Best IDEs for Octave, Python and R

Code-wise, I’ve been getting my hands dirty with some digital grease over the past few months, and it’s been fun. Most of the fun has resolved around learning Python, which appears to be the language of choice these days.

Python is almost a requirement everywhere you turn. Many introductory programming classes use Python as the main or default high-level programming language.

For somebody who has not done any programming since messing with Fortran 77 years ago, one thing I’ve come to appreciate is the need for a good integrated development environment (IDE). Whether it’s Python, Octave, the R statistical language or any other programming language, an IDE is a must-have. You come to appreciate IDEs better after spending several weeks typing commands into Octave’s and R’s interactive interfaces.

So this post just gives the IDEs that I’ve come to consider the best, from the perspective of a rookie coder, for Octave, Python, and R. All three IDEs are available in the repository of your favorite Linux distribution.

For Python, I had to experiment until I selected Spyder (Scientific Python Development Environment). Before it, I tried IDLE, Eric and a few others, then decided that for a beginner, Spyder is it. It’s Free Software and it intelli-sense feature is best in the field (my assessment).
Spyder Python IDE

Octave is a high-level language for numbers crunching. It’s a not-very-feature-complete alternative to Matlab (see 4 Free Software alternatives to Matlab). It has an interactive command-line interface that’s not much different from Python’s, or R’s. However, nothing beats a good IDE, and QtOctave is a good one.
QtOctave Octave IDE

For R, I’ve been toiling away at its interactive interface until a commenter here mentioned RStudio. And I’m happy he stopped by, because RStudio is very good. Plus it’s Free Software, like every IDE mentioned in this article.
RStudio R IDE

So that’s it, for newbie-friendly IDEs for Octave, Python and R.

Related Posts

How to protect against image hotlinking in Nginx This short tutorial shows how I configured Nginx to protect against hotlinking of images used in my articles. Protecting against image hotlinking in N...
How Fedora protects your data with full disk encryption Disk encryption in one of the most overlooked and underused security tools in computing. When most people think about securing a computer or the opera...
Now that Kaptan has been ported, YALI’s waiting Borrowing code or programs written by others is an accepted practice in the Free Software community. It is perfectly legal, being one of the core prin...
How to install Moovida media center on Linux Mint 8 Moovida is a free media center application available for users of Linux and BSD desktop operating systems. It is developed by Fluendo S.A., an outfit ...
Install NetworkManager on Hymera Open The network manager application that comes pre-installed on Hymera Open, a Debian-based, desktop-oriented GNU/Linux operating system, is Wicd. While ...
How to setup Wuala secure cloud storage in Ubuntu 11.10 and Linux Mint 12 Wuala is a cloud storage service offered by LaCie, a computer storage and display outfit. Wuala is supported on all major operating system platforms, ...

We Recommend These Vendors

Launch an SSD VPS in Europe, USA, Asia & Australia on Vultr's KVM-based Cloud platform starting at $5:00/month (15 GB SSD, 768 MB of RAM).

Deploy an SSD Cloud server in 55 seconds on DigitalOcean. Built for developers and starting at $5:00/month (20 GB SSD, 512 MB of RAM).


  1. If you aren’t yet fully settled with Spyder for Python, I would recommend PyCharms (Community Edition which is free) from the IntelliJ.

  2. Hi!

    Enjoyed the article! I would respectfully disagree on the, “It’s a not-very-feature-complete alternative to Matlab” comment though. Not trying to be testy, but I use Matlab everyday all day and I have found octave to be a very good alternative. What disappointed you? Also, you may want to check out Julia as a Matlab clone.

  3. Free dating site

    Great IDE, I didn’t know about it. I’m usually using VIM, but I’ll keep an eye on Spyder because it looks good.

  4. Michael O.

    What about RKward? Just take a look. And tell us about it.

    • After using RStudio, Rkward takes getting used to. There is a marked difference between both GUIs. As with all programs, the thing with these GUIs is you don’t know how good or bad they are until you start doing real fancy stuff.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *