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Re: Who uses Octave?

From: Clark Dunson
Subject: Re: Who uses Octave?
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2012 10:46:51 -0800

We want to use Octave.  We are a small research firm who researches earthquake 
We operate 84 remote sites in California, Peru, Greece, and Taiwan since 2001 
with plans to
add 50 more soon.  (see

Right now we are a ML shop, and migration has been hampered by the fact that 
our main data 
chassis was written using ML objects.  Our data center is a parallel farm on 
Ubuntu and we give 
MW a fair chunk of change every year to maintain the statistics and signal 
processing toolboxes 
that we use.  At least some of this could be re-directed.

We weathered the 7.0 release of ML, which among other things ended our 
technique of using 
cygwin to call bash, though it did re-assert case sensitivity.  This was no 
fun, though arguably 
an improvement (if you're on Linux).  We also embedded (Ben 
Fry/Casey Reas, as a replacement plotting engine for ML, but the way 
garbage collection 
is done (or not done) within ML scotched the usefulness of the result.  I 
started an importer/code 
generator for the Umbrello Modeler for Matlab, but now I am considering that 
Octave might be a
better target.  (Once I learn OO in Octave ;)

Our problem now is that we have international students who would love to help 
us analyze our
data, but they have no $$$ for ML.  Even the student version is priced out for 
them.  Our thought
is to release our code base through SF as an Octave, perhaps ML compatible code 
set.  We are
planning a crowd-sourcing exercise later this year, and I'd really like to have 
Octave as an option.

To effect this, we need to travers two uncertain paths of migration (uncertain 
to us at least).

1) Port 7-8 classes from ML to Octave, or better, write a converter script 
(anyone have one?)

2) Convert our very fast data loader (mex) to an equivalent in Octave.  We 
typically open and 
process thousands of hundred megabyte data sets per day.

I joined the Octave mailing list a couple of years ago, and have reported to my 
manager that
support here is very good.  I also bought books on Octave and GNU Plot, but how 
to get the
ball rolling further?  That's what's in front of us now.  One thing that looks 
very promising to us
is that Octave seems to start hecka quicker than ML, which is good for batch 
processing many
little jobs.

(PS, as feature-stuffed as ML's GUI may be, it seems that the only parts of it 
that I use are:  
Command Window; Workspace; and Command History.  I can't recall having clicked 
other button or menu in a long, long time.)

Cheers, and thanks for all the code and good vibes!

- Clark

On Feb 5, 2012, at 6:36 AM, Chipmuenk wrote:

> I'm a teacher for Electrical Engineering at the Munich University of Applied
> Sciences and I use 
> Octave (3.2.4 + GUI Octave) from time to time on my private laptop for some
> digital filter design 
> and simulations and to create illustrations for my presentation slides. The
> capabilities of 
> Octave are more than sufficient for most EE courses and I would like to use
> Octave instead of ML 
> in my courses "Digital Signal Processing on FPGAs" and "Analog Circuit
> Design", but currently 
> some issues keep me from doing this on a larger scale:
> - First and foremost: No proper GUI - my students are not willing to use the
> software mainly due 
> to this reason, they rather get a cracked ML version instead (which I
> disapprove of!). 
> - No fixpoint package, I've written some simple (and slow!) functions to get
> around this, but I 
> think it is a pity that the "fixed" package seems to be dead
> - A Filter GUI like "Filter Design and Analysis" in ML is essential for
> teaching the basics of 
> DSP. I could help to create such a GUI, also with fixpoint / quantized
> arithmetic, but I'm not 
> sure about the state of Zenity or some other (?) GUI package and how it fits
> with the ongoing 
> changes of the graphical backend. And I'm not a C / C++ programmer.
> - Highlevel FPGA design tools are only available for ML / SL. I have some
> ideas how to get around 
> this with a "poor mans design flow" but before I dive into this I would like
> to understand what 
> will likely happen (and when!) with the other issues
> - Hardware I/O: I'm not sure how easy it it to talk to simple analog and
> digital I/O cards but 
> haven't heard a lot of success stories yet. The main OS of my students is
> Windows, other OS are < 
> 10% I would guess.
> I have also tried to promote Octave to my colleagues but they stick to ML
> (in spite of licence 
> fees that we are not happy with at all) for similar reasons as stated above.
> So, unfortunately, 
> Octave currently is only a "backup solution" at our university. 
> While this is not strictly a reply to "who uses octave" but more to "who
> would like to use octave", maybe it helps to explain why Octave is not as
> common among EE students as it seems to be among other faculties.
> Best regards,
> Christian Münker 
> --
> View this message in context: 
> Sent from the Octave - General mailing list archive at
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> Help-octave mailing list
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