Personally, I haven't used Octave in a number of years.
Hence: this page is outdated!
There are a number of Open Source alternatives to the program MatLab, one of the most known alternatives is GNU Octave. When using Octave you use a command line to enter commands. For a novice, the lack of a graphical interface might be intimidating; QtOctave provides a somewhat user friendly graphical interface to Octave.
Web Interface to Octave
There is a cloud-version of Octave at http://www.verbosus.com/; from this place you can run Octave from the Internet.
Install QtOctave from Ubuntu Software Center.
Octave for Windows or Mac
QtOctave is just a graphical user interface for Octave. In order to run QtOctave, you must first download Octave, which can be downloaded from SourceForge http://octave.sourceforge.net/. Download it and install it.
First you need Qt which is a cross-platform C++ application framework. Download Qt from http://qt.nokia.com/downloads/qt-for-open-source-cpp-development-on-mac-os-x/; the file needed is encircled in the picture below, it is the "Cocoa"-file.
You also need the QtOctave-file which can be downloaded from http://sites.google.com/site/davidecittaro/software.
Double click on the zip-file to extract it, then move the QtOctave-file to the Application folder.
Download QtOctave from http://www.outsch.org/2011/01/29/qtoctave-0-10-1-for-windows/.
Download the zip-file from the link above. Right-click on the zip-file and
Extract all. Pick a place where you want the qtoctave-directory.
After extracting all files, go to the directory and then into qtoctave/bin,
find the file qtoctave.exe, this is the executable file, don't move this file.
You can make a short-cut to the desk top by right-clicking on qtoctave.exe.
When you start QtOctave for the first time you might get an error message saying
that it cannot find Octave; the program will start anyway but you will not be
able to do anything without Octave. Find the file Octave.exe on your computer,
the file is in a directory called
bin (binary). Right click on
the file and choose properties to see the file path. It might look like this:
You must now specify this file path in QtOctave. Choose
configuration and click on Octave.
Select... and navigate to the executable Octave-file.
You can also write the file path.
Note that Windows uses "\" to separate directories whereas Unix/Linux uses "/"!
If you need help, Google on either MatLab or Octave plus whatever you command/feature you want to know more about. Most of the homepages are made for viewers having a mathematical knowledge exceeding that of a student at school. MatLab is an abbreviation of Matrix Laboratory and the program itself is based on matrices; you can however use the program even though you lack a deeper understanding of linear algebra, in many cases you can think of the matrices simply as tables of numbers.
by Malin Christersson under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Sweden License