Scientific Applications for Mandriva Linux


  • Intro
  • GNU Scientific Library
  • Plotting Programs
  • Commercial Applications
  • Misc.
KB index


Given that a great deal of software in the GNU/Linux world orginated or has strong links with the academic community. It is not surprising that there are a huge number of applications suitable for scientific use in your Mandriva GNU/Linux distribution.

This section of the knowledge base attempts to catalogue some of the more popular and more useful of the applications that are available as well as providing hints and tips on how to use them.


GNU Scientific Library

The GNU Scientific Library or GSL for short is a collection of routines for numerical computing. The routines have been written from scratch in C, and present a modern Applications Programming Interface (API) for C programmers. Using the GSL in your program allows you to build on other people's work rather than having to re-invent the wheel each time you come to solve a problem.

The GSL covers a wide range of subject areas:-

  • Complex Numbers
  • Roots of Polynomials
  • Special Functions
  • Vectors and Matrices
  • Permutations
  • Combinations
  • Sorting
  • BLAS Support
  • Linear Algebra
  • CBLAS Library
  • Fast Fourier Transforms
  • Eigensystems
  • Random Numbers
  • Quadrature
  • Random Distributions
  • Quasi-Random Sequences
  • Histograms
  • Statistics
  • Monte Carlo Integration
  • N-Tuples
  • Differential Equations
  • Simulated Annealing
  • Numerical Differentiation
  • Interpolation
  • Series Acceleration
  • Chebyshev Approximations
  • Root-Finding
  • Discrete Hankel Transforms
  • Least-Squares Fitting
  • Minimization
  • IEEE Floating-Point
  • Physical Constants
There are also a number of "wrappers" for higher level languages so if you prefer to program in Python (for example) then you can use that instead.

Due to the hard work and dedication of it's authors the GSL has a very comprehensive manual. More details on the GSL may be found at GSL homepage

Plotting Programs

Everyone loves plotting. There are a huge number of plotting programs available for Mandrakelinux here are some of them (if your favourite isn't listed here - edit the list ):-

  • GNUplot (curiously not a GNU project). GNUplot is a long-lived program that has recently had a major new release. A table of GNUplot screenshots is available.
  • The GNU Plotutils - useful for simple plots or non-interactive work. That is it is quite easy to use them to make a plot of the load on your server/areoplane/microwave for the last hour without human intervention.
  • Biggles is a python interface for the GNU plotutils.
  • Grace is a sophisticated 2d plotting tool that has a graphical user interface. Although the interface is relatively old the tool does produce really nice high quality 2d plots - once you get used to using it. Grace is in the contrib section of Mandrakelinux.
  • PyX produces high quality postscript output along with Latex style mathematical formatting. Although it still has not reached a 1.0 release - the screenshots PyX examples look quite impressive - if you require a logarithmic curved axis - this package could be for you1.1 PyX has to be downloaded and built from source - I am not aware of any packages for it.
One program that can also be used to produce 2D plots is Whilst quite nice, the plotting tool that comes with it requires a certain amount of effort to produce very good output. Of course free software evolves quite a lot so things may change

Other useful packages

  • R project - this is to be a very comprehensive package for doing statistical calculations. It was so good there was even a conference in Vienna about it at one point. R appears in Mandriva under the package name r-base. Once you install this you can use the built-in R packaging system to download and install a huge range of R packages.
  • GNU Octave is a high-level language, primarily intended for numerical computations. It provides a convenient command line interface for solving linear and nonlinear problems numerically, and for performing other numerical experiments using a language that is mostly compatible with Matlab. It may also be used as a batch-oriented language. GNU octave is in the contrib section of Mandriva Linux
  • Scilab is a scientific software package for numerical computations providing a powerful open computing environment for engineering and scientific applications.
  • Maxima is a software package for symbolic calculations. It includes a command line and a GUI. It uses a syntaxis similar to that of Mathematica. The rpms are included in Mandriva distribution in the contrib tree
  • PARI/GP can perform numerical computation with arbitrary precision. It can manipulate integers, floating points, and complex numbers. PARI is a C library allowing any program to perform numerical computation whereas GP is a user-level application using PARI. The rpms are included in Mandriva distribution in the contrib tree.
  • Engauge Digitizer is a digitizing software that converts an image file showing a graph or map, into numbers. The image file can come from a scanner, digital camera or screenshot. The numbers can be read on the screen, and written or copied to a spreadsheet. As of March 5th 2005, there is no rpm for mandriva but you can use the binary version.
  • Axiom is a general purpose system for doing mathematics by computer. It is especially useful for mathematical research and for development of mathematical algorithms. The Axiom Language is a strongly-typed high-level programming language for expressing abstract mathematical concepts.
Now the author of this page hasn't actually used any of these packages but they look like the free software standards in these areas.

Commercial application

You will not find rpm for these products in the Free version of Mandriva

  • Gauss - "An easy to use data analysis, mathematical and statistical environment based on the powerful, fast and efficient GAUSS Matrix Programming Language." (taken from the Aptech website) - Gauss works flawlessly on Mandrake 10.0 to Mandriva 2006.0. However only a terminal version (no GUI) is available for Linux.
  • Matlab - "MATLAB is a high-level language and interactive environment that enables you to perform computationally intensive tasks faster than with traditional programming languages such as C, C++, and Fortran." (taken from the MathWorks website) - Matlab works flawlessly on Mandriva 2006.0.
Revision / Modified: June 8, 2004
Author: Grant Ingram

Legal: This page is covered by the GNU Free Documentation License. Standard disclaimers of warranty apply. Copyright LSTB and Mandrakesoft.

KB - Scientific Applications for Mandriva Linux
Version 1.16 last modified by baud123 on 24/02/2006 at 23:13




Creator: grantingram on 2004/07/21 23:55
(c) Mandriva 2007