gnuplot is a command-line program that can generate two- and three-dimensional plots of functions, data, and data fits. It is frequently used for publication quality graphics as well as educational purposes. The program runs on all major computers and operating systems (GNU/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 the GPL license, opting for its own open source license instead.
gnuplot can produce output directly on screen, or in many formats of graphics files, including Portable Network Graphics (PNG), Encapsulated PostScript (EPS), Scalable Vector Graphics (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 languages, including Perl (via CPAN), Python (via Gnuplot-py and SAGE), Java (via jgnuplot), Ruby (via Ruby Gnuplot) and Smalltalk (Squeak and GNU Smalltalk). gnuplot also supports piping.
gnuplot is programmed in C.
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.
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