[volt-nuts] do you like Labview in your labs?

Chuck Harris cfharris at erols.com
Mon Dec 6 15:00:32 UTC 2010

To my way of seeing things: Opensource software is like a philanthropist
who is throwing $100 bills to the wind for anyone who wants them, and the
masses are stomping the bills into the ground because they can't believe
that anyone would give away anything of value.

The famous violinist Joshua Bell, on a dare from Washington Post humorist
Gene Wiengarten, stood at the entrance to a busy Metro (subway) station, and
played his heart out for a whole day.  Quality playing, and quality pieces
of music that concert goers would have payed hundreds of dollars to see at
venues all around the world... And only 3 people stopped to listen.  The
rest just hustled through ignoring the busker.

Octave, Scilab, Python, Perl, GCC, G77, Openoffice.org, Mozilla, Linux, BSD,
Cinelerra, Audacity, Rosegarden, K3B, Gimp, Cups,... I could go on for hours...
Are all world class software that meets, or exceeds, anything available
commercially and are free.

And yet, like the philanthropist tossing $100 bills, or Joshua Bell playing
his heart out in a subway station, they are largely ignored by the masses.


-Chuck Harris

shalimr9 at gmail.com wrote:
> "I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would set up their tent in NI labview land."
> Some people like the comfort it gives to pay for something. The perception that if anything goes wrong, someone will
> be there to help you. What they don't realize is that most commercial software vendors are resorting to user forums
> to help users with problem, just like to free software folks have done for ages.
> I had a need to learn Matlab quickly to help my son with an assignment (he is an EE student). We were able to share
> his login to the free on-line tool Matlab provides to universities (a Citrix client, a little cumbersome and slow,
> but it did work, mostly), but only one of us could be logged at a time. Since he is several hundred miles from me,
> that was not convenient. So I checked the Matlab web site for a license or a free trial. They have severe
> restrictions to their free trial, and they have to approve you first. For about $2,000, you can buy a single user
> license, what a deal! Keep in mind this is for software that is not even aware that Windows has been supporting long
> file names since Windows 95, only 15 years ago.
> So I downloaded and installed Octave, the free Matlab clone on my machine. It ran all the Matlab scripts we threw at
> it without a flinch. All the error messages (when present) were the same between Octave and Matlab. Octave wants to
> be a faithful Matlab clone, so they have the same restrictions on long file names by the way, which I found amusing.
> I can tolerate that from free software, it is inexcusable for expensive commercial software.
> I don't understand why the university would force the students to use Matlab (even though they provide a free login,
> this login expires when the class is over) when quality free tools like Octave are available.
> By the way, I don't think Octave will replace Spice any time soon, but it looks like a very useful tool. That was an
> interesting exercise for me :)
> Didier KO4BB

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