[PYTHON MATRIX-SIG] Plotting packages

Zane C. Motteler motteler@laura.llnl.gov
Fri, 7 Mar 97 12:37:38 PST


> Recent posts have started me thinking about plotting and NumPy again.  This 
> seems to be the weakest link in the package at the moment (since I've only 
> been receiving minimal bug reports for the first beta release).  I'd really 
> like people to be able to type:
> plot(sin(arange(0,5*pi,pi/10)))
> Here are my brief comments on the major packages out there, and why I don't 
> use them:
> 1) Narcisse - Cool package used somewhat at Livermore, not publicly 
> available.

The French are working to make it public domain. I think their
bureaucracy is more impenetrable than ours, though. Narcisse does
have a couple of problems. First, it's very poor for 2d plots
(excellent for 3d however). Secondly, it is glacially slow.

> 2) Gist - Completely tied to Xlib.  Requires patches to python interpreter 
> to use.

I now have excellent 2d and 3d Gist capability available in Python,
and in fact, the above plot command is pretty close to one of the
plot commands I have implemented. We haven't yet released this to
the general public because it was written with the older version
of NumPy, and as you know, the interface has changed dramatically, which
means that I have a lot of rewriting to do.

> 4) PLPlot - The best option I've seen, the basic distribution even comes 
> with a python module.  It's driver model also looks good, I could easily 
> see adding Windows support.  On the other hand, installation is really a 
> pain.  I just spent 45 minutes trying to get it up and running under Sun 
> Solaris with no luck.  I'm also unsure of whether or not it is missing 
> important features that these other packages have.

Actually, Geoff Furnish has suggested that I look at the possibility
of a "plplot driver" for Gist. I haven't, yet; don't have much spare
time right now, as I am in the midst of *trying* to develop a Gist
widget for tk. The former may actually be easier than the latter.



Zane C. Motteler, Ph. D.                  ___________ALSO:_________________
Computer Scientist                        | Professor Emeritus of Computer|
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory    |   Science and Engineering     |
P O Box 808, L-472                        | California Polytechnic State  |
Livermore, CA 94551-9900                  |   University, San Luis Obispo |
510/423-2143                              ---------------------------------
FAX 510/423-9969
zcm@llnl.gov or motteler@laura.llnl.gov or zmottel@calpoly.edu

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