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Old 02-21-2004, 07:02 PM   #1
southsibling
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Octave-Number Crunching Language?


Ran across a reference somewhere to a C-based [?] language called "Octave" that was touted as a language that speaks mathematic-eze. i.e. it appears to be a good platform to develop math-based algorithims.

I'm a land surveyor, and I'm trying to cross the fence over to Linux. Winduds will always be a necessary evil because I've got many applications that feed off its' umbilical, but at the same time I create many quick-and-dirty routines (Excel, I gotta admit, is an elegant environment for even some very complex and involved calculation algorithms.) and I would like to pursue the same approach with Linux. Octave seems to be the magic potion of choice for this niche. Why do I wanna do these things?

'cause I'm caught up in all the hype that Linux is more reliable.
I envision [one fine day] creating a stand-alone [portable] CD with my own little Linux package, complete with surveying apps, that I can carry from jobsite to jobsite, toss onto any available PC, and go to work (is that a far-fetched vision? or have I latched on to a realistic dream?)

This discourse is kinda broad in its' nature, but I gotta spend my days productively, and if I burn huge chunks of time re-inventing my knowledge and expertise (Winduds to Linux) is the time worth it? or have I merely just recreated the exact same things I could already do, with a different trim around the edges?

Any sage/sanguine thoughts will be warmly received.
 
Old 02-21-2004, 11:50 PM   #2
Crito
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I'm not familiar with Octave, but seems there are custom Live-CD distros for just about everything nowadays. I was just looking at one from some guys in Argentina that's specifically for sharing broadband connections via WiFi: http://www.wifi.com.ar/english/ So your dream is certainly do-able and realistic. You could call it LowellLinux, or maybe SurveyLive XP Professional Edition.
 
Old 02-22-2004, 08:30 AM   #3
Vlad_M
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Re: Octave-Number Crunching Language?

Quote:
Originally posted by southsibling
Ran across a reference somewhere to a C-based [?] language called "Octave" that was touted as a language that speaks mathematic-eze. i.e. it appears to be a good platform to develop math-based algorithims.

I'm a land surveyor, and I'm trying to cross the fence over to Linux. Winduds will always be a necessary evil because I've got many applications that feed off its' umbilical, but at the same time I create many quick-and-dirty routines (Excel, I gotta admit, is an elegant environment for even some very complex and involved calculation algorithms.) and I would like to pursue the same approach with Linux. Octave seems to be the magic potion of choice for this niche. Why do I wanna do these things?

Octave is a MATLAB clone, however without some of the very fancy features present in MATLAB (most of the toolboxes, for example). But if you use MATLAB then you can get a Linux version if you have a valid licence anyway. If you do most of your calc work in Excel, you may want to investigate how OpenOffice would suit your puproses.

Quote:

'cause I'm caught up in all the hype that Linux is more reliable.
I envision [one fine day] creating a stand-alone [portable] CD with my own little Linux package, complete with surveying apps, that I can carry from jobsite to jobsite, toss onto any available PC, and go to work (is that a far-fetched vision? or have I latched on to a realistic dream?)

This discourse is kinda broad in its' nature, but I gotta spend my days productively, and if I burn huge chunks of time re-inventing my knowledge and expertise (Winduds to Linux) is the time worth it? or have I merely just recreated the exact same things I could already do, with a different trim around the edges?
That is the question only you can answer. What is it about Windows that is bothering you? I had a very defined reason before I decided that I want to switch to Linux and invest enough time and effort in becoming as profficient in Linux as I was in Windows. It was a most rewarding journey (which is by no means over) but the important thing is that I could see instant benefits, I didn't just do it because I got caught up in the hype of it.

The idea of a live cd is far from a dream, I don't think that it would take you very long to be able to do something like that (provided that you can find the suitable software). I don't know much about surveying so I can't offer any real advice there, although to a fellow engineer I would recommend a switch to linux anytime, since I know how much more productive one can be.

However you can just as well make a CD with all the neccessary Windows apps and pop that onto a PC (which will more than likely be running some version of Windows anyway).
 
Old 02-22-2004, 08:47 AM   #4
southsibling
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Thanks for your time and your [very encouraging] responses. Actually, you were 'right on' up to the last comment: 'However you can just as well make a CD with all the neccessary...'. Nope. Can't. So there!

Actually, your [above] slip in logic really nailed the coffin, believe it or not. e.g., should I show up on Job XYZ with my nifty little CD package containing Exel solutions for EVERYTHING, and the available computer does not have Excel installed, I'm dead in the water. Youv'e just crystallized my misgivings. [I believe...] that the beauty of Linux (well, just one of 'em) is that with a self-contained OS/application/database format/Solitaire game on one CD, I am bringing my own fail-safe package with me (as I ride up to save the day), and can't be caught short just when I need to produce results (5 bulldozers, 3 earthmovers, and a crew of 10 laborers are cooling their heels, waiting for my surveying to get done).

That's how I envision Linux as being an effort worth pursuing. Besides, the fact that it was born in a techno environ gives me a warm-an'-fuzzy about its' freindliness to technical endeavors.
 
Old 02-22-2004, 02:43 PM   #5
Vlad_M
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Ok, I see your reasoning. I still have to find a Windows machine without office installed (they are pretty uselless without it), but I suppose a live linux CD can have much more software on it than an equivalent cd with Windows applications.

However, I must point out a flaw in *your* logic. Any solution which relies on some unknown unknown (to borrow Mr. Rumsfeld's terminology) is far from fail-safe. What I am trying to say, is that you can have your live cd specifically tailored for surveying, only to come to the site and find that they only have Mac's there (hypothetically, but you catch my drift).

Lucky for you, there are these things called laptops. Basically they are small powerful computers, battery powered, which you can take from site to site (as you ride up to save the day), with just a little more effort than your live cd. This way, you will never get caught with your pants down. Provided you carry a spare battery of course.

That last paragraph is just a joke, of course.
 
Old 02-22-2004, 09:26 PM   #6
southsibling
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Whoa!! Yer goin' in the wrong direction here...

If I can carry my computer around with me, it tends to negate all the arguments toward having a reliable and portable (those sound like the right words, but believe me, I've only got a vague idea if I'm using them correctly) carry-onboard OS/app. package.

True, a portable computer would be a very useful solution, but I sho' nuff ain't gonna spring the bucks for one, and neither, apparently, is my employer (who shall remain anonymous).

But, that's all OK. If the existing circumstances/constraints/concerns push me over into adopting Linux, and I find it to be the true nervana of computing, then what's to lose?
 
  


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