Version 3.0 of Octave released – A free Matlab alternative

December 31st, 2007 | Categories: Linux, math software, matlab | Tags:

While catching up on some news items that I missed over the festive period I noticed that version 3.0 of Octave was released on December 21st 2007. For those of you who have never heard of it before, Octave is an open-source project that attempts to emulate much of the core functionality of Matlab – an extremely popular commercial mathematics application centered around linear algebra and numerical analysis. Octave has been around for some time now – version 1.0 was released back in 1994 so it is certainly not just a flash in the pan.

Octave aims to be source compatible with Matlab wherever possible which means that in many cases you can take code written for Matlab, feed it to octave and it will just work. As you might expect this compatibility is far from perfect but it is good enough for many purposes. Some core Matlab functions have not yet been implemented in Octave and there are also some syntactic differences between the programming languages of the two packages but in many situations the compatibility is quite good and I used it myself very successfully back in the days before I had access to Matlab. A more detailed discussion of Octave-Matlab compatibility can be found on the Octave website.

You can read about some of the changes made to Octave for the version 3.0 release over at Octave’s news page. One of the most interesting updates seems to be that Octave now has increased compatibilty with Matlab’s Handle graphics system. It’s been a while since I used Octave myself so I will be having a play with it on my daily commute over the next few weeks to see what I can see.

If you hit this page from google while looking for open-source Matlab alternatives you might also want to check out Scilab, Freemat and Sage.

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