Best mathematics packages for Linux in 2024


Test 5: Moving data in and out

Mathematics has always been, and still is, a theoretical approach to understanding the world around us. Since this is the case you need to get data in and out from these applications. 

The most obvious way to do this is to export files. As you will see, you can also communicate directly with other devices and even servers that collect information.

Many Linux Format readers will have projects at home, perhaps to do with home automation. To support these projects, you can use available communication protocols. 

Scilab and Octave have packages to do this; they support serial, socket and more. Together with the serial port, you can also add an Arduino package. This makes it easy to have sensors on the Arduino and connect directly to your mathematics module.

Engauge Digitizer is made especially to export an image to a spreadsheet. You take out as many numbers as you want, and that’s about it. 

Genius has many more mathematical functions and can export to more formats. These export options are great for documents. You can export graphs as PDF or PNG files, and mathematical formulae as LaTeX, MathML and Troff. 

With Scilab, you have a programmatic interface to Pandoc to achieve great documentation for your projects. The list of formats is too extensive to cover here. Importing from big datasets is great for backing up your opinions.

Test 5 Verdict

The winner, Scilab, wins on sheer volume. Engauge Digitizer loses, although it is intended to have one specific export function.

If you feel that everyone is biased in debates, you can use public datasets to see what the data says. In Scilab, you have advanced statistics and even machine learning modules. There is also an R-module and many specialised toolboxes at Octave has many similar modules.

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Test 5 scores
GNU Octave8/10Scilab9/10
Engauge Digitizer4/10Row 2 - Cell 2 Row 2 - Cell 3

Test 6: Teaching Resources

We usually consider maths as separate from our daily lives. This is despite the fact that most big decisions are made based on calculations – we just don’t notice. With this disconnect, mathematics education is of utmost importance. 

The packages in this collection are to teach mathematics in many ways, some more than others.

GeoGebra is centred around education. As mentioned earlier, the manual runs in the client. With a plethora of resources on the website, you can start teaching very easily. If you are a professional, they have paid services also.

GNU Octave is more centred around getting results for problems. Many professors have written their thesis by finding insights with Octave. Exporting to LaTeX and other formats is well supported, using the programming language included. 

With that said, several universities use Octave as the main software for teaching several disciplines.

Engauge Digitizer is not for teaching, but it is useful for finding data from graphs in pictures. Genius has, with the default install, a remarkable amount of known algorithms and mathematical proofs. 

They are available in the examples, and just running these will demonstrate the principles. You cannot easily add comments to the results or calculations. Since exporting is so well supported it does work well to create documents though.

Test 6 Verdict

In this test we tried to learn our maths, and as expected GeoGebra wins thanks to its focus on education.

It also has its own programming language which is useful for students to learn from. Inside the packages for Scilab are many demonstrations for the most diverse range of subjects. Integrating clarifying text to show your point is also well supported. You can add buttons and sliders using its programming language.

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Test 6 scores
GNU Octave7/10Scilab7/10
Engauge Digitizer4/10Row 2 - Cell 2 Row 2 - Cell 3