Re: Scientific Applications

Todd Graham Lewis <> wrote:
> On Wed, 10 Jun 1998, Mark Rae wrote:
> > 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.
> I am not aware of these programs; for better or worse, I live a unix-only
> (and Linux-mostly) life.  How does Scitext fit into the market as you see
> it?

I shall elaborate some more on what I was thinking of, as no-one who has
replied so far seems to be aware of these packages, and to be honest neither
had I until I started working where I am now.

Basically these packages are to Matlab/Octave/Fiasco/SPSS/SAS as 
Word/Wordperfect is to (La)TeX.

Matlab and its relatives are aimed at the hardcore Maths, Physics, Engineering
and Statistics users whereas SigmaPlot and friends are aimed at the less
mathematically minded users, particularly at the Medical, Bio & Social
Science end of the spectrum, and have done a very good job of it - 
SigmaPlot having won the Readers Choice award in 'Scientific Computing'
magazine for the last 6 years in a row.

The way these programs work is similar to the way that you can produce
graphs and charts in Excel and then modify them interactively, although
obviously they have more sophisticated features. They also allow
interactive analysis of the data, provide help with the statistical
analysis and other features to aid people who's main skills lie in other
areas such as experimental work and are not as confident in their
mathematical ability.

I was thinking about this type of program because if, for instance, I wanted
to replace all of the Win95 machines here with Linux running a desktop
environment I would need to be able to supply replacements for 
Word, Excel, SigmaPlot/Stat, ReferenceManager/EndNote, Photoshop/PhotoPaint,
Illustrator/CorelDraw, PegasusMail and Netscape/IE at minimum.

The three which stand out as having no substitutes, either avilable or in
development (as far as I am aware), are Illustrator/CorelDraw, Reference 
Manager/EndNote and SigmaPlot/Stat.
Although there are some commercial equivalents, producing GPL versions of
these would seem to be a good thing to do, and Gnome/GTK seems to be the
ideal environment for doing it.


Mark Rae                                               T 0131 650-3265
Department of Physiology                               F 0131 650-6527
Edinburgh University                                   E

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