How to install Scilab-5.1 on Ubuntu LInux

Introduction
Scilab is a scientific software package for numerical computations providing a powerful open computing environment for engineering and scientific applications.

Scilab is an open source software.

Since 1994 it has been distributed freely along with the source code via the Internet. It is currently used in educational and industrial environments around the world.
Source: http://www.scilab.org/platform/

Scilab is a very good alternative to very expensive and proprietary programs like Matlab. It is used Extensively in the school where I work.

Free Beer + Speech

Scilab is can be downloaded and used free of charge, and although it is not released under the GPL, its License allows you to modify and/or redistribute the software.

The world just got better

I remembered the last time i had to install a 5.x version of scilab on ubuntu (hardy heron) it was a hellish experience because there was no installable binary package and i had to download and compile from source which was just a PITA because most of the dependencies needed were not available in the Hady Heron Repo. what made things worse is after compiling, The package was very buggy and kept crashing especially when i try the translation tool from the application menu. Rather than witch and whine about this, in true Free software Culture i filled a bug which thankfully as been fixed in the latest version 5.1.

Another good thing about scilab 5.1 is this time around installation is quite easy and straight forward, No more compiling or downloading some strange dependencies. There is Binary package available for Linux that comes bundled with all the dependencies that scilab needs to work

Installation

To install Scilab goto their download page and download the Scilab 5.1 binary file version for Linux (available for both 32 and 64 bit) you can grab a copy here http://www.scilab.org/download/

Once Downloaded save the file to your desktop and extract (in gnome/Kde right click and choose extract here) or via Terminal (Application/Accessories/Terminal) cd $HOME/Desktop/ ; tar xzvf scilab-5.1.bin.linux-i686.tar.gz

Now you can run the program from the scilab directory that was extracted. just go to /scilab-5.1/bin and double click on the file named scilab, but you will have to agree with me that this is a less than ideal situation. To do a proper installation we can either move the scilab directory to your /home
or better still /opt in your root directory (which is the directory meant for 3rd party Applications)
This guide is based on the latter

With the scilab Package that we extracted earlier still saved on your desktop we mv it to /opt. To do this Open Terminal and copy and paste the following command then press enter.

sudo mv scilab-5.1/ /opt/

Now we need to be able to launch it from our application menu. To go this we would have to create a menu item for it. Thankfully this is dead easy under gnome (and KDE to but this guide was written in gnome)

To create a menu item right click on the Application menu of your gnome panel and choose Edit Menu

Enable the Education Menu (by checking it) now click on Education (on the left side of the menu editor) and create new item under the Education menu by clicking on New Item (on the right side of the Menu Editor) . Doing this would Open a New Dialog box fill it like this

Name : Scilab-5.1

Command: /opt/scilab-5.1/bin/scilab

Comment: Matrix-based scientific Software Package

Now we give it an Icon

Click on the icon field and copy  this to the navigation address bar   /opt/scilab-5.1/share/scilab/icons/scilab.xpm  (for some reason browsing to the icon location doesn’t  work)

Now you would be able to start Scilab under  /Application/Education/Scilab/

You can download Toolboxes for scilab from here

Hope someone finds this useful.

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

This entry was posted in Education, FOSS & Mathematical Science, Ubuntu. Bookmark the permalink.
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  • Simon

    I found this useful, I was just wondering if you needed the pre-requirements file you can also download from the scilab website.

  • http://bigbrovar.wordpress.com/ Bigbrovar

    @Simon the pre-requirement package is for those that intend to build scilab from source by compiling it. so you donw need to download that if you are following the procedure in this guide.

  • Maurizio

    Extremely useful. Thank you.
    However, I am puzzled because I got it to work only after I downloaded the 32 bit version despite I have a 64 bit processor.

  • onur

    very useful for me.
    but it crashes as soon as a command is entered. is there any thoughts about that?

  • parhyang

    yes, sometimes its crash when i’m using scipad and run into scilab, last day i lost my script :(

  • Roger

    Brilliant. Thank you very much!

  • http://bigbrovar.wordpress.com/ Bigbrovar

    @Roger you are welcome

  • http://hiankun.blogspot.com Hiankun

    Your guidance helps me a lot, especially I learned how to set the bin path and icon from the “Edit Menus.” Thank you.

    • http://bigbrovar.wordpress.com/ Bigbrovar

      Am glad that it worked for you .. we all learn everyday

  • http://o-a-blog.blogspot.com/ reddove

    thank you very much, that was really helpful

  • John Seales

    @bigbrovar That was the best installation instructions I have ever used. You were really clear and thorough. If it weren’t for you I would be scratching my head for weeks, most likely.

    • http://bigbrovar.wordpress.com/ Bigbrovar

      Oh am glad it worked for you, thanks for the feed back

  • http://linux.blog.gunadarma.ac.id/ jemiro

    thx 4 tutorial!! it easy to understand,,btw could we install in other distro “Slackware”?? please email me! im realy newbie! T,T

  • Peter Hinow

    Hi,
    I have a problem on my laptop (Ubuntu 8.04) with scilab 5.1.1. When I try to run scilab I get
    … sh scilab
    …/bin/scilab-bin: 1: Syntax error: word unexpected (expecting “)”)
    What could be the reason for this?

    • / bigbrovar

      it should be ./ not sh

  • Peter Hinow

    actually, my last question is moot. I had to download scilab-5.1.1.bin.linux-i686.tar.gz, not scilab-5.1.1.bin.linux-x86_64.tar.gz. I don’t know what is the problem with the latter.

    • / bigbrovar

      One (the latter) is for 64bit systems while the other (former) is for 32 bit system. If you are running a 32bit version of ubuntu that stick to the former

  • anil

    hi,
    this is good.