Monday, November 7, 2011

Free the research #0

I decided to publish here, in serial form, the translation of an article I wrote for GNU/Linux Magazine Italy some months ago. Please take note that this post, as all the content of this blog, is released under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 There will be 4 parts, dedicated to RKWard, Maxima, Kile, and Avogadro+Kalzium. Ok, let's start...

The work of the researcher has changed a lot in the last years, and it's still changing: we heavily use computers. If some time ago we used to draw plot by hand, now we use computer programs, articles and reports were written with a writing machine, and now they are written and shared digitally (for example in PDF). The biggest calculations are made by computers, not by humans. This means that a lot of computer tools are needed, and everybody knows that their price is not always low.

Free the research #2

Ok, this is the third part of the serie about doing scientific research with GNU/Linux, and we are gonna talk about Latex (not the material.... ok, stop laughing now).
Reports? Use Latex
What is Latex ( It's a metalanguage, like html, and helps us to paginate our documents. Basically, we say to Latex what we want to write, wich images or tables should be inserted into the document, and it will prepare the layout automatically, using common sense. Since an example is better than a thousand words, let's see one immediately.

Free the research #1

So this is the "second episode" of my article about Free Open Source tools for doing research, and we are going to talk about Maxima. It's just a collection of the main commands you will use.
Maxima is a program similar to the more famous Derive. Really, Maxima is a CLI (Command Line Interface) application, but we can use wxMaxima: this is a GUI (Graphic User Interface) that makes the use of Maxima and its language very easy.