Note: for information on installation see GNU Octave/Installation.
GNU Octave
GNU Octave 4.0.0 operating on Ubuntu 15.04 in GNOME Desktop environment screenshot.png
Development and release history
Developer(s)John W. Eaton and others
Initial release1988
Latest stable release4.0.0 / 29 May 2015
Latest preview release4.0.0.rc4 / 29 April 2015
Technical specifications
Written inC++
Available in19 languages
TypeScientific computing

GNU Octave (GNO) is a free and open-source high-level programming language intended primarily for numerical computations. It is mostly MATLAB-compatible, with most MATLAB scripts (file extension: .m) also working in GNU Octave.

Historically GNU Octave been only accessible through a command-line interface (CLI) but starting with version 3.8.0 (released 27 December 2013), a Qt-based graphical user interface (GUI) has been added to the software. Until 4.0.0 the GUI was a second-line interface, that could be called by running:

octave --force-gui

but since the release of version 4.0.0 on the 29th of May 2015 the GUI has become the default interface for GNO. This means if users wish to access the CLI in GNO version 4.0.0 or higher, they must run the following from a command line:

octave --no-gui

GNO is one of three free and open-source MATLAB alternatives available on Ubuntu, with the other two being:

  • FreeMat, which was last updated in August 2013, hence it is comparatively out-of-date. Unlike GNO it is mostly oriented towards create a GUI than a CLI. GNU Octave also has greater compatibility with MATLAB syntax than FreeMat.
  • Scilab, which is more up to date than FreeMat but is less compatible with MATLAB in its syntax than both FreeMat and GNO. Like FreeMat it is more oriented than GNO has been, historically, towards providing a GUI.
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