matlab vs octave

Find Out the Best Between MATLAB vs Octave

MATLAB and Octave have lots of similarities. Even some of the experts considered Octave as the best free alternatives to MATLAB. Because you can perform almost every task in Octave that you can perform in MATLAB. But we all know that the paid programming language also offers some of the additional benefits that we can’t get in the open-source programming languages. That is why it becomes quite complex for the students to choose the best one between these programming languages. One more thing that free one is not always the worst and the paid one is not always the best. That is the reason it becomes overwhelming for the students to choose the best between MATLAB vs Octave. Most of the students know about the similarities between these programming languages. Let’s look at the major differences between these programming languages and find out the best one between MATLAB vs Octave. Let’s start with the basic introduction to these programming languages:-

MATLAB vs Octave


The full form of MatLab is Matrix Laboratory. It is the best among the best programming languages for technical computing. It is one of the high-performance multi-paradigm programming languages. MATLAB supports almost every type of programming paradigms i.e., functional, imperative, procedural, and object-oriented language. Cleve Moler was one of the leading developers of MATLAB. He developed it as MathWorks, and MathWorks released it in 1985. MATLAB is developed with the help of C, C++, and Java. That is the reason it is quite a powerful language. The major functionality of MATLAB is numerical computing. MATLAB is not just useful in mathematics and computation. But it is also useful in algorithm development, data analysis, data visualization, data modeling, prototyping, simulations, user interface development for applications and softwares, and much more. Apart from that, it is widely used in robotics.

It was developed for the matrix programming language. It is quite a portable programming language. That is why you can run it on almost every operating system i.e., Linux, Windows, and macOS. MATLAB offers the best in class environment for the programmers. It has extensive sets of tools in its toolbox. And you can do almost anything in MATLAB with the use of its toolbox. MATLAB has five integral parts i.e., high-level matrix/ array language with control flow statements, functions, data structures, I/O, and object-oriented features. Like most powerful data visualization tools, you can perform 2d and 3D data visualization in MATLAB. It is also useful for image processing, animation, and graphics presentation. Even no other software is better than MATLAB in terms of image processing. MATLAB is full of libraries and APIs. You also find the computational algorithm functionality in MATLAB that allows you to write the C language code in MATLAB. Apart from that, you can also extend the MATLAB toolbox functionality with the help of addon packages.


Octave is one of the best alternatives to MATLAB. The original name of Octave is GNU Octave. You can access Octave in more than 19 different languages. It works in the structural programming paradigm like C language. It supports the C programming library functions. You can also extend the capabilities or Octave with the help of dynamically loadable modules. Like most of the programming languages, Octave also uses the interpreter to execute the code. It has OpenGL graph modules. You can use its graphics for creating the plots, graphs, and charts. It offers the graphical user interface as well as the command-line interface. That is the reason it is loved by most of the programmers.

Apart from that, it is a high-level programming language that is designed for numerical computing. It was developed in the early 80s by John W. Eaton. It was available for public use in 1980. It was written with the help of C, C++, and Forton. Octave consists of the functions call and the scripts. We know that it is an alternative to MATLAB. That is why it is used for matrix operations. You can also do object-oriented programming in Octave. Apart from that, it also has various databases. It has the best support for the complex numbers, math functions, and extensive library functions. Octave also consumes less RAM than MATLAB.

Key Difference between Matlab and Octave

  1. MatLab is not able to support C-style auto-increment and assignment operators. Octave supports C based auto-increment and assignment operators.
  2. If you compute boolean values in Matlab, you will get the MATLAB response that it is not the supported form. On the other hand, if you do the same with Octave, you respond as ans=0.
  3. MATLAB uses the command line to execute the file in the directory. On the other hand, you can also do the same with the latest version of Octave.
  4. You can load the empty file in MATLAB. On the other hand, it is impossible to load the empty file in Octave.
  5. If you want to print something the Matlab program’s output on the screen, then you can only use the fprintf command. On the other hand, in Octave, you can use the printf and fprintf command for printing the output on the screen.
  6. If you want to use the whitespace before the transpose operator, you can’t do it in MATLAB. But you can do the same in Octave.
  7. For boolean values, you can only use ‘~’ in Matlab. But in Octave, you can use the ‘~’ and ‘!’ for boolean expressions. 
  8. If you want to comment in Matlab. Then it would help if you used the percent sign ‘%’ sign. On the other hand, in Octave, you can use % and # sign to comment. 
  9. You can code in Matlab with an end to the end block. On the other hand, in Octave, you can execute the code block with endif.
  10. MATLAB is offering one of the best graphical user interfaces to its operators. On the other hand, Octave is not offering the best GUI.


So at the end of this comparison of MATLAB vs Octave, I would like to say that MATLAB is more powerful and convenient than Octave. It offers the best in the class toolbox that offers you a variety of features that help you perform a variety of tasks in MATLAB easily. It also offers the command-line interface, which allows you to do programming with Matlab with the help of syntaxes and code snippets. On the other hand, Octave is a free alternative to MATLAB. It is not that powerful. But if you use its command-line interface, you probably perform almost every task that you can perform with MATLAB. Now it’s up to you. You can either invest some money to have the paid software, i.e., MATLAB, in which you can easily perform lots of your tasks.

On the other hand, you can invest some time and skills to learn free software, which can work almost the same as MATLAB. If you have a solid programming background, then you should go with Octave. Otherwise, MATLAB is the best among the best option for you, and even you don’t have a solid programming background.

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