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The Gnuplot Plotting Utility **************************** Gnuplot is a command-line driven interactive function plotting utility for linux, OSX, MSWin, VMS, and many other platforms. The software is copyrighted but freely distributed (i.e., you don't have to pay for it). It was originally intended as graphical program to allow scientists and students to visualize mathematical functions and data. Gnuplot supports many different types of terminals, plotters, and printers (including many color devices, and pseudo-devices like LaTeX) and is easily extensible to include new devices. The "GNU" in gnuplot is NOT related to the Free Software Foundation, the naming is just a coincidence (and a long story; see the gnuplot FAQ for details). Thus gnuplot is not covered by the GPL (GNU Public License) copyleft, but rather by its own copyright statement, included in all source code files. However, some of the associated drivers and support utilities are dual-licensed. Gnuplot handles both curves (2 dimensions) and surfaces (3 dimensions). Surfaces can be plotted as a mesh fitting the specified function, floating in the 3-d coordinate space, or as a contour plot on the x-y plane. For 2-d plots, there are also many plot styles including lines, points, boxes, heat maps, stacked histograms, and contoured projections of 3D data. Graphs may be labeled with arbitrary labels and arrows, axis labels, a title, date and time, and a key. The interface includes command-line editing and history on most platforms. The new gnuplot user should begin by reading the general information available by typing `help` after running gnuplot. Then read about the `plot` command (type `help plot`). The manual for gnuplot (which is a nicely formatted version of the on-line help information) is available as a PDF document, created via LaTeX. Look at the docs/Makefile for other options for formatting the documentation. The gnuplot source code and executables may be copied and/or modified freely as long as the copyright messages are left intact. Copyright and Porting ===================== See the Copyright file for copyright conditions. See the ChangeLog and docs/old/History.old file for changes to gnuplot. Build instructions are in the INSTALL file. Some additional informations needed to port gnuplot to new platforms not covered by GNU autoconf can be found in the PORTING file. The code for gnuplot was written with portability in mind, and has been run on an amazing variety of operating systems and hardware over the years. However, the current code has not been tested on all those older platforms and some of the conditional code to support quirks of obsolete compilers and OS features has been removed. You can expect that gnuplot will compile more or less out of the box on any system which has the GNU C compiler gcc or other ANSI-compliant C compiler. Some specific [optional] drivers are written in C++ or lua. Help and Bug Reports ******************** Your primary place to go searching for help with gnuplot should be the project's webpage. At the time of this writing, that's http://gnuplot.sourceforge.net It has links to a lot of material, including the project's development page, also at SourceForge: http://sourceforge.net/projects/gnuplot/ Note that since gnuplot has nothing to do with the GNU project, please don't ask them for help or information about gnuplot; also, please don't ask us about GNU stuff. Please note that all bug reports should include the machine you are using, the operating system and it's version, plotting devices, and the version of gnuplot that you are running. If you could add such information to any messages on the Usenet newsgroup or the other mailing lists and trackers, that'd be nice, too. Usenet ====== Additional help can be obtained from the USENET newsgroup comp.graphics.apps.gnuplot. This newsgroup is the first place to ask for routine help. It used to be gatewayed bi-directionally to the info-gnuplot mailing list, but that had to be stopped when we moved the mailing lists off Dartmouth. Mailing Lists ============= As of gnuplot-4.0, the gnuplot mailing lists have moved away from their old home at Dartmouth College (thanks, guys!) to the project's general new development site provided by SourceForge.net. To subscribe to these new mailing lists, use the Web Interface provided by SourceForge.net: http://sourceforge.net/mail/?group_id=2055 The main lists you may be interested in are "gnuplot-info" and "gnuplot-bugs". "gnuplot-info" is for general discussion and questions about how to use the program. But as noted above, using the Usenet newsgroup for this kind of communication is almost certainly better both for you and for us. "gnuplot-bugs" is NOT an appropriate place to ask questions on how to solve a gnuplot problem or even to report a bug that you haven't investigated personally. It is far more likely you'll get the help you need for this kind of problem from comp.graphics.apps.gnuplot or the gnuplot-info mailing list. Using "gnuplot-bugs" is also slightly disfavoured, because it makes it hard for us to keep track what bugs are currently under investigation, and hard for you to check if maybe the bug you've found has already been reported by somebody else before. We would thus like to ask to you please use the "Bug Tracker" system that is part of gnuplot's development web site at SourceForge.net instead of this mailing list. If you found a fix already, pleast post it in "diff -c" or "diff -u" format done against the most current official version of gnuplot or the latest alpha or beta release of the next version. All major modifications should include documentation and, if new features were added, a demo file. Finally, it is much easier to integrate smaller stepwise modifications rather than one gigantic diff file which represented months of changes. There are separate tracking systems for Feature Requests and proposed patches that implement new features, also hosted at SourceForge. Discussions about plans for new features or other significant changes should be announced and discussed on the developers' mailing list, gnuplot-beta, which is also hosted by SourceForge.net. Where to get updates to gnuplot =============================== Congratulations on getting this version of gnuplot! Unfortunately, it may not be the most recent version ("you never know where this version has been!"). You can be sure that it IS the most recent version by checking one of the official distribution sites, guaranteed to be kept up to date (of course, if you got this file from one of those sites, you don't need to check!). To hear automatically about future releases (and other gnuplot news), read the newsgroup; see above. ---- -Thomas Williams- -Alex Woo- -David Denholm- -Lars Hecking- -Ethan Merritt-