Gnuplot is a command-line driven interactive function plotting utility
for UNIX, MSDOS, and VMS platforms. The software is copyrighted but
freely distributed (i.e., you don't have to pay for it). It was
originally intended as graphical program which would allow scientists
and students to visualize mathematical functions and data. Gnuplot
supports many different types of terminals, plotters, and printers
(including many color devices, and pseudo-devices like LaTeX) and is
easily extensible to include new devices. [ The "GNU" in gnuplot is
NOT related to the Free Software Foundation, the naming is just a
coincidence (and a long story). Thus gnuplot is not covered by the Gnu
copyleft, but rather by its own copyright statement, included in all
source code files.]
Gnuplot handles both curves (2 dimensions) and surfaces (3
dimensions). Surfaces can be plotted as a mesh fitting the specified
function, floating in the 3-d coordinate space, or as a contour plot
on the x-y plane. For 2-d plots, there are also many plot styles,
including lines, points, lines with points, error bars, and impulses
(crude bar graphs). Graphs may be labeled with arbitrary labels and
arrows, axes labels, a title, date and time, and a key. The interface
includes command-line editing and history on most platforms.
The new gnuplot user should begin by reading the general information
available by typing `help` after running gnuplot. Then read about the
`plot` command (type `help plot`). The manual for gnuplot (which is a
nicely formatted version of the on-line help information) can be
printed either with TeX, troff or nroff. Look at the docs/Makefile
for the appropriate option.
Help and Bug Reports
Additional help can be obtained from the USENET newsgroup
This newsgroup is the first place to ask for routine help. It is is
gatewayed to a mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org. If you cannot
obtain a USENET feed and wish to join the above mailing list (or get
yourself off), mail to
Please do not ask to sign up if you can read comp.graphics.gnuplot.
Note that since gnuplot has nothing to do with the GNU project, please
don't ask them for help or information about gnuplot; also, please
don't ask us about GNU stuff.
There is another list specifically for documented bug reports
and the submissions of fixes and modifications, email@example.com.
To join this list send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"bug-gnuplot" is NOT an appropriate place to ask questions on how to
solve a gnuplot problem or even to report a bug that you haven't
investigated personally. It is far more likely you'll get the help
you need for this kind of problem from comp.graphics.gnuplot.
"bug-gnuplot" is appropriate for turning in a formal bug report
that does not require timely action. In other words, if you spend
time and investigate a bug, and especially if you fix a bug, then
send it to bug-report and your fix will be considered for the next
release of gnuplot. Fixes should be in ``diff -c'' format done
against the most current official version of gnuplot or the latest
alpha or beta release of the next version. All major modifications
should include documentation and a demo file. Finally, it is
much easier to integrate smaller stepwise modifications rather
than one gigantic diff file which represented months of changes.
All messages to bug-gnuplot should include the machine you are using, the
operating system and it's version, plotting devices, and the version
of gnuplot that you are running.
Where to get updates to GNUPLOT
Congratulations on getting this version of GNUPLOT! Unfortunately, it
may not be the most recent version ("you never know where this version
has been!"). You can be sure that it IS the most recent version by
checking one of the official distribution sites, guaranteed to be kept
up to date (of course, if you got this file from one of those sites,
you don't need to check!).
To hear automatically about future releases (and other GNUPLOT news),
read the newsgroup comp.graphics.gnuplot. Failing that, send mail to
email@example.com to get on the (equivalent) mailing
At the time of this writing, the following are the official
distribution sites and transfer instructions. Note that
prep.ai.mit.edu is NOT an official site, and may not be up to date.
Also, comp.sources.misc is usually a month or so behind us.
Date: Fri Aug 27 05:21:33 GMT 1993
In general, GNUPLOT 3.5 is available as the file gnuplot3.5.tar.Z.
There will patches to bring 3.4 to 3.5 as well called gp34to35.shar.Z.
(Version 3.3 was skipped because of possible confusion
with the numerous BETA releases.) It will be made available to simtel20
and its mirrors in ZIP format, along with a DOS, MS-Windows 3.1 and
OS/2 2.0 executables.
Also, some sites will have gpdoc_ps.zip which contains
PostScript versions of the manuals and tutorials.
Please obtain gnuplot from the site
GNUPLOT 3.5 will posted to comp.sources.misc.
Anonymous ftp to ftp.dartmouth.edu (220.127.116.11)
in binary mode.
Users without ftp capability can obtain it through a mail ftp
server. Send a mail message saying 'help' to
BITFTP@pucc.princeton.edu for instructions. For a uuencoded
copy of the gnuplot sources (compressed tar file), send this
message to BITFTP@pucc.princeton.edu:
FTP FTP.DARTMOUTH.EDU UUENCODE
Anonymous ftp to monu1.cc.monash.edu.au (18.104.22.168).
Fetch pub/gnuplot3.5.tar.Z in binary mode.
Anonymous ftp to irisa.irisa.fr (22.214.171.124).
Fetch pub/gnuplot3.5.tar.Z in binary mode.
DISCLAIMER - This product is not related in any way to
Pixar or any other commercial venture.