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Freemat is similar to the commercial package MATLAB
« on: April 11, 2014, 11:20:49 PM »
Freemat is similar to the commercial package MATLAB

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FreeMat is a free environment for rapid engineering and scientific prototyping and data processing. It is similar to commercial systems such as MATLAB from Mathworks, and IDL from Research Systems, but is Open Source. FreeMat is available under the GPL license.

Updated News - 2013-06-31 - FreeMat 4.2 - 32 bit binary for Windows

Added a 32 bit installer for people using Windows XP.
Latest News - 2013-06-30 - FreeMat 4.2 Released

We are pleased to annouce the release of FreeMat 4.2. This version includes a number of bug fixes and some cleaned up tests and documentation. Here is a brief list of changes:

    FreeMat is now (hopefully) easier to build. The top level README.TXT includes instructions on how to build FreeMat on all three platforms (Linux, Mac OS X, and Mingw32).
    Documentation has been migrated to doxygen.
    A number of improvements have been made to the JIT back end.
    64-bit on all platforms!

It's not a long list, but given the nearly 2 years since the last release, 4.2 is an important one. Comments or problems should be reported to the mailing list or filed as bugs on the website.


    Click to download FreeMat (will attempt to autodetect which version you need)
    Click to be taken to the list of all available downloads
    Click to download FreeMat Manual in PDF form

Getting Help
There are three sources of help (beyond the user manual, of course).

    A Google Group has been set up for support. It is open to anyone to join and read, but you must be a member to post, and posts are moderated (necessary after the spam-bots took over the old sourceforge mailing list). The website for the URL is The e-mail address for the group is
    Bug reports should be filed here: Report a Bug
    Feature requests should be filed here: Request a Feature


    The manual is available as a PDF here
    Built-in interactive help (Online Help), from the FreeMat Console by typing:

        --> helpwin

    Tutorials on FreeMat are available here
    The FreeMat Wiki is here
    The FreeMat Blog is here

More of a "wish they were FAQ".

    Q. What is FreeMat?

    FreeMat is an environment for rapid engineering and scientific processing. It is similar to commercial systems such as MATLAB from Mathworks and IDL from Research Systems, but is Open Source. It is free as in speech and free as in beer.
    Q. Why GPL?

    Previous versions of FreeMat were released under MIT licenses. The current version is released under GPL. There are a number of great tools that are available to GPL-ed code (e.g., Qt, FFTW, FFCALL), and FreeMat is now one of them.
    Q. Why another MATLAB clone? Have you heard of Octave, Scilab, etc.?

    Yes! FreeMat is chartered to go beyond MATLAB to include features such as a codeless interface to external C/C++/FORTRAN code, parallel/distributed algorithm development (via MPI), and advanced volume and 3D visualization capabilities. As for the open source alternatives, try them out and decide for yourself. Who said choice was a bad thing?
    Q. Is FreeMat 100% compatible with MATLAB? What about IDL?

    No. FreeMat supports roughly 95% (a made up statistic) of the features in MATLAB. The following table summarizes how FreeMat stacks up against MATLAB and IDL. Because we like to lead with the positive, here are the features in that are supported:
        N-dimensional array manipulation (by default, N is limited to 6)
        Support for 8,16, and 32 bit integer types (signed and unsigned), 32 and 64 bit floating point types, and 64 and 128 bit complex types.
        Built in arithmetic for manipulation of all supported data types.
        Support for solving linear systems of equations via the divide operators.
        Eigenvalue and singular value decompositions
        Full control structure support (including, for, while, break, continue, etc.)
        2D plotting and image display
        Heterogeneous array types (called "cell arrays" in MATLAB-speak) fully supported
        Full support for dynamic structure arrays
        Split-radix based FFT support
        Pass-by-reference support (an IDL feature)
        Keyword support (an IDL feature)
        Codeless interface to external C/C++/FORTRAN code
        Native Windows support
        Native sparse matrix support
        Native support for Mac OS X (no X11 server required).
        Function pointers (eval and feval are fully supported)
        Classes, operator overloading
        3D Plotting and visualization via OpenGL
        Handle-based graphics
        3D volume rendering capability (via VTK)

    Here are the list of major MATLAB features not currently supported:
    Finally the list of features that are in progress (meaning they are in the development version or are planned for the near future):
        Widgets/GUI building
        FreeMat-to-MEX interface for porting MATLAB MEX files.
    If you feel very strongly that one or more MATLAB features are missing that would be useful to have in FreeMat, you can either add it yourself or try and convince someone else (e.g., me) to add it for you. As for IDL, FreeMat is not compatible at all with IDL (the syntax is MATLAB-based), but a few critical concepts from IDL are implemented, including pass by reference and keywords.

    Q. What platforms are supported?

    Currently, Windows, Linux and Mac OS X are supported platforms. Other UNIX environments (such as IRIX/SOLARIS) may work. FreeMat essentially requires GNU gcc/g++ and LLVM/CLANG to build. The Win32 build requires MINGW32. I don't know if FreeMat will work with Windows 98/95/ME or NT4 as I don't have access to any of these platforms. A native port to Mac OS X is now available.
    Q. How do I get it?

    Click on the Downloads link here (or on the navigation bar on the left). Installers are available for Windows and Mac OS X, and source and binary packages are available for Linux.
    Q. I found a bug! What now?

    Congratulations! Please file a bug report here. FreeMat is a fairly complicated program. Simply saying "it crashed" is not particularly helpful. If possible, please provide a short function or script that reproduces the problem. That will go a long way towards helping us figure out the problem. Also, the bug tracking feature of SourceForge will allow you to put in bugs anonymously, but please don't! Anonymous bug reports are difficult to follow up on.
    Q. Where is function xyz?

    There are a number of basic functions that are missing from FreeMat's repetoire. They will be added as time goes on. If there is a particular function you would like to see, either write it yourself or put in an RFE (Request For Enhancement) here.
    Q. Who wrote FreeMat and why?

    FreeMat has been in development by a group of volunteers for nearly a decade.


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