft's Unix.

Windows 3.1 was vastly inferior. They're back sliders.

Re:Christ (1)

the pickle (261584) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967452)

Half the people on this site probably weren't even alive when Windows 3.1 came out

In which case, now would seem a very appropriate time to quote Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Perhaps it would be instructive to have a link in TFS to something explaining exactly *why* the Windows 3.1 calculator was so deficient in its abilities. You know, for the kiddies who weren't alive back then.

p

Re:Christ (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967514)

Wasn't that the joke at the time? "What's the difference between Windows 3.11 and Windows 3.1?"

There is no difference. 3.11 - 3.1 = 0

Another vote for BC (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967056)

Yep, it's "bc". If bc isn't sufficient, it's "bc -l". If even that won't do it, I move to sage.

And if you're younger than Windows 3.1... GET OFF MY LAWN.

I use bc and like better than any GUI (4, Informative)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967060)

I use bc and I like better than any GUI based calculator. Compiled with readline functionality, it just rocks in my humble opinion:

~$ bc
bc 1.06
Copyright 1991-1994, 1997, 1998, 2000 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
For details type `warranty'.
scale=5
(2*80/3.333)^3
110625.18091
((2*80/3.333)^3)/21
5267.86575

man bc for details

Re:I use bc and like better than any GUI (2, Interesting)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967138)

I forgot to mention that I use it in scripts too:

~$ (echo scale=5 ; echo 22/7) | bc
3.14285
~$

Calculators: useless; Languages: useful (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967068)

Calculators are useful as handheld devices, but you may as well use an interpreted programming language if you're on a computer. That is particularly true if you consider yourself a Unix user. So my favourites are:

bc: fast to use, arbitrary precision, and it seems to be universally available
awk: faster to use when you are performing the same calculation many times over
python: has a richer library of mathematics functions

Re:Calculators: useless; Languages: useful (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967262)

The only issue with Python is that it is awkward to use decimals. Sure, floats are good enough most of the time, but not all of the time.

I use frink when I don't want to think about representation problems:

http://futureboy.us/frinkdocs/ [futureboy.us]

The support for units isn't nearly as cheesy a feature as you would think.

Python (1)

petscii (318753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967070)

I gave up on all the software calculators a few years back. Now I use python almost exclusively. In fact if I could get a Ti-82 form factor that ran nothing but Python I'd be happy.

This was a natural progression, not something that I forced myself to do. I really like how you can create the rules of the universe and make your own python modules and re-use them. I've done this for my DC and AC theory classes. As well as microprocessor.

The only downside to this is when I need to give the data to someone else to look at. Now I can export to XLS via python as well.

Re:Python (1)

hoytak (1148181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967296)

I'll second that! Python makes calculating fun again.

Re:Python (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967318)

I remember in college needing to plot parametric equations to print out, and not knowing how to do so in any available software. so I wrote my own plotter in Python in roughly an hour.. Powerful language.

Re:Python (1)

DEmmons (1538383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967584)

yeah, i'll admit that python is the only calculator i use anymore, and i have gotten lazy enough to use it for a lot of things any really smart person would be able to compute mentally in a second or two. python is fun and makes sense to me.

Nonpareil (1)

thecross (1313393) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967084)

http://nonpareil.brouhaha.com/ [brouhaha.com] Calculator sim. I think one of the older versions can emulate the HP 15C.

Emacs Calc (5, Informative)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967086)

Emacs Calc, i.e. "M-x calc" in Emacs is by far the best calculator I've ever seen.

Here's the blurb from the manual:

"Calc" is an advanced calculator and mathematical tool that runs as part of the GNU Emacs environment. Very roughly based on the HP-28/48 series of calculators, its many features include:

  • Choice of algebraic or RPN (stack-based) entry of calculations.
  • Arbitrary precision integers and floating-point numbers.
  • Arithmetic on rational numbers, complex numbers (rectangular and polar), error forms with standard deviations, open and closed intervals, vectors and matrices, dates and times, infinities, sets, quantities with units, and algebraic formulas.
  • Mathematical operations such as logarithms and trigonometric functions.
  • Programmer's features (bitwise operations, non-decimal numbers).
  • Financial functions such as future value and internal rate of return.
  • Number theoretical features such as prime factorization and arithmetic modulo M for any M.
  • Algebraic manipulation features, including symbolic calculus.
  • Moving data to and from regular editing buffers.
  • Embedded mode for manipulating Calc formulas and data directly inside any editing buffer.
  • Graphics using GNUPLOT, a versatile (and free) plotting program.
  • Easy programming using keyboard macros, algebraic formulas, algebraic rewrite rules, or extended Emacs Lisp.

That list gives you a bit of an idea, but doesn't really capture how just darn cool Calc is; it just seems to do everything.... (The things I particularly value are the vector/matrix operations and the symbolic manipulation operators.)

It's (default) model is HP-style RPN, except of course with a much larger visible stack, and multi-level undo.

[You have to be careful tho because recent releases of Emacs come with two calculators -- a "simple" one, which you get with "M-x calculator", and the super incredible one you get with "M-x calc"... (yes it's kind of silly, but as usual with Emacs, there are historical reasons...]

Re:Emacs Calc (4, Funny)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967194)

TFA was talking about the Linux operating system and not the emacs operating systems...

Re:Emacs Calc (1)

chelberg (1712998) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967482)

There's a difference?

Re:Emacs Calc (1)

chelberg (1712998) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967492)

I just tried calculating log(500!) and it crashed emacs! Arbitrary precision up to its internal limits.

Re:Emacs Calc (5, Informative)

kinthalas (102827) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967548)

<'log(500!)>

Computation got stuck or ran too long.  Type `M' to increase the limit

<M>

max-lisp-eval-depth is now 2000

<'log(500!)>

2611.33045846

Re:Emacs Calc (1)

siride (974284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967604)

That's always true. It's not infinite precision. There's no such thing.

Sig figs? (1)

GrouchoMarx (153170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967092)

the calculators listed below are of precision quality

To how many significant digits? We need to know what level of precision we're working with.

Re:Sig figs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967112)

And what the hell does "precision quality" even mean?

Re:Sig figs? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967640)

> We need to know what level of precision we're working with.

With bc and dc, infinite.

If you're a mac user (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967110)

Slightly OT, but if you're a Mac user, I highly recommend the PEMDAS Widget [donkeyentertainment.com] , which is just that tiny bit more powerful than a typical desktop calculator to make it 100x as useful.

HP42S Simulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967114)

My vote is for Thomas Okken's HP42S simulator. My favorite calculator from university days is resurrected!

Use Google (1)

chipschap (1444407) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967124)

Google's quick calculator does a lot more than I ever realized before I started using it for quick one-liners.

Re:Use Google (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967170)

Totally agree. Google calculator is one of the most awesome things [google.com] ever.

Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967132)

Just type your equation into Google. Works on Windows, Linux, Mac, iPad, BSD, etc.

Re:Google (1)

F452 (97091) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967376)

Google's calculator is just a front-end to "bc". :-)

SpeedCrunch (4, Informative)

Cow Jones (615566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967168)

I've really come to like the SpeedCrunch calculator, which is available as a Debian package, and (according to their website [speedcrunch.org] ) also runs on Windows and Mac. It's probably not inteded for scientific calculations, and it can't display graphs, but it has a very simple interface ideal for quick calculations. The tooltip with the current result of unfinished expressions is a nice touch, as is the history of past calculations (session).

CJ

Re:SpeedCrunch (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967330)

I use SpeedCrunch Portable on my flashdrive (for WinXP machines) and have used it for the past several years while in IT Skool. I never had to do much in the way of graphing so the lack of graphing with SpeedCrunch never bothered me.

Other than that, I still generally find it easier to just to type in to Google whatever simple math problem I'm needing to solve.

Re:SpeedCrunch (1)

enter to exit (1049190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967340)

yep. I also found SpeedCrunch to be a top notch desktop calculator.
It has the best UI for those of us with butterfingers as the history is always visible

Use your head people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967178)

I mean really, use your head.

Input: typically ears or eyes, or fingers if you are blind.
Output: fingers (written) or mouth (oral)
Processor: brain

Re:Use your head people (1)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967234)

Can you use your head to list the first 4 zeros of the second-order Bessel function of the first kind? Neither can I, that's why I use something like matlab or octave.

Re:Use your head people (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967540)

Processor: brain

My head doesn't contain a brain! It contains a highly parallel learning neural super computer.

Great ones (2, Interesting)

AlexWillisson (1348553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967230)

I don't know about those in the article (never heard of any of them), but here's what I use: Emacs M-x calc, maxima and QtOctave. Gnuplot for graphs. Often Google or python shell for quick things, if I'm too lazy to open emacs calc. I'm surprised none of those were mentioned in article.

octave in an xterm (4, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967272)

what more could you possibly want?

Arbitrary precision math libraries (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967282)

On a related note, does anyone know of a good arbitrary precision decimal math library, preferably for Mono/.NET? Everything I've tried seems to crap out on division of numbers in the range of 10^100000. So far I've had to use arbitrary precision integer libraries, then use the old fixed point math hacks that used to be common before CPUs had floating point support.

I might be biased, but... (4, Interesting)

Enleth (947766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967286)

I prefer the Python interactive shell and GNU Octave [gnu.org] (or any other Matlab-compatible environment, including Matlab itself) for numerical calculations, Asymptote [sourceforge.net] for plots and other methods of data visualisation, Maxima [sourceforge.net] when a CAS is in order and LaTeX to turn all the stuff generated by those packages into something readable and publishable.

Throw in some scripted links between all those tools, a few functions from Peter Acklam's Matlab Utilities [online.no] , your favourite function for converting a matrix to a LaTeX table and saving it into a file in a single call, a few exec()-equivalents here and there, and you'll get a rig that auto-regenerates your report/publication/thesis/shopping list/whatever else you might have been doing, in a single run of a single program, should you spot a mistake somewhere deep in the calculations, or a typo in the input.

For one, I don't think I'll ever understand people who use spreadsheets. And copy their results to the word processor. And then spot a mistake in a formula, fix it and proceed to copy the new, correct results from scratch. And then spot a typo in the data.

Why biased? Well, I'm studying control systems and robotics. It's all about task automation. Besides, everything in this field involves using Matlab for something, and just about everyone in the academia (the technical side of it, at least) is using LaTeX, so you just kind of get used to using those two for just about anything after a while, and automating everything with scripts.

Of course, the above assumes somtheing more complicated than a few basic operations in a single line. We're talking about sophisticated calculators here. For simple tasks I'm just using Google [google.com] ...

Exercise (2, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967308)

OK linux calculator and math geeks, here's a question I have wondered about before. This is just for fun, show off your leet skillz. Start with the first released linux kernel, get the size, look at some major releases, etc, do your magic as of today's sized kernel, and give us the best guess in your graph or projection when the kernel will reach or exceed one gigabyte in size, the release date as close as possible.

Sage? (2, Interesting)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967322)

Why hasn't anyone mentioned sage yet? It is quite bloated for a calculator (it's intended to rival Mathematica, not MS Calc), but it does plain old arithmetic, calculus, equation solving, factoring and plotting (2d, 3d, 2d/3d implicit, complex, complex implicit) quite well.

Sage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967354)

Try Sage (sagemath.org). It can be finicky to install, but is a great CAS! It also will integrate with Octave, Maxima, R, GAP, Python, and several other programs. The typesetting is great and the graphs look good too.

How about a construction calculator? (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967368)

Anyone know of such a thing on linux?

Re:How about a construction calculator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967448)

Yes please! I used to sell a great but expensive hardware calc in the 80s that made conversion between metric and imperial painless. I'd love to have that in software.

Re:How about a construction calculator? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967648)

What is a construction calculator?

It's all about the tape! (3, Interesting)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967374)

The Linux calculator we use at work is gtapecalc: http://gtapecalc.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

It is oldler, but a great business calculator. The best feature it has is the ability to emulate a calculator WITH A PRINTOUT TAPE! So you can see everything you did, edit those numbers, add comments, even print the "tape".

i'll calculate something for you linfags (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967400)

your chance of getting aids for taking a dick in the ass is 100%

orpie (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967454)

i found orpie http://pessimization.com/software/orpie/ [pessimization.com] to be very useful during intro to AC circuits back at university. it handles input in both polar and rectangular notation and will output the answer in either. a fast RPN calculator. The only thing i haven't found is a calculator to do symbolic algebra, as in solve things in terms of sqrt(2)'s and such for me.

Not much of a review (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967480)

And if i want a reverse polish calculator, i would have installed FORTH. I would guess from the text, that extcalc was the best. They could have spared more than one line for each of 7 programs.

---

Linux [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Re:Not much of a review (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967586)

I miss my hp41cv, lost in collage dorms. *cry*

Python+Numpy+Scipy+Matplotlib (2, Informative)

acheron12 (1268924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967626)

What more could you need? (Acceptable answer: Sage? [sagemath.org] )
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