Other Software Resources

NotepadPlusPlus (Text Editor)

Notepad++ is an all-round text editor for basic coding (R, Python, Java, C, Perl, …), markdown/html editing and many many (not a typo) more. Alternatives for Notepad++ are, for example, Atom (cross-platform), Vim (Linux) or GNU Emacs (Linux).

Office Applications

Office applications greatly simplify everyday office life. However, the most popular application from Microsoft has a high price. Here are some free-to-use alternatives (for non-commercial use). Got no specific idea which software you want to use for non-commercial purposes? Try Only Office!

Only Office

Only Office resembles MS Office a lot, it is very intuitive and enables cloud-based collaboration. It is free to use for non-commercial purposes and comes at an OK price for commercial purposes. On any Ubuntu Linux-based platform (e.g., Ubuntu, Mint, or Lubuntu), it is available through the software manager (or snap, flathub, or whatever you use…). Mint users find more information at https://community.linuxmint.com.

For more installation options (e.g., for other Linux platforms, macOS, or Windows) visit the DesktopEditors section on https://www.onlyoffice.com.

Look for DesktopEditors to use Only Office for free

Make sure to follow the non-commercial desktop-use installation instructions on https://www.onlyoffice.com. Other versions are not for free.

Libre Office

LibreOffice is completely free to use (see their license terms) and works on most popular platforms. However, it is less intuitive to use than, for instance, Only Office.

GNU Octave (Matlab® alternative)

Matlab® is nowadays established as one of the leading tools in science and engineering. However, license fees and its proprietary nature limit the use of Matlab® to privileged entities and users. The good news is that there is a remedy in the shape of GNU Octave. GNU Octave and Matlab® use very similar syntax and .m files can be run with both programs. If error messages occur by running a .m file with GNU Octave, make sure to load relevant packages at the top of the script (this is one of the major differences between GNU Octave and Matlab®). For example:

pkg load io
# ... some script with console output
pkg unload io

All stable GNU Octave packages can be found on their website. To install one of these packages, open GNU Octave and type in the command window:

pkg install -forge new_package  # installs the package
pkg load new_package  # loads the package in the active session

Afterward, the new package can be loaded anytime by just typing in pkg load new_package. For example, the following code snippet installs and loads the video package:

pkg install -forge video
pkg load video


Python provides comes with many more options for data processing and analyses. So instead of trying to tweak Matlab® code, consider reading and using the Python tutorial with its NumPy library descriptions. The tutorial also highlights the differences between *Matlab*® and *Python*’s *NumPy*) notation.

MATLAB® is a registered trademark of The MathWorks.