A plotting tool is computer software which helps to analyze and visualize data, often of a scientific nature. Using this type of software, users can generate plots of functions, data and data fits. Software of this nature typically includes additional functionality, such as data analysis functions including curve fitting.
A good plotting tool is very important for generating professional looking graphics for inclusion in academic papers. However, plotting tools are not just useful for academics and scientists. Many users will need to plot graphs on occasions.
Fortunately, Linux is well endowed with plotting software. There are some heavyweight commercial Linux applications which include plotting functionality. These include MATLAB, Maple, and Mathematica. However, we are fervent advocates of open source software. The purpose of this article is to help promote open source plotting tools that are available.