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Re: Philosophy help.

From: A S Hodel
Subject: Re: Philosophy help.
Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000 10:31:34 -0600
User-agent: Microsoft-Outlook-Express-Macintosh-Edition/5.02.2022

> on 12/6/00 4:59 AM, Douglas Eck at address@hidden wrote:

> Why doesn't Octave stay matlab compatible
> when it seems easy to be matlab compatible?
> Isn't it a design goal of octave to be matlab compatible?

No, it's not.  In point of fact, "Matlab compatibility" is a moving target
and so is an unreasonable design goal.  In fact, many MATLAB users can point
out that MATLAB 5 isn't compatible with MATLAB 4 (external code interface
and even m-files no longer working).  Since backward compatibility IS an
issue for Octave users, Octave should be viewed instead as a numerical
programming environment that just happens to be similar in many respects to

> For example matlab's default is to short-circuit
> the or operator (|). Why does octave have a new
> short-circuit operator (||) and make (|) not short-circuit.
> Isn't it clear that changes like this make it
> absolutely hell to have code that is both matlab and
> octave clean? 

Octave's internals and development are entirely independent of Matlab; as a
result, there are other difference between Octave and Matlab that require
some change in m-file scripts.  The one above is cosmetic, and is incorrect:

octave:1> x = 0 || 0
x = 0
octave:2> x = 0 | 0
x = 0
octave:3> x = 0 || 1
x = 1
octave:4> x = 1 | 0
x = 1
octave:5> x = 5 || 9
x = 1

There *are* other issues that render Octave and Matlab different (see, for
example, implementations of the generalized eigenvalue problem solution and
balancing, routines qz and balance, if I remember right).  I've found it
necessary for each project to pick an environment, MATLAB or Octave, and
stick with it.  

That doesn't solve your problem in migration, of course.  There has been
some discussion in the past few months (maybe in the last 9 months ...) on
conversion from one to the other.  You may get some help looking at the
help-octave archives and contacting the contributors there for their

A S Hodel Assoc. Prof. Dept Elec. Comp. Eng.  Auburn Univ, AL 36849-5201
(334) 844-1854 Fax -1809Šþscotte

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