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Re: Installation of Octave on Windows

From: Quentin Spencer
Subject: Re: Installation of Octave on Windows
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006 09:57:37 -0600
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.7-1.1.fc4 (X11/20050929)

Agustin Barto wrote:

Robert A. Macy wrote:

It is my understanding that making such a binary is not a
trivial act.

No really. Several "decades" ago I contributed a little to the Octave for Windows effort, and after collecting all the bits and pieces of information, Octave was could be compiled and packed without much effort. But as cygwin and Octave evolved, some bugs started to appear that started to make the task much more complicated. To complicate things I *really* needed octave-forge to be packed together with Octave (the package was supposed to ease the transition from Matlab to engineering students). The last time I tried to put all the things together, I failed time after time. I followed several threads on this list regarding a stand-alone Octave for Windows, and the answer was always the same: Why bother if you can install cygwin and then install the Octave package?

I got the message. It was obvious that supporting Windows wasn't an Octave (nor octave-forge) priority.

Well, I wouldn't say it's not an Octave priority--it's just not a priority of Octave's primary author to provide binary packages. All available binary packages (for Linux, cygwin, or otherwise) come from members of the user community, and until David Bateman's recent efforts, creating the sort of package that a lot of Windows users apparently want was a job waiting for a volunteer. John has repeatedly said he would accept patches to the octave source code needed to support this.

Although I rarely use Windows, I couldn't (and I shouldn't) force the students to use Linux. Given that, we decided to bite the bullet and switch to SciLab. Although this required to translate a lot of code and documentation, we never again had to worry about the users' particular platform. The smartest decision we made in years (second only to the idea to switch to Free Software).

I thought SciLab had some kind of restriction on commercial use, so it is therefore not Free Software as defined by the Free Software Foundation (, although it is distributed at no cost.


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

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