Re: Scientific Applications

Mark Rae wrote:
> Hello all
> I was wondering if anyone has had any thoughts about Gnome/GTK based
> scientific applications for the desktop?
> I have been thinking specifically about the areas covered by commercial
> Windows/Macintosh applications such as SigmaPlot, SYSTAT & GraphPad
> which don't appear to have any comparable 'competition' in the free
> software world. It seems that all of the freely available statistics/graphics
> software has either been written with a specific purpose in mind, is
> only capable of producing fairly simple graphs, or requires the user
> to 'program' it, e.g gnuplot.
> As such a large number of UNIX/Linux users are in the Academic/Research
> sector it would seem sensible to try and produce packages like these.
> Anyone care to comment on whether this seems like a good idea?

The package which I think deserves attention in this respect is octave.
Octave is a free software reimplementation of matlab 4.0.  Since it's
mostly a command line tool, why does it need a gui?  For plotting. 
Currently, it sends commands to gnuplot to produce it's output.  A gtk
based plotting window would be much better.  But more than that is
possible.  Matlab allows users to write .m scripts to create gui
interfaces on the fly.  Gtk could be used to replicate this
functionality.  In addition, it would be nice if a way could be found to
use gimp modules to do technical image processing within octave, similar
to the image processing toolbox that The MathWorks sells for $900.  (Oh,
yeah, Matlab is $1900 for a single user system such as Windows95 or the
Macintosh, and $5-10k for a multiuser system such as unix.  Nevermind
that most of its technical computation engine seems to be based on
netlib libraries developed with funding from the US Government and
available for free.)

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