Hm. Well, in all the excitement of installing NumPy, and configuring Emacs for Python, I neglected to actually install SciPy. I thought I was going to have to do something pretty complicated, but it turns out that SciPy was available through Synaptic. That makes my life much easier. I also never got around to installing Matplotlib…also found in Synaptic! I guess that the versions that come with the OS’s aren’t always the most up-to-date and stable, but I’m going to go ahead and take that risk in the interest of moving forward in my quest. (whatever that is).

I think I like Matplotlib and iPython because they are both somewhat reminiscent of Matlab (my favorite!). Why would I want to go to all this trouble to figure out Matplotlib and iPython, Numpy and Scipy? Because they are FREE! And it’s fun to figure it all out. Keeps me entertained.

Ran across your blog randomly while poking around for emacs stuff. I felt the need to comment that I remember NumPy being obnoxious to configure. Then again, it was about two years ago on my Windows box, but my poor netbook is out of hard drive space to test on *nix.

How’s the plotting environment in NumPy/SciPy compare to IDL, do you know? The bane of losing backups for non-OSS programs …

It’s been a *really* long time since I’ve used Numpy, and even then I barely scratched the surface. I ended up using Matlab for most of my scripting/computing/plotting needs while working on my Masters, and abandoned all things Python. I am only just getting back into it, and unfortunately don’t know enough about Numpy yet to commiserate on its obnoxiousness! 🙂

I have to admit, I have never used IDL. In fact, I had no idea what it was until I googled it 5 minutes ago. So I guess it’s not open source… One of the main reasons I want to switch to Python is because its free. I like free. And once I graduated, all of the student discounts went away. Sadly, I can no longer get Matlab for a hundred bucks. Or Mathematica for $150.

Oh yeah, and I think I DID lose my backup for my student version of Matlab…bummer.

IDL is a pretty decent language, particularly for plot generation and data reduction, and pretty standard for the astronomical community (fun fact: all that leaked code from the CRU is IDL). The program is mean about their licenses, though … it runs for 15 minutes at a time without them!

Yep. I feel the pain on no student discounts.