Python as a numerical prototyping language.

Lonnie Princehouse fnord at
Sun Jan 4 04:59:07 CET 2004

Johannes.Nix wrote in message news:
> One point about Matlab: The basic Matlab is _expensive_. But in a
> commercial environment Matlab with signal processing extensions costs
> _tens of thousands of dollars_.  If I were founding an engineering
> startup, I would avoid Matlab if possible at all.


About a year ago, I attempted to answer the question "Can Python
replace Matlab?" for my workplace.  The conclusion was "Not quite
yet", for two reasons.

The first was purely human: Matlab is entrenched, and there's always
resistance to change (note: lots of people here still swear by Fortran

The second reason: there's no unified Python environment that gives
you easy access to plotting capability and an interpreter, a la
Matlab.  Python has the ability to do everything Matlab can (and much
more!) but it still requires just enough expertise to find, install,
and learn the various scipy and plotting modules that only the
early-adopter types are willing to do it.

Matlab projects around here have a tendency to start as a few .m
scripts, and to eventually mature into some kind of end-user
application complete with a simple GUI. This is where Python really
outshines Matlab: Tkinter and wxPython are far superior to the GUI
library that's built into Matlab, and the OO nature of Python makes
these more sophisticated applications much easier to develop and

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