42 of the Best Free Linux Scientific Software

Science is the effort of trying to understand how the physical world works. From observation and experimentation, science uses physical evidence of natural phenomena to compile data and analyze the collated information. Science really prospers and advances when individuals share the results of their experiments with others in the scientific community. There is a certain logic that scientific software should therefore be released in a freely distributable environment.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 42 high quality Linux scientific applications, covering a broad spectrum of uses. There’s a mix of graphical and console based applications included. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for all types of users.

Now, let’s explore the 42 scientific applications at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action (where appropriate), a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

Scientific Software
FreeMatRapid engineering and scientific prototyping and data processing
K3DSurfVisualize and manipulate multidimensional surfaces
OctaveHigh-level language, primarily intended for numerical computations
ScilabNumerical computational package
AxiomFor research and development of mathematical algorithms
MathomaticFast and easy-to-use console mode Computer Algebra System
MaximaSystem for the manipulation of symbolic and numerical expressions
PARI/GPDesigned for fast computations in number theory
SageIntegrates an included distribution of specialized mathematics software
PSPPFree replacement of the proprietary program, SPSS
REnvironment for statistical computing and graphics
GnuplotCommand-driven interactive function plotting program
EMBOSSThe European Molecular Biology Open Software Suite
GROMACSMolecular dynamics simulator, with building and analysis tools
VMDDisplays, animates, and analyzes large biomolecular systems
AvogadroAdvanced molecular editor
GabeditGraphical user interface to computational chemistry packages
GAMESSGeneral ab initio quantum chemistry package
Psi4Ab initio quantum chemistry software designed for efficient, high-accuracy simulations
MPQCComputes the properties of molecules, ab initio
Open BabelConverts and manipulates chemical data files
PyMOLOpenGL molecular graphics system written in Python
CompHEPAutomatic computations in High Energy Physics
GerrisTool for generic numerical simulations of flows
OctopusReal-space, real-time implementation of TDDFT
OpenFOAMFacilitates the numerical solution of partial differential equations
ROOTSolves the data analysis challenges of high-energy physics
CelestiaReal-time space simulation
KStarsDesktop planetarium for KDE
SkychartPrepare different sky maps for a particular observation
StellariumA virtual planetarium
IRAFImage Reduction and Analysis Facility
ElmerMultiphysical simulation software
QucsIntegrated circuit simulator
GRASSGeographic Resources Analysis Support System
Quantum GISCreate, visualise, query and analyse geospatial data
SAGAAnalysis of spatial data
uDigSpatial data viewer/editor
gretlRegression, Econometric and Time-Series Library
KileUser-friendly LaTeX source editor and TeX shell and KDE
LyXAdvanced open source document processor
TeXmacsWYSIWYW scientific word processor

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Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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