I recently made my first purchase of a piece of software in a very long time. I have been using Debian (on the desktop) for about the last 5 years. The apt-get command has been able to fulfill the vast majority of my software needs, free of charge.
I wanted to buy Matlab for a DSP class that I am taking at the U of Iowa. I could use the lab machines at school, but I am a working proffesional and I like to spend less time in the schools labs and more time at home with the family. I was happy to discover that Mathworks has a Linux version of Matlab. Apparently a lot of Matlab is written in Java. Matlab is very expensive, but they sell a student version that is bundled with Simulink for $90. I feel like that is a great price, for a good product, that runs on my OS of choice. If Matlab were only released for Windows, I don’t think that I would have purchased it. I have a Windows XP machine, but the performance of it is so poor compared to my main Debian machine that I only use it when I am absolutely forced to.
I couldn’t get the graphical installation to work (I didn’t try very long though), so being an avid terminal guy, I went with the terminal installation. It went smooth and everything worked out of the box. I was pleasantly surprised. I did not expect that to be the case.
My only complaint is that I have to have the installation disc in the cdrom to start the application. I am sure that there is probably a way to put the license on the machine and avoid this, but I haven’t had time to mess with it yet. I would prefer to not have to deal with this at all.
So, my hat is off to the Mathworks. Thanks for releasing and supporting a Linux version of Matlab, or for making Matlab cross platform, whichever is the case. It has gained you another customer.