I’m not going to go off on one today about why I feel scientific software needs to be open, or rant about all of things I hate about matlab. I never really gave it a chance tbqh so I’m far from impartial when discussing its relative merits or pitfalls. If you wanted to read why maybe it’s not a great thing to teach students then I recommend this post from Olivia Guest*.
* who also came up with the idea to share these stories
I feel like somebody should collect these stories to help others. ✨— Olivia Guest (@o_guest) 15 September 2017
Instead, I’m just going to share stories/tweets/quotes from people who used to use Matlab, but have now moved on, or are in the process of it. Maybe at some point “for balance” (as if I’m writing for the BBC) I’ll include some stories from people who never switched (or if I can find them people who went the other way). But maybe not. Got a better/different reason. @ me on twitter or comment below and I’ll add it to this post.
First a convert of Open Science. A good reason me thinks.
I first renounced matlab when embraced #openscience. I tried octave but it can't cope. Then I fell in love with python & no going back.🐍💓— Caspar Addyman (@czzpr) 15 September 2017
What’s so good about “open” eh? Err well these things for starters 👇.(I promise you this guy hasn’t received any money from the folks who develop Python.)
Some MATLAB toolboxes are not open source, which prevents you to check exactly how they are implemented and precludes you to code costumed versions of existing libraries to tackle your own necessities. Python offers incredibly flexible tools, easy interface to other languages, great portability and a huge helpful community. All that for free! The MATLAB-to-Python transition experience might include a couple of months of painful learning, but after the crossing the gains are so immense I ask myself: how come I haven’t moved to Python earlier?
— Vitor Lopes dos Santos (Postdoc) who works on oscillations and neuronal dynamics in rodent electrophysiology data.
Speed, speed, speed.
for me it was when @mikedewar wrote a .py script in 2 mins which ran in 20 s, performing the analysis that took me a week to run in matlab— Tom Stafford (@tomstafford) 15 September 2017
and more speed.
“Matlab is so incredibly slow”
— Vadim Koren (PhD candidate) who switched to R after his masters.
Thanks to the work of all the great people trying to create Open and (way better) neuro-imaging specific packages. e.g. Chris Gorgolewski & co.
First used Matlab because it was needed for neuroimaging (SPM)...— Tom Hartley (@tom_hartley) 15 September 2017