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Re: Migrating to Linux/Octave

From: E. Joshua Rigler
Subject: Re: Migrating to Linux/Octave
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 2004 09:30:58 -0600

A PC user's perspective:

I find that CPU cycle per CPU cycle, AMD chips are much better floating
point (fp) processors than Intel (something to do with the number of
floating point vs. integer registers on the CPUs, or something else I
don't really understand, but I get better fp performance with a single
1.6 GHz Opteron than I got with a 2.0 GHz P4).  With this in mind, you
may not have much choice but to go 64-bit these days, since AMD seems to
be phasing out their 32-bit processors entirely.  Another reason to go
with AMD is that their multi-CPU compatible chips (Opteron) and
motherboards are considerably cheaper than their Intel counterparts.

If you're not concerned with tweaking every last bit of fp performance
out of your system, and plan to do lots of other non-numerical stuff
(web browsing, multi-media, etc.), I would suggest going 32-bit.  You
could still go with Opteron, just install a 32-bit Linux distribution. 
This will allow you to retain compatibility with a number of proprietary
32-bit libraries/plugins (things like Flash or Acroread can not be
loaded as plugins in 64-bit Mozilla, for instance).

As for Linux flavors, I'm always partial to Fedora (is to Redhat what
Mozilla is to Netscape).  Keep in mind that even though Octave is
packaged and distributed with Fedora, it is typically out of date, and
doesn't include things like Octave-forge.  You will eventually learn
that it's best to just compile all this stuff from source when new
"stable" versions are made available at and


On Thu, 2004-10-07 at 08:35, Chris Marks wrote:
> Anticipating the day when I no longer have free access to Matlab, I intend
> to buy or build a new computer running Linux and Octave.  I find the
> prospect a bit overwhelming right now.  I consider myself highly literate
> Windows user, but am completely ignorant of Unix/Linux.  I have time and
> want to learn Linux, so some of the more expensive "do everything for me"
> packages are not appealing.  Most of my Matlab use in with linalg and
> statistics.  Is there a particular cheap/free Linux build that would be good
> for me?
> Hardware recomendations are also welcome.  Is there an advantage in getting
> a 64 bit system?  I am comfortable spending up to $1k on this project and am
> in the US.
> Chris Marks
> Laboratory Supervisor
> Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering
> University of Virginia
> PO Box 400745
> 116 Engineer's Way
> Charlottesville, VA 22904
> 434-982-5794
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> Octave is freely available under the terms of the GNU GPL.
> Octave's home on the web:
> How to fund new projects:
> Subscription information:
> -------------------------------------------------------------

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is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable 
to the American public. -- Theodore Roosevelt, 1918.

Octave is freely available under the terms of the GNU GPL.

Octave's home on the web:
How to fund new projects:
Subscription information:

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