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3D rendering of an ellipsoid by gnuplot
Stable release 4.2.4  (2008-9-22; 198 days ago) [+/−]
Preview release 4.3  (CVS development version) [+/−]
Preview release Through CVS
Written in C
Platform Cross-platform
Development status Active
Type Plotting
License Own licence

gnuplot is a command-line program that can generate two- and three-dimensional plots of functions and data. The program runs on all major computers and operating systems (Linux, UNIX, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and others). It is a program with a fairly long history, dating back to 1986. This software is not distributed under GPL license, opting for its own non-free software open source license instead.

gnuplot can produce output directly on screen, or in many formats of graphics files, including PNG, EPS, SVG, JPEG and many others. It is also capable of producing LaTeX code that can be included directly in LaTeX documents, making use of LaTeX's fonts and powerful formulae abilities. The program can be used both interactively and in batch mode using scripts. For an example script and its output, see logarithmic spiral.png. The program is well supported and documented. Extensive help can also be found on the Internet.

gnuplot is used as the plotting engine of GNU Octave, Maxima and gretl, and it can be used from various scripting languages, including Perl (via CPAN), Python (via Gnuplot-py and SAGE), Ruby (via rgnuplot) and Smalltalk (Squeak and GNU Smalltalk). gnuplot is programmed in C.


[edit] License

Despite gnuplot’s name, it is not part of or related to the GNU system (hence the decision to use a lowercase 'g') and it is not distributed under the GPL. However some GNU packages do use gnuplot.

The title of this program was originally chosen to avoid conflicts with a program called “newplot,” and was originally a compromise between “llamaplot” and “nplot.”[1]

The program is distributed under a license which permits copying and modification of the source code. However, modified versions are only allowed to be distributed as patch files.

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