FreeMat is an environment for rapid engineering and scientific processing. It is similar to commercial systems such as MATLAB from Mathworks and IDL from Research Systems, but is Open Source. It is free as in speech and free as in beer.
Previous versions of FreeMat were released under MIT licenses. The current version is released under GPL. There are a number of great tools that are available to GPL-ed code (e.g., Qt, FFTW, FFCALL), and FreeMat is now one of them.
Yes! FreeMat is chartered to go beyond MATLAB to include features such as a codeless interface to external C/C++/FORTRAN code, parallel/distributed algorithm development (via MPI), and advanced volume and 3D visualization capabilities. As for the open source alternatives, try them out and decide for yourself. Who said choice was a bad thing?
No. FreeMat supports roughly 95% (a made up statistic) of the features in MATLAB. The following table summarizes how FreeMat stacks up against MATLAB and IDL. Because we like to lead with the positive, here are the features in that are supported:
Here are the list of major MATLAB features not currently supported:
Finally the list of features that are in progress (meaning they are in the development version or are planned for the near future):
If you feel very strongly that one or more MATLAB features are missing that would be useful to have in FreeMat, you can either add it yourself or try and convince someone else (e.g., me) to add it for you. As for IDL, FreeMat is not compatible at all with IDL (the syntax is MATLAB-based), but a few critical concepts from IDL are implemented, including pass by reference and keywords.
Currently, Windows 2000/XP, Linux and Mac OS X are supported platforms. Other UNIX environments (such as IRIX/SOLARIS) may work. FreeMat essentially requires GNU gcc/g++ and gfortran to build. The Win32 build requires MINGW32. I don't know if FreeMat will work with Windows 98/95/ME or NT4 as I don't have access to any of these platforms. A native port to Mac OS X is now available.
Click on the Downloads link (or on the navigation bar on the left). Installers are available for Windows and Mac OS X, and source and binary packages are available for Linux.
Congratulations! Please file a bug report . FreeMat is a fairly complicated program. Simply saying "it crashed" is not particularly helpful. If possible, please provide a short function or script that reproduces the problem. That will go a long way towards helping us figure out the problem. Also, the bug tracking feature of SourceForge will allow you to put in bugs anonymously, but please don't! Anonymous bug reports are difficult to follow up on.
There are a number of basic functions that are missing from FreeMat's repertoire. They will be added as time goes on. If there is a particular function you would like to see, either write it yourself or put in an RFE (Request For Enhancement) here.
FreeMat has been in development by myself (Samit Basu) over a period of four years with help from a number of contributers distributed throughout the globe. Why not? Seriously, my main reason is to provide a free implementation of a reasonable part of the Matlab API, and add some extensions along the way.
Yes. Please see our WIKI based Development Pages