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My collaborators are using Matlab to do some simulations. Is there an open source alternative I could use on Linux to run these scripts? It would need to be fairly closely compatible with the (1) matlab language (2) the *.fig files - saved plots.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Whenever questions of equivolant programs for other platforms come up, the first place I always check is AlternativeTo. It seems there are several possibilities in your case.

Interestingly it looks like Wolfram Alfa has an entry into the field that runs on Linux, although the license is proprietary. After that the popular ones appear to be Sage, Octave and Scilab, although you should check through the list to see if anything suits you better as there are some promising names such as FreeMat and OpenModelica (although if the projects are immature they could be disappointing.)

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Thanks, Caleb. I loved this AlternativeTo thing. – rbanffy Apr 5 '12 at 1:13

There are 2 major ones for the language (I don't know about .fig though):

I have tried Octave and Scilab and 90% of the time, my code runs on MATLAB without a single modification. Sometimes, there are a few modifications necessary but they are well documented and quite easy to implement. (Like % as comments instead of // etc.)

Between Octave and SciLab, A quick google search will help you find one that suits your need. But both are brilliant IMO.

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I'm not sure how compatible with the matlab files, but you could look at FreeMat, which is an open-source, cross-platform system.

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You can try a Octave, which have a language similar to Matlab, or SciLab. *.fig files you can plot via Xfig or maybe GnuPlot.

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The *.fig Matlab format is not the same as the format used by Xfig. – Grzenio Apr 2 '12 at 7:16

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