Essential software tools for the working scientist

The Scientist's Linux Toolbox

© Lead Image © KrishnaKumar Sivaraman, 123RF

© Lead Image © KrishnaKumar Sivaraman, 123RF

Article from Issue 241/2020

Linux and science are a natural fit. These are a handful of essential software packages both for getting work done and presenting it to others.

Although Linux still occupies a small niche on the desktop among the population at large, it is much more popular among scientists from all disciplines.

It's tempting to say that's just because scientists are smart! But it's easy for me to understand Linux's appeal for scientists when I remember the problems caused by the use of proprietary operating systems (OSs and software in labs where I've worked).

For one particular piece of software, we had a site license that only permitted a certain number of people to use the program at a time. It would actually spy on the network and count up how many instances of the program were running. If I needed to run it and it refused, I had to run around the lab to find out if someone had just forgotten to exit the program.


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