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xavion
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GNU Octave vs. Matlab

Asked by xavion
on 23 Aug 2011
Latest activity Commented on by David Verrelli on 24 Jan 2019
Accepted Answer by Jan
Discovered a programing tool called Octave a few weeks ago. The language is almost identical to basic Matlab. The discriminating difference is that Octave is open source and free. For my robotics modeling applications, its more than adequate. I will likely stop spending money on Matlab, especially if the Octave organization develops a basic Simulink-like capability. Here's an interesting thread in the Octave website:

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blatant advertisement indeed but that software is free and works for basic stuff.
Jan
on 23 Aug 2011
Xavion wants to share its positive experiences with the great software. He does not want to earn money with this post.
*But* he forgot to ask a question.
Having just read the thread Xavion cited, it seems to me that the thread does no real harm to TMW, in that the thread shows that the case for switching is not as simple as Xavion had imagined.

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4 Answers

Answer by Jan
on 23 Aug 2011
 Accepted Answer

Fine, Xavion. I like Octave also very much. The availability of the source code is a big advantage, because I can search for bugs for my own and adjust features for experiments. E.g. I cannot get MATLAB to allocate the memory for arrays with an 128-bit alignment, but in Octave I can control this -
- when I spend hours and days and weeks of programming, debugging and testing. And as long as I want to work with a running system, I decide to spend money for Matlab for the serious work.

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Answer by Daniel Shub
on 24 Aug 2011

One discriminating difference between Octave and MATLAB is the FOSS nature of Octave. Another difference is its lack of advanced features. Last time I looked, support for OOP and GUI development were substantially lagging (possibly because MATLAB is progressing in these areas rapidly) and the IDE (including mlint) were substantially behind. I pay TMW for software maintenance so I can get new features, improvements and bug fixes on a regular basis. If you are willing to wait years for new features to trickle down, then Octave might work for you.

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Jan
on 24 Aug 2011
You do not have to *wait* years for new features, if you implement them by your own. I've implemented/improved some features for MATLAB also, as you can see in my FEX submissions. And the FEX allows for including some FOSS (free and open source software) nature to your proprietary MATLAB platform.
Therefore I do agree +1.

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Answer by Paulo Silva
on 24 Aug 2011

The Mathworks has nothing to fear, their software (MATLAB+Simulink+Toolboxes) is very mature and well documented, it is expensive but it does worth the money, Octave can be the starting point until you need more than it can provide or hit one of the snags it still has, MATLAB is more adequate for demanding professionals and academic students.

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Answer by xavion
on 23 Aug 2011

My apologies for not including a clear question. The advertisement charge and spam label is unfounded because Octave is free open source software - I'm not here to make money. This thread is not spam. My question is this... what is Mathworks doing in response to Octave? I hope Mathworks takes it seriously. As a steady Matlab/Simulink user for 16 years, and after using Octave for a few weeks, I can see why organizations are reducing the number of Matlab licenses to save money and use Octave for basic needs. Its easy to dismiss Octave and assume its for non-serious work. However, I think the evidence is clear that its usage is growing at universities and small companies and here to stay. J. Simon, thanks for your response.

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Jan
on 24 Aug 2011
@Walter: Really? Is "Improve their stable product in small secure steps and offer an efficient support" an interpretation, speculative fiction or as bovine excrement? In deed, it is my experience in the past years.
@Jan: I would say it is an interpretation.
Per Jan's comment above — "When using _advanced_ instead of _basic_ Matlab features, the differences between these platforms become more considerable." — it may have been advisable for the OP to resist endorsing Octave until they had more than "a few weeks" of experience with it.

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