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GNU Octave Gets a GUI

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the grumblers-gonna-grumble dept.

Math 166

jones_supa writes "GNU Octave — the open source numerical computation suite compatible with MATLAB — is doing very well. The new 3.8 release is a big change, as it brings a graphical user interface, a feature which has long been requested by users. It is peppered with OpenGL acceleration and uses the super fast FLTK toolkit for widgets. The CLI interface still remains available and GNUplot is used as a fallback in cases where OpenGL or FLTK support is not available. Other changes to Octave 3.8 are support for nested functions with scoping rules, limited support for named exceptions, new regular expressions, a TeX parser for the FLTK toolkit, overhauls to many of the m-files, function rewrites, and numerous other changes and bug fixes."

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166 comments

Open Sores Copies Another Innovative Product Yet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805645)

Again.

Yay?

Perhaps it's time for you linix freaks to stop stealing other people's stuff, stop whining, and do some original stuff of your own, hmm?

Oh wait, no, this comment will predictably be voted down because y'all don't want to hear it.

Re:Open Sores Copies Another Innovative Product Ye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805669)

Maybe you should stop stealing your posts from innovative trolls.

Is it a competitor? (3, Interesting)

Toe, The (545098) | about 4 months ago | (#45805707)

In the past year, I've never seen a time when Mathworks wasn't hiring hundreds of people [mathworks.com] . They even run sponsorships (read: ads) on NPR all the time about how many jobs they have.

How does Octave or any other open source tool hold up against something with so many resources behind it?

I'm asking honestly. I know Apache and Firefox certainly do pretty well, but the former has a huge business community using it, and the latter has an enormous consumer user base. How do smaller projects compare to big software tools? For example, isn't it generally understood among graphic artists that Gimp doesn't measure up to Photoshop?

Re:Is it a competitor? (4, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#45805757)

For example, isn't it generally understood among graphic artists that Gimp doesn't measure up to Photoshop?

Yes, but you get a lot more bang for your buck.

Re: Is it a competitor? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805801)

Error: Divide by zero.

Does not compute.

Not really (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806285)

The cost of using Gimp is not really zero. At least, if you are coming from a Photoshop background. You have to invest some time (surprisingly little!) in getting to know the software. It is, however, very capable software and the out-of-pocket cost is nil. It may be that investing some time is a good business proposition. It has been for me, as an independent graphics artist.

I find Gimp to be a very capable application. My workflow isn't, in any way, hampered by choosing Gimp in stead of Photoshop. Yes, that took some time, and at times it was a steep learning curve. But I wouldn't go back to Photoshop for the kind of projects I do. I'd feel cramped if I'd have to.

Re: Is it a competitor? (4, Insightful)

vlueboy (1799360) | about 4 months ago | (#45806781)

Error: Divide by zero.

Does not compute.

In a perfect world where piracy is zero, all people who will not pay for Photoshop are forced to use GIMP and other alternatives, or just stay out of the race. The problem in our world is few people see piracy as a problem and make statements such as this as if Adobe's boxes were all marked "MSRP: $0" instead of $600 or $1000 for the non-student versions. Just skip this post if you advocate otherwise. I don't want your reasons.

If you basically have no barriers to acquiring Photoshop, then sadly there's no reason to "invest" on the less developed product, even if it is ALSO free.

Adobe and Microsoft both know that piracy tends to drive adoption out of increased eyeballs on the de-facto tools. This hurts the number of developers who would otherwise improve Gimp out of sheer need. We have Linux today because someone in the nineties wanted a free alternative. Someone like that living in today's pirate friendly world would have few reasons to bother working with others, when he can just shut up and torrent multi-thousand dollar software.

Does all that free work up on deviantart get made with paid copies of Photoshop, especially for broke amateurs contributing from humble third-world countries? nobody there buys personal software.

If you're one of us who won't pirate, you'll find the problem. Just by the power of numbers, intentional or unknowing free-loaders *dictate* practices for everyone. It's free for them to send you their work in PSD format, or ppt and docx for Windows office work, so they'll do it and assume you have the reader for free on your machine.

Not so much a problem for geeks who know of Openoffice, Gimp or the free converters online, but things get to the point where you have random computer illiterate friends expecting you to have those installed on your mother's machine to read some random forward, and think YOU are the one with the problem for not having pirated. But most of them are clueless that their PC is "fine" because someone else skirted paying hundreds of dollars for Office and other software. They just assume all PC's can read all files and that yours is broken. They're driving up the pressure for others to pay for Office and Photoshop. More realistically, it's just more pressure to pirate!

Re: Is it a competitor? (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 4 months ago | (#45807643)

We have Linux today because someone in the nineties wanted a free alternative.

I'm pretty sure Linus already had Windows. What he wanted was something like UNIX.

Re:Is it a competitor? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807767)

You sound like a dirty bird. Probably a faggot too.

Re:Is it a competitor? (4, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 4 months ago | (#45805831)

Open source projects have three competitive advantages which allow a slow but relentless domination.

1) available at no cost
2)project immortality independent of it's creator's solvency.
3)ability to be adapted to fit a specific need.

who would have guessed in 1991 that linux would dominate mobile computing like it has

Re:Is it a competitor? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805953)

2)project immortality independent of it's creator's solvency.
3)ability to be adapted to fit a specific need.

These only apply to some projects. Most die off when their creator leaves, and this adaptation you mention isn't all that common.

Re:Is it a competitor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806309)

Just because an option doesn't get exercised very often doesn't mean they don't exist. You can argue that they might not be relevant, although for projects where the cost of software is insignificant, making the first advantage nearly irrelevant, the project may be important enough to make these advantages more applicable.

Re:Is it a competitor? (1)

RobertJ1729 (2640799) | about 4 months ago | (#45807025)

There is an additional benefit that is crucial to research mathematicians: the source code can be peer reviewed and checked for correctness.

Re:Is it a competitor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807095)

"project immortality independent of it's creator's solvency."

If the project is half as immortal as extra apostrophes, open source will outlast the big crunch.

Re:Is it a competitor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807353)

who would have guessed in 1991 that linux would dominate mobile computing like it has

It doesn't. Android does, "Linux" doesn't. The term "Linux" is generally used to refer to the entire GNOME/KDE/X11/GNU/Linux combination and Android is a completely different operating system.

Re:Is it a competitor? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 4 months ago | (#45807885)

Linux is the kernel, and I think the OP understood that. Android could be ported to another kernel, but they went with Linux, and that is amazing when you think about the chain of events which led there.

Re:Is it a competitor? (4, Insightful)

grqb (410789) | about 4 months ago | (#45805927)

Most of those jobs are for "application engineers" and not developers. An application engineer is a little like tech support and a little like sales. They will work closely with existing customers to make Matlab work for their customers application and they'll also try to upsell new features.

Octave wouldn't have the same type of support structure but might have similar numbers of man power contributing to the development.

Photoshop cloud different, not better (5, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#45805931)

I have the complete Adobe suite. I use Gimp more often. Photoshop, like MS Office, is the de facto file exchange format in certain fields. Photoshop is also much slower than Gimp and in my opinion harder to use, hiding commonly used tools like rectangular selection underneath other tools.

Neither is BETTER in an absolute sense. Most professional software engineers use/used C. That doesn't make C better than JavaScript.

Re: GIMP vs. Photoshop (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805941)

Whenever there's a comparison between an open source product and a proprietary somebody always brings up the statement that "GIMP" is inferior to Photoshop like it's the "incontestable, revealed by Jesus Christ himself, truth" without *any* kind of supporting evidence.

The Toe, I don't hold you personally accountable for repeating what's become a cultural FUD meme, but I do feel that somebody has got to set the record straight here.

I would not consider myself an expert on image manipulation software, but I would consider myself competent enough to detect the stench of bullshit when it's spoken. I would very much like to see someone provide a valid metric for comparing Photoshop vs. GIMP and then proceed to provide real, valid data that either demonstrates that GIMP really is "inferior" to Photoshop or there's no real difference or that comparing the 2 products is inappropriate because they have different uses.

Examples of bullshit metrics would be something like "has to support Photoshop plugins", or "has to have an interface like Photoshop" because that's not comparing capability, but comparing preference.

Re: GIMP vs. Photoshop (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806099)

I would not consider myself an expert on image manipulation software, but I would consider myself competent enough to detect the stench of bullshit when it's spoken. I would very much like to see someone provide a valid metric for comparing Photoshop vs. GIMP..

Good luck with that quest.

Just before Christmas, I did some graphics work for a customer, and most of the 'grunt' work was dome in Gimp (and yes, I have fully licensed copies of CS4 and CS5 at my disposal).

It's just another tool, and I use it when I need it. (I know of other 'professional' graphics artists who still use PSP)

(Just for completeness, the final output design for this project was generated via Coreldraw X5).
   

Re: GIMP vs. Photoshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806181)

s/dome/done/g
My excuse: too much whisky...

Re: GIMP vs. Photoshop (4, Interesting)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#45806193)

I used Photoshop a long time ago on Macintoshes. It was supremely intuitive to use. GIMP today is much worse than Photoshop of old. I've recently paid the Adobe tax (wife has a business that requires it) and the new Photoshop is a nightmare. Current versions of GIMP and Photoshop are both non intuitive and break the expected select/act behavior.

The same is true of illustrator. The current interface is very unclear. I purchased a book to get past the initial confusion.

I don't understand the rationale. They don't explain it. The manuals should perhaps start with a "Look it works like this and here's why" section. It's so much easier to follow the logic of a UI when you understand what the rationale is.

Of course it could just be bad design.

Re: GIMP vs. Photoshop (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806281)

Ouch, GIMP is a usability disaster since they separated Save As and Export. I use Save As, every. single. time. And then realize it's wrong every. single. time. I am unable to override decades of muscle memory, even if I consciously know I should not use Save As in GIMP.

Photoshop is only considered usable because people train themselves to use it. For someone who does use Photoshop often, trust me, its user interface is bizarre, unintuitive, and just plain wacky. It's like WordPerfect 5.1 in the way you have to just memorize how to do things. Then the user interface makes perfect sense, because you've trained yourself in how it works. It seems obvious if you've practiced and use it all the time.

JASC Paint Shop Pro, up to version 9 before it was sold to Corel, was the only intuitive graphics program I've ever seen. It had one flaw which is why I never use it any more: You can't resize the selection rectangle.

Corel PhotoPaint used to be good, too, except it was slow, slow, slow, slow, slow.

Re: GIMP vs. Photoshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806457)

I like to support FOSS projects when I can, but there are just too many needlessly unintuitive designs in GIMP. Speaking as someone who uses these kinds of programs mainly for drawing/painting, GIMP is useless to me; I've yet to find a way to rotate/flip the viewport (not the image itself), save as/export issues as you've mentioned, no easy way to configure some necessary shortcuts (though it's been some months since I've used it, so I may be misremembering or it may have changed), the number bars for brush size, etc. are fucking awful, etc.
That said, I do really enjoy using mypaint, another FOSS project, for drawing/painting. It lacks some 'editing' features, but makes up for it with incredibly nice brushes, speed, and simplicity. When I need editing features, I either import the image into GIMP, or if I'm on Windows, use Manga Studio.

Re: GIMP vs. Photoshop (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#45806665)

Never used Manga Studio. Is it useful for non Manga things? God I need a decent bitmap manipulation package. Photoshop isn't it.

Re: GIMP vs. Photoshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806759)

Yes. I don't draw manga, and I find it very useful for drawing. For things like photo editing, etc. that Photoshop was made to cover, I wouldn't recommend it, but I don't do much of that thing so I could be missing features. I'd suggest trying it yourself however you can, and if you like it, look up some custom brushes by Ray Frenden (paid, but cheap and quite good if you plan on inking)

Re: GIMP vs. Photoshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806739)

The complaints I here all the time pretty much amount to what you just said: I am used to Photoshop and Gimp, being different, is not any good.

Re: GIMP vs. Photoshop (1)

Artifakt (700173) | about 4 months ago | (#45806925)

it would be interesting to see how many people that get paid to do graphics, and have legit copies of Photoshop, keep the Gimp or other free and open source tools on their workstations, and use them at least for some work. I don't know what the percentage would be in the arts, but if its anything like the situation with math or science programs, it's at least in the double digits, and I wouldn't be surprised if its near half.

Re: GIMP vs. Photoshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806283)

valid data that either demonstrates that GIMP really is "inferior" to Photoshop or there's no real difference or that comparing the 2 products is inappropriate because they have different uses.

No one is going to do so because of your last clause there. Otherwise, any difference could be argued to be a difference in intended use, and of course someone who needs exactly what Gimp does will find it to be perfect. You could likewise argue that there is no difference between MS Paint and Photoshop, because someone who needs just a simple pixel editor would say the comparison is not appropriate.

All I have is anecdotal evidence, that I mainly use Gimp at home and for various projects, but once in a blue moon need to use Adobe software at work for slightly different use cases. And it takes way less time to simply find or learn how to use the Adobe software than the Gimp, and I seem to be much quicker at getting things done on it than on the Gimp, even though I have much more experience on the latter. I continue to use the Gimp because it is free, but if I had to use it for more business purposes, I would put the money into getting Adobe stuff that could save me more time in the long run.

Maybe people don't worry about metrics, considering the Gimp is free and many environments have access to Adobe software available, people just try both.

Photoshop as a platform (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45806413)

Examples of bullshit metrics would be something like "has to support Photoshop plugins"

Would "has to support industry-standard, proprietary plugins A, B, and C, which are critical in my company's field of work and whose developers refuse to take our money for a port to GIMP" be more honest?

Re:Is it a competitor? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#45806863)

Yes it is generally understood, whether it's true or not is a separate question. And more to the point most people who have Photoshop aren't professional graphic designers that have any use for the purported advantages, they just want to do some basic photo editing. And really, while GIMP is less pleasant to use it can do pretty much everything that Photoshop can do, plus adds a few extra features of it's own. Similarly Blender versus 3dsMax or Maya - each has their advantages, but for the most part they're all fairly comparable on a technical level, and the biggest limitation on features is the knowledge and familiarity of the user.

You could also turn your question around - popular open source projects often have dozens or hundreds of dedicated, passionate developers working for the pure love of the work, plus thousands more adding the occasional feature or bug fix. How can proprietary software houses compete with that kind of passion with their pool of work-a-day programmers?

The biggest advantage for open source though, neglecting any idealism, is that it tends to be good enough. Is that $400 program better? Maybe so, but the real question is it $400 better? If you're rich, or are using it on a daily basis it might be, but for most people the free good enough option is a clear win.

In the case of something like Matlab, perhaps your university is paying the subscription fees that let you use a copy on your home computer(yes, they have moved to the subscription model, at least as of a few years ago when I was doing IT), and you get to like it. Then after college you don't actually use it professionally, but would like to use it for hobby projects. Is it worth $100/year or whatever to keep it available for your hobbies, or is Octave good enough for your purposes? Or in the case of a university department - are your students actually getting enough use out of Matlab to be worth the thousands of dollars a year for a subscription, or would you be better off using Octave and spending those thousands on something more valuable?

Re:Is it a competitor? (4, Insightful)

hax4bux (209237) | about 4 months ago | (#45807407)

We all wish Mathworks/MatLab well. I used it at university and I use it at work. I use Octave at home (and sometimes at work). Octave is good for getting answers, not so good at graphing.

Are they competitors? Yes. Is there room for both? Yes.

Regarding Gimp vs Photoshop: I've never used photoshop (because of price) but I use Gimp all the time. The price is right and the functionality is there. I will never care about Photoshop because I'm not an artist. I think the same is true for Octave, many people have a light simulation or similar and Octave is good and available.

Re:Is it a competitor? (4, Informative)

mbkennel (97636) | about 4 months ago | (#45807743)

| How does Octave or any other open source tool hold up against something with so many resources behind it?

It's enormously cheaper. I'm now at a commercial analytic software company which could use MATLAB productively, but it isn't completely essential. Just one machine-locked license with a small array of basic toolboxes was $35,000 with a substantial yearly fee. Mathworks obviously didn't want our business. The attitude from management was that they pay money to hire smart people who know how to figure out things and we can use R or python or octave for free on all of our servers and PC clients. At $500 they might have had a sale.

I compiled it from source and use octave, and yes commercial MATLAB is certainly a better and more comprehensive product.

The point of most Open Source... (2)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | about 4 months ago | (#45805765)

...is to keep vendors of commercial, closed-source software honest. Do you think Microsoft IIS would be half as good as it is if Apache and nginx weren't perfectly capable of doing the same job, for free and with the source code open to anyone? Come on. Octave will hopefully do the same for MATLAB.

Re:The point of most Open Source... (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 4 months ago | (#45805865)

That isn't the point of open source software. It's a very nice side effect, though.

It isn't even really meaningful to ask for the 'point' of OSS, since it (obviously) predates closed/commercial software.
So one rather should be asking what's the point of closed source commercial software? Obviously the answer is much more likely to be 'making $$$' than 'producing quality software' (the average user won't be able to tell anyway, as far as it looks good.

(Reminds me of myself long before I discovered unix - I was like 14 and your average l33t visual basic h4x0r. I wrote a huge massive monolithic piece of shit program (>20k lines), and it worked well. It looked nice, also. It also was useful to others (of a specific domain), they loved it. They assumed I had to be an awesome programmer, when in reality, at the source code level, the whole thing was a giant mess
Thankfully a couple years later I discovered unix, left the mess behind and started from scratch. Had a hard time unlearning certain things...)

Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806363)

Thank you. For not being one of "them" anymore. There are too many of them, and too few of us.

I.E. SO COMPLICATED NO ONE CAN FIGURE IT OUT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805697)

Say La V !!

Re:I.E. SO COMPLICATED NO ONE CAN FIGURE IT OUT !! (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 4 months ago | (#45805759)

Do you mean "C'est la vie"?

Re:I.E. SO COMPLICATED NO ONE CAN FIGURE IT OUT !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805777)

Are you coming out of the closet?

Having a GUI is great... (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about 4 months ago | (#45805725)

...but does it run linux?

Re:Having a GUI is great... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806829)

...but does it run linux?

It runs on Linux better than any other OS. Actually, it seems that Octave itself, not only the GUI, runs much better in Linux than MacOS or Windows. Probably, in part because the large majority of Octave developers uses Linux only.

Re:Having a GUI is great... (1)

syockit (1480393) | about 4 months ago | (#45806941)

No it doesn't. And heck no, why should it? Sure, given enough time and resource, it could be possible to run linux on Octave, but I don't see any sense of it.

Who the fuck wants to use GNU trash? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805729)

Just use Matlab or actual open source languages like Python. No one does numerical computing or science with Octave.

Re:Who the fuck wants to use GNU trash? (5, Informative)

PurpleAlien (797797) | about 4 months ago | (#45805781)

As someone who does science with Octave, I disagree.

Re:Who the fuck wants to use GNU trash? (3, Interesting)

grqb (410789) | about 4 months ago | (#45805933)

Personally I switched from Matlab to python with spyder as the GUI interface and I'll never look back.

Re:Who the fuck wants to use GNU trash? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 4 months ago | (#45807935)

Spyder is awesome! Also liking Pyzo a lot.

I no longer use MATLAB for my own stuff, but my job is hooked on it, so at work I'm mostly in MATLAB.

Re:Who the fuck wants to use GNU trash? (4, Interesting)

chthon (580889) | about 4 months ago | (#45806187)

From experience, when doing my thesis:

For my thesis, I had to implement something (DSP) which was part of my advisor's doctorate. This entailed computing a whole lot of constants for a FIR filter. My advisor had implemented this using symbolic computation, which apparently worked up to MATLAB 2007, but not any more on more recent versions. When I tried his code on the school computers, I got no answers, or the code kept on running, so I could not obtain implementation constants for this filter.

Well, symbolic computation did not work either on Octave, but I could install it on all my computers, so I did not need to either buy a version, run with an illegal version or only do my computations in school.

I solved the problem, by the way, using convolution, which was much faster, and always worked.

I suppose that the main reason for people using MATLAB professionally, is in the more advanced tools which are built on top of the basic layer, like Simulink and model-based design, which are missing in Octave. Anyone know how SciLab stacks up in this region against MATLAB?

Re:Who the fuck wants to use GNU trash? (2)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 4 months ago | (#45808025)

From experience, when doing my thesis: ...

Well, symbolic computation did not work either on Octave...

Did you try sympy [sympy.org] ? I was amazed recently how well it works -- you can start with certain assumptions and derive formulas/equations from them, output latex, and finally evaluate the equations, for instance for matplotlib plotting. Then you can change your assumptions and rederive new equations / plots.

Of course it depends what kind of math you do.

Re:Who the fuck wants to use GNU trash? (1)

tloh (451585) | about 4 months ago | (#45806361)

Show us. Serious request. I'm genuinely curious what Octave can do.

Re:Who the fuck wants to use GNU trash? (2)

PurpleAlien (797797) | about 4 months ago | (#45806607)

Two examples of things I've done in the past and am currently doing:

- count points on elliptic and hyper elliptic curves on a distributed parallel system for cryptography research
- simulating electric motor magnetic fields, forces and temperatures on said parallel system

Re:Who the fuck wants to use GNU trash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807377)

ITYM GNU/Trash.

HTH. HAND.

scilab is better but french. (3, Interesting)

Ateocinico (32734) | about 4 months ago | (#45805735)

Scilab is far better and always had native 3D graphics, a GUI and a simulation engine: scicos/xcos. It atonishes me that it is systematically ignored. Is it because is french?

Re:scilab is better but french. (5, Informative)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | about 4 months ago | (#45805901)

As others have pointed out, octave runs (mostly) unmodified matlab code. Scilab doesn't. However scilab is just close enough to matlab to be really annoying if you are used to matlab. I think that is really why octave is more popular than scilab (probably doesn't have anything to do with scilab being more French but who knows.) Don't want to pay $$$$ for matlab? Install otave for free and do almost everything you would normally do with matlab w/o relearning much of anything. One thing about octave though is that the graphics aren't as nice as scilab and aren't nearly as nice as matlab. I am not to excited about the gui (even use the cli on the latest version of matlab) but hopefully this new version will make the graphics in octave more in line with the other packages.

Re:scilab is better but french. (2)

chipschap (1444407) | about 4 months ago | (#45806779)

Sagemath seems like quite a good freeware alternative as well. I've come to prefer it to Scilab (though the Scilab simulation feature is pretty awesome).

Re:scilab is better but french. (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 4 months ago | (#45807999)

Sagemath is not just freeware but actual open source, and it is not even that, it's just a repackaging of existing software packages IIRC.

Re: scilab is better but french. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807107)

Scilab comes with a MATLAB converter, though, and generally has more functionality working. Also, the plots look much better than the default ones from MATLAB.

Re:scilab is better but french. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805905)

La vie est une tragédie pour celui qui sent, et une comédie pour celui qui pense.

Re:scilab is better but french. (1)

Liquid Len (739188) | about 4 months ago | (#45807147)

Scilab is far better and always had native 3D graphics, a GUI and a simulation engine: scicos/xcos. It atonishes me that it is systematically ignored. Is it because is french?

Personally, I find Scilab pretty awful (and for the record, I'm french).

Re:scilab is better but french. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807737)

Really? I find that more things are operational in Scilab than in Octave. Everything worked, even if it didn't have all the libraries of Matlab. With Octave... it meshed with Matlab quite well, but I'd get 80% of the way in and find out that something wasn't finished yet. And the LaTeX integration for plots is far far better than in Matlab... in fact, the default settings in Scilab are almost publication quality, but the settings in Matlab have to be customized extensively, or the plots look like crap. When I last looked at Octave, plotting was through Gnuplot, so frankly it was better to process the data, then independently plot what I needed with Gnuplot directly (or for papers, use pgfplots in LaTeX, it's magic).

The problem for me (as an American working in Paris), is that the documentation is sort of franglais, almost if I had tried writing it myself... sometimes there is information in French, sometimes English, but it is not very consistent. But the overall package is fairly professional. (I just wish that you could make plots 100% from the command line interface, without booting up Java and making a window... if so, I'd use it for everything.)

Octave always seemed like a hack... it was nice when I was a student to be able to run what I needed without paying for even the student copy of Matlab or going to the computer lab, but like OpenOffice instead of Word, it just kind of copies the big boys, never really extending capabilities. Maybe it's improved since I last saw it, though. Anyway, a GUI is not important... who really needs it? Now if you told me that it was fully integrated with Emacs, then maybe I'd be interested....

What is the added value over Python? (1)

billcarson (2438218) | about 4 months ago | (#45805737)

Can someone from the numerical world explain to me what the added value is of Octave over Python with its numerical libraries?
There are numerous interactive python consoles out there that have the same ease of use as the Matlab CLI had back when I used that.
It seems to be much easier to compile a FORTRAN or C++ library to library than can be used by Python code.
Also, performance-wise Octave has always been a bit disappointing, wasn't it?

Re:What is the added value over Python? (5, Informative)

tulcod (1056476) | about 4 months ago | (#45805769)

Yes. This runs unmodified MATLAB code.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805811)

This. It would be interesting if they managed to make a python interface for running matlab code.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805879)

* In most cases. I used to manage an octave and a matlab library and there were plenty of places in the code where we had to fork the code on a test "Is this octave?" to call the right function.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (1)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | about 4 months ago | (#45806579)

Or, you have to refactor the function from scratch, which takes some understanding of linear algebra.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (5, Informative)

professionalfurryele (877225) | about 4 months ago | (#45805783)

MATLAB compatibility. From my experience that is just about it, both are pretty feature complete but as Octave basically copies MATLAB warts and all so I don't know why anyone would use it if they knew other nicer programming languages. And if you have access to MATLAB and use it every day then MATLAB is just way faster than Octave (or at least was last time I used it).

Being a copy of MATLAB is really useful though, and Octave serves a role there. I code primarily in python (or C/C++) for work, but most of my colleagues use MATLAB. The Linux MATLAB client is crap and a pain to install and keep working, but Octave is one apt-get away and usually does the trick when I need to run my colleagues scripts or write something for them. It has a permanent spot on my hard drive for that.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#45806669)

Yeah, the fact that it runs always, while MATLAB does only sometimes, is why I use it when I need to run MATLAB stuff, even though my institution actually has a MATLAB site-license. Octave generally just works, while MATLAB has a bunch of license-server nonsense. Among other things, it doesn't work at all if you're offline (e.g. on a plane), since it has to contact the license server, and network-licensed copies have no Steam-style "offline mode", even a temporary one. And even online, the license server appears to be run on a toaster and down half the time, although that's probably my university's fault rather than MathWorks's fault.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (1)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | about 4 months ago | (#45806889)

so I don't know why anyone would use it if they knew other nicer programming languages.

"Nicer" is a matter of opinion, and also a matter of what you're using it for. Matlab/Octave is designed from the very start for numerical math, and if that's what you're doing, I'd say it's a slightly nicer language than Python/Numpy/Scipy. But for anything other than numerical math, Python is a much nicer language.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (2)

professionalfurryele (877225) | about 4 months ago | (#45807193)

I agree this is subjective, and I agree this is a horses for courses situation. But MATLAB isn't designed for abstract numerical computing, it is designed for linear algebra. If you have a task which you know can be reduced entirely (or at least almost entirely) to linear algebra (like a prototype neural network training scheme I was looking at a while back in MATLAB), then sure I'd say I find MATLAB's syntax a bit easier to work with. But if we are talking general numerical computing, or numerical computing involving a large chunk of code that needs to be properly organised then I think python's (with numpy and scipy) features wins out. Where exactly that line is depends.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (5, Informative)

Peaquod (1200623) | about 4 months ago | (#45805787)

The main advantage is that you can run pre-existing MATLAB code, often without any modification whatsoever. When composing new code, I certainly prefer python/scipy. Also, many engineers and scientists know MATLAB because it is pervasive in industry, but do not have experience with Python.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805851)

Octave is good when you are used to code in a syntax like of Matlab and have already code written for it. It even improves on the languages, as it offers more ortogonality, e.g. one can further slice array slices, etc.
Having used Matlab, Octave and Python+Scipy/Numpy, I still prefer Octave of all three. It runs everywhere, I've even used it in a system running on a Nokia N900 mobile phone. I find the python linear algebra syntax quite bad. Having to use "dot" for matrix multiplication, instead of an infix operator is not pleasant. Complex indexing/slicing is also not as natural.
Performancewise, the linear algebra is equally fast in all of those, when properly installed/configured. For the latest Octave versions, this meant for me to use openblas, before it was ATLAS. Multi-core parallelism is offered by all three in a way or another - at the first glance easiest to use in Matlab, until you meet the limitations of "parfor". GPU support is incipient in Octave, good in Matlab and Python.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 4 months ago | (#45807533)

Yes, python's syntax is too functional. It starts when you can't get out of the interpreter without typing parentheses at the end of "exit". And regex in Python is a pain because of the function-argument syntax. Ruby's is much easier to use because you don't have to escape a regex to fit it into a string, and you can use the infix operator =~.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805899)

Matlab licenses are really expensive, but the program is really good at linear algebra and related calculations; so it's heavily used by engineers who are often trained in school to use it. For small engineering shops they can maybe afford a single Matlab license, but they don't have to pay for octave. So, you load your heavy work on the matlab machine and fallback on octave to collect and analyze your test data when speed isn't a worry.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806503)

Matlab itself can be easily replaced by Octave. But the value of matlab is in the available domain specific toolboxes and companies are willing to pay the 4- and 5-digit prices for these extension because they can save man-months or even man-years with them.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 4 months ago | (#45807399)

Wish I could mod the parent up.
If you use a tool like Matlab professionally,. the purchase cost isn't a significant issue. Matlab's toolboxes, and support are excellent. I've used Octave,and Python-pylab. Both are fine, but I'm more productive with Matlab.

Of course other people solving different types of problem may see very different results. I do mostly electron accelerator calculations and control, and so far matlab is the best tool I've found for those applications.

Re:What is the added value over Python? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806185)

Octave is not for people like you then, why bother wasting our time asking?

Re:What is the added value over Python? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806589)

Can someone from the numerical world explain to me what the added value is of Octave over Python with its numerical libraries?

Like MATLAB, it is based on using arrays or matrices as a fundamental data type. I am not familiar with Python libraries so I can't really compare.

jolly green giant, st. nick share moniker? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805753)

small crowd. there is & a bottle of rum,,, madison ave. burlesque

psycho teens attack nyc mall? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805859)

on russian tv enroute to us? this is drama? free the innocent stem cells. you heroic hobbyist whiners know better than most of us never look up almost...

Good (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805813)

.. but Matplotlib + iPython Notebook + Pandas is worth a look, for those trying to escape "Matlab Prison"

Wasn't there already other ones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805817)

I thought it already had a gui? I used a gui version of it a couple of years ago for a project that I was doing on Ubuntu. Can't remember what it was called though.

Re:Wasn't there already other ones? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 4 months ago | (#45806773)

There does exist at least one GUI front-end for it (qtoctave), but development stopped a while back and it wasn't an official part of Octave itself.

Graphical REPL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805825)

I have been looking for a free software Mathematica replacement. One of the main obstacles in changing to a sage/maxima/octave "math platform" is the lack of a GUI REPL that allows graphics and code to be interleaved, saved to disk, and then opened at a later date. (I'm aware of Sage's web-based notebook, but really, it's just not the same.)

Re: Graphical REPL? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805977)

Mathematica replacement.
http://www.mathics.org/

You are welcome.

Re:Graphical REPL? (Mathematica replacement) (1)

Gavin Scott (15916) | about 4 months ago | (#45807979)

Well, Mathematica is now free for non-commercial use on the Raspberry Pi of all things.

You could run a Raspberry emulator and run it inside that on other operating systems. But I haven't looked at the license agreement so maybe that's explicitly prohibited.

No idea how it performs, but the screenshots at Wolfram look promising.

G.

scilab (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805827)

scilab has been a better matlab clone than octave for quite some time

Pic or it didn't happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805839)

Where's the screenshot?

CDC 405 Punch Card Support (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805867)

This is ridiculous. Why do we need some fancy GUI nonsense?

If this breaks the backwards-compatibility with my trusty CDC 405 punch card reader, I'm taking my custom elsewhere!

Sleep tight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806433)

You shouldn't worry. Backwards compatibility is important and an integral part of decisions to move the project further.

Punchcard compatibility is available. For the Cyber familiy, just apt-get install octave-compat-retro-cdc && make install

Re:Sleep tight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806735)

Why did I ever doubt you, OSS?

qtoctave (4, Interesting)

JohnVanVliet (945577) | about 4 months ago | (#45806075)

it has one ALREADY

I have been using Qtoctave for a VERY long time
the current in SUISE12.3
---
Repository: Packman Repository
Name: qtoctave
Version: 0.10.1-2.28
Arch: x86_64

Re: qtoctave (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806783)

you will, however, find that no one works on it any more, the last active dev (me) now directs contributions to the official gui.

Re: qtoctave (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807453)

So, could you explain, why FLTK and not Qt? Qt seems to be the common choice nowadays. I know fltk is very lightweight but octave isn't so I guess that's not the main reason.

Is Xoctave obsolete? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806559)

I'd be interested in seeing the GUI and seeing if it is good enough to stop using Xoctave [xoctave.com] , which gives it a MATLAB-like [mathworks.com] interface. Xoctave is nice, but pricey, which is why I am still using the free beta version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yphiB8_OnuI (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45806777)

thank you for your text
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yphiB8_OnuI

Broken on OSX. (1)

Rufty (37223) | about 4 months ago | (#45807305)

Using OSX 10.6.8.
Downloaded, ./configure ; make
Got an error in "stdio.h"
Hmmm. Maybe there's a reason this hasn't been announced.

even better: R (4, Insightful)

cellocgw (617879) | about 4 months ago | (#45807509)

I'm a bit surprised to find that, 60 comments in, nobody's yet suggested R , e.g. http://cran.r-project.org/ [r-project.org] as an alternative. There are several different GUIs available for R (Rstudio, Rcommander, Rjava,...), it's 100% opensource, and frankly most of us R users find the syntax and flexibility to be far better than MatLab. And the graphics have to be seen to be believed. You can do anything and then some.

Now back to a post about GNU Octave (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807649)

Ignoring that I haven't finished downloading jdk-7u45 yet,

setenv LLVM_LIBS /usr/lib/ocaml # this is wrong
setenv LLVM_CONFIG /usr/bin
setenv QT_LIB /usr/lib/qt3/:/usr/include/qt3 ./configure --disable-extra-warning-flags --with-ccolamd-includedir=/usr/include/suitesparse --with-ccolamd-libdir=/usr/lib --with-camd-includedir=/usr/include/suitesparse/:/usr/include/w32api/:/usr/bin --with-camd-libdir=/usr/lib/:/usr/lib/w32api --with-cxsparse-includedir=/usr/lib/w32api --with-cxsparse-libdir=/usr/lib/w32api --with-curl-includedir=/usr/lib --with-curl-libdir=/usr/include/curl --with-glpk-includedir=/usr/include --with-glpk-libdir=/usr/lib --with-amd-includedir=/usr/include/suitesparse --with-amd-libdir=/usr/lib --with-colamd-includedir=/usr/include/suitesparse --with-colamd-libdir=/usr/lib --with-umfpack-includedir=/usr/include/suitesparse --with-umfpack-libdir=/usr/lib --with-qrupdate-includedir=/usr/lib --with-qrupdate-libdir=/usr/lib --with-fltk-prefix=/usr/bin --with-fltk-exec-prefix=/usr/bin --with-arpack-includedir=/usr/bin --with-arpack-libdir=/usr/lib >&! log.configure &

mostly works with Cygwin on Windows 7 after downloading an insane number of non-default packages (hellooooo dependencies!). This gets it down to

configure: WARNING: Missing LLVM file TargetData.h. JIT compiler is disabled.
configure: WARNING: No javac compiler or jar executable found. Octave will not be able to call Java methods.
configure: WARNING: Found nth_element broken in g++ 4.8.2. Attempting to repair by using local patched version of bits/stl_algo.h.
configure: WARNING: Missing LLVM file TargetData.h. JIT compiler is disabled.
configure: WARNING: No javac compiler or jar executable found. Octave will not be able to call Java methods.

After the jdk download finishes, that should take care of most of the remaining issues. Now to waste time watching TV while make does it magic... For you young people, TV is like an older, bigger iPad that receives free through the airwaves--the way nature intended it--programs and movies.

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