The new release of Octave, the open source numerical computation suite that is compatible with MATLAB, features a preview of the graphical user interface.
GNU Octave is popular as a free open source alternative to MATLAB. It provides capabilities for the numerical solution of linear and nonlinear problems, and has extensive graphics capabilities for data visualization and manipulation. Octave is normally used through its interactive command line interface, but a GUI interface has been top of users' wish list for some time.
According to the release announcement for GNU Octave 3.8 the new GUI has the status of a preview:
because it is not quite as polished as we would like, we have decided to wait until the 4.0.x release series before making the GUI the default interface (until then, you can use the --force-gui option to start the GUI).
The new release contains numerous bug fixes and the following major changes:
- Octave now uses OpenGL graphics by default with FLTK widgets. If OpenGL libraries or FLTK widgets are not available when Octave is built, gnuplot is used. You may also choose to use gnuplot for graphics by executing the command: graphics_toolkit ("gnuplot")
- Printing or saving figures with OpenGL graphics requires the gl2ps library which is no longer distributed with Octave. The software is widely available in most package managers. If a pre-compiled package does not exist for your system, you can find the current sources at http://www.geuz.org/gl2ps/.
- Octave now supports nested functions with scoping rules that are compatible with Matlab.
Other user visible changes are detailed on the Gnu.org site.