How to Use Octave in Cygwin

Written by brian kadigan
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How to Use Octave in Cygwin
Octave lets you perform a range of sophisticated calculations on your PC. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Octave is a software package for performing scientific and numeric calculations. It is open-source, available for a variety of operating systems, and mostly compatible with MATLAB. Octave provides a high-level interpreted language for executing mathematical functions, as well as an extensive range of graphical capabilities for data visualisation.

Octave was originally created to run on Unix and Linux, and so it works quite well with Cygwin. Octave can be installed from the Cygwin set-up utility.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Start the Cygwin installation utility, setup.exe.

  2. 2

    Click "Next" and choose "Install from Internet" as a download source. Click "Next" on the next few screens to accept the default parameters. Continue until you reach the Select Packages screen.

  3. 3

    Type "octave" in the search window. You should find four packages in the Math category. On the line for the "octave" package, under the New column, click on "Skip" to change it to the latest version. Do the same for the other packages if you need them.

  4. 4

    Click "Next." At this point the installer may ask you to install other packages to resolve dependencies; make sure the "Select required packages" box is checked, then click "Next."

  5. 5

    Wait while Cygwin downloads and installs the packages.

  6. 6

    Click the boxes to create icons if you need them, then click "Finish."

  7. 7

    Start Cygwin and type "octave." The program should start and give you the Octave command prompt. When you are finished using Octave, type "exit" to quit the program.

  8. 8

    Type "exit" again to quit Cygwin.

Tips and warnings

  • Unless you have an X11 graphics server set up, you will not be able to view plots created by Octave.

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