Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Recommending installing Cygwin for Octave-use

  1. Nov 11, 2013 #1

    I am not particularly well-versed in computers but I am interesting in expanding my knowledge.
    Basically, I have some familiarity with Matlab (from Uni), and I am interested in similar 'higher-level' numerical programming languages. Matlab is too expensive for a poor-person like myself. Instead, I have been playing around with R and with Octave; after running into some difficulties with Octave I read that it is a Unix-based programme. I found that a Unix-like shell could be put on Windows called Cygwin and I found some websites recommending installing Cygwin for Octave-use. My PC is a 32-bit Vista. I am quite excited at the prospect of using Cygwin; however, I am not sure if there are any issues I am missing. I am the sole user of my PC and happy to play around and learn to use Cygwin.

    Are there any issues a newbie should be aware of?, and is it worth installing?
    Any help appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2013 #2
  4. Nov 12, 2013 #3
    Doesn't MatLab have a special deal for their software for Students? I know they have at least have a trial version...
  5. Nov 12, 2013 #4
    Thanks, bits. Prior to Cygwin, I downloaded the Windows version, but it didn't run particularly well. It is most probably an error in my downloading of Octave. I tried Cygwin, then Octave and Python through the Cygwin additional packages (in the same installer file), but it didn't go too well, either: I think it involves more computer know-how than I have. For now, it would seem best for me to stick to more familiar set-ups that are more Windows-friendly.

    I graduated recently and I am not currently at university. Not having some data to play around with is making me unhappy.
  6. Nov 13, 2013 #5
    You could also try scilab. It is very close to matlab and there is a windows version as well.

    Because a lot of gnu and open source software is being developed for linux, you might consider installing linux in a separate partition. I find Ubuntu and SuSe very user friendly. You can first burn a knoppix bootable linux dvd to see what it's like.
  7. Nov 15, 2013 #6
    Hi bigfooted,
    Thanks for the response. I installed Scilab and its just what I was looking for to ease my withdrawal symptoms.
    I looked into the partitioning to add Ubuntu. My computer has a lot of Hard disc space, but it isn't the speediest computer, I'm not sure what would be the effect of having both, I believe you choose on start-up but I am not sure if there is any extra burden on processing, etc.

    I was actually considering building a PC which won't be until next year, but I am doing the necessary 'research' at the moment and was considering putting Ubuntu on that PC instead. Presumably, if the PC is built from scratch, I simply use a CD with an 'Ubuntu Installer' on it?

    It's interesting that a lot of GNU and open source software is for linux; I guess its the preferred OS for programmers? I used it briefly at Uni and I have to admit it is pretty cool (I'm not a programmer mind you, actually have limited knowledge).

    Anyway, thanks for the information!
  8. Nov 15, 2013 #7
    During the boot process you can choose between starting windows or linux. After you've made your choice, the OS starts and the other OS will be ignored. Neither windows nor linux will be slower when there is another OS present because the other OS is not started.
    You can put ubuntu on a bootable dvd and run the entire OS from DVD without installing anything:

    The times that you had to be a hardcore computer nerd to work with linux are over.
  9. Nov 16, 2013 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Forget cygwin or dual boot, get Oracle Virtual Box and install the latest Ubuntu. Makes an In-windows virtual PC.
  10. Nov 16, 2013 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I prefer cygwin to virtual boxes. They take up a lot of resources. Cygwin is pretty straightforward. Just be sure when you install it to select ssh and associated xterm in the packages. It's not there by default.

    I have dual boot, but there's really no reason for me to use my linux distribution. I use slackware, but mostly just for fun and learning. I'm a much more competent Windows user and there's way less messing with configurations and other admin tasks in Windows. Window's Cisco VPN client plays nicer than linux versions with my school server and cygwin has everything i need for serving myself a matlab window at home.
  11. Nov 18, 2013 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    With the power and resources of modern computers the ease of Virtual boxes makes them worth the extra resources. You can have both systems up and controlling different peripherals at the same time. Generally at my lab at work it is a windows virtual box on a linux machine, but that is bacause our main servers are linux machines.

    Dual boot is a hassle. Living in both worlds and sharing peripherals is really nice.
  12. Nov 25, 2013 #11
    Thanks for all the options. I tried a dual boot with Ubuntu and Windows, then decided to switch solely to Ubuntu. There are a whole range of cool opensource programmes, plus its piqued my interest in OSs. Besides the convenience (how User-friendly it is), I don't see the benefits of Windows, plus alot of the opensource stuff is oriented towards Linux OSs. Many thanks for all the help!
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Recommending installing Cygwin for Octave-use
  1. Cygwin + g95 (Replies: 1)