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GNU is Not Unix Science

Gnuplot 4.0 Released 31

RazorBlack writes "Almost a year and a half after Gnuplot's previous stable release (3.7.3), version 4.0 has arrived! It boasts quite a lot of very interesting new features, including interactive mouse control, coloured 2D maps and 3D surfaces, interpolation and more flexible data files. Science geeks rejoice!"
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Gnuplot 4.0 Released

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  • Sweet. GNUPlot rocks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gkelman ( 665809 )
    Just as I've been working for ages getting some groovy graphs drawn that I can't really do in MRTG, they release a new GNUPlot.


    And it's Friday afternoon
  • No pie for me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Masa ( 74401 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @11:59AM (#8881661) Journal
    Damn. Still no pie charts, because it "It's not possible in gnuplot" (as stated in the FAQ). How hard can it be? I like Gnuplot very much, but it seems that I still have to rely on self-made Tcl/Tk-script so I can bake myself some nice EPS pies.
  • Is it just me or do other people find GNU plot to look old and sort of primitive ?
  • Topic misleading. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Executive Override ( 605018 ) <spam@skewed.de> on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:30PM (#8882093) Homepage
    Please note that despite it's name, gnuplot has nothing to do with the FSF and the GNU project. It's not even released under the GPL. In fact it's not even Free Software, since it's license doesn't allow distribution of a modified version of the program.

    You can read this in the gnuplot FAQ [gnuplot.info]
    • You can also read the distribution license here [sourceforge.net].
    • I agree with you about the free software part, but why does SF.net host it? Seems like something they'd object to.
    • um, after looking at the licence it does allow distrobution of the modifications though. You just have to realease the modifications as patches rather than including them in the source code, this does not seem to be an onerous enough requirement to say "this is not free software" it's not GNU GPL compliant, but it's not preventing you from distributing your changes or the orignal program, with your changes as a clearly marked set of patches.
      • It is not Free Software, because if you want to fork the whole program and call it by another name for instance, you're not allowed. You have only the freedom to modify it under the very narrow conditions the license specifies.

        It's also not clear (at least to me) if it's OK to include gnuplot code in other programs. If it's not OK, then it's a lot more proprietary than Free.
      • Not quite. I just carefully read the license file, and it does say:

        "Permission to distribute the released version of the source code along with corresponding source modifications in the form of a patch file is granted with same provisions 2 through 4 for binary distributions."

        IANAL, but to me this says: you can even distribute a modified, ready to compile version (no need for the end users to manually apply patches). It's just that you need to _also_ include the patch file, so that users can see what is
        • It seems pretty clear that by "released version" the authors mean "the ORIGINAL released version," not the modified version.
          • Mmh. I re-read it once more, and I think you're right, which is a bummer. It really is a _very_ restrictive license.

            It's funny, I've been using Gnuplot since 1991 (under Windows 3.0), and I had always thought it really was Free software (though I knew it had nothing to do with GNU).

            Thanks for the correction.
  • Great Tool (Score:3, Informative)

    by jefu ( 53450 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:46PM (#8882393) Homepage Journal
    I find gnuplot a very handy tool. It is excellent for just grabbing a bunch of data and putting up quick plots - not always the fanciest looking plots, but its fast, copes with largish (say a million points) nicely and produces acceptable (if not fancy) output that can be included elsewhere.

    For fancier stuff there are fancier tools (including opendx [opendx.org]), but for simple stuff gnuplot works well, is reasonably priced and is hard to beat.

    • For (almost as) quick and better looking plots than gnuplot does check out grace [weizmann.ac.il]. X interface, more goodies, etc. GPL too, since people were complaining about gnuplot's license. So maybe the last part (is reasonably priced and is hard to beat) is less compelling as you thought ^_^

      (however, nothing beats gnuplot when it comes to very simple one-line-almost-no-data-manipulation plots)
  • by 4of12 ( 97621 )

    While I'm always glad to see progress on every front, gnuplot has been sitting on the 3.* level for a long time. I had the idea that the original authors left without properly designating heirs.

    The SVG device driver support is intriguing, but being a "Gnu" thing it doesn't take advantage of the extensive plotutils [gnu.org] library that, sadly, seems to have experience strong development only up to a point.

    Anyway, for people interested in doing serious xy 2D scientific plots, you owe it to yourself to checkout Gra [weizmann.ac.il]

    • Its name is misleading.. its really not a 'gnu project' at all...
    • What use is SVG (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jabuzz ( 182671 )
      When virtually nothing can import it apart from a few SVG drawing packages? The day I can import a random SVG into OpenOffice etc. then it will be useful.
    • While I'm always glad to see progress on every front, gnuplot has been sitting on the 3.* level for a

      long time.

      I was using 3.7 back in early 1999 - so it took 5+ years to past 3.7.x. Nice to see an upgrade to a very useful program.

      What I like best about gnuplot is that interactive mode and batch mode use the same commands - makes it really easy to write scripts and easy to write scripts that write scripts. One favorite was writing an awk script that would spit out a gnuplot script to plot 50+ files wor

  • New LaTeX support (Score:2, Interesting)

    by P-Nuts ( 592605 )

    For me, the best feature of gnuplot was the pslatex [gnuplot.info] terminal, which allows you to let LaTeX take care of typesetting the labels, legends and so forth, making the graph you include look much more integrated into your document than including just a plain .eps exported from some other software. Apparently there is now also an epslatex [gnuplot.info] terminal, and I would be interested to find out what benefits using this instead has.

    On a side note, xfig [xfig.org] allows the creation of simple diagrams with LaTeX formatted captions.

  • I use GraphCalc [graphcalc.com].I well I've enever used it under Linux, but I've used it under Windows and it works well. The interface is a little off, but so are most apps. It has a wonderful 3D graphing too undersurpassed by anything else I've seen. And unlike gnuplot, GraphCalc *is* under the GPL.

    I just thought I put this out there as it's a good free that also works for Windows and I'm sure that they could use a few more developers.
  • Notes from a reasonably satisfied gnuplot 3.7.x user.

    The developers did a good job of keeping the code portable - not loaded with gcc'isms as is the case with some open source packages. It compiled with no problem other than a scheissload of warning messages under Sun's Forte 6u2.

    Documentation is improved and the pdf is much easier to read with Acrobat than was the case for the 3.7 docs.

    A bit disappointed with the lack of the "gif" terminal - with the LZW patent now expired in the US. I know "png" is

"When the going gets tough, the tough get empirical." -- Jon Carroll