Scientific Computing on Linux

Getting Started

The three versions of Linux I use and recommend are Ubuntu, openSUSE and Gentoo. Ubuntu is fast and straightforward to install. Gentoo is for users wanting fine control over all aspects of the operating system. openSUSE sits between the two, allowing greater control over the install process from a GUI, for example.  For those reluctant to remove Windows entirely from their computer, VirtualBox makes it straightforward to install Linux under Windows or Windows under Linux. (Note that the open source edition of VirtualBox does not support USB devices. However, the full version of VirtualBox can be used for free for educational purposes and is therefore the better choice.) An independent article showing how to install VirtualBox is available at this link. (Alternatively, read the online manual for VirtualBox.)  That said, scientific computing under Mac OS X is essentially as convenient as under Linux.


More packages and more information will be added to the following list over time.

Writing Documents

  • Latex
    • TexLive
    • Kile

Scientific Programming in General

  • Python
    • iPython
    • NumPy, SciPy
    • Matplotlib
  • Eclipse (integrated development environment)


  • R

Symbolic Mathematics

  • Sage

Version Control

  • Subversion (svn)
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