MATLAB vs Octave: All You Need To Know


Matlab vs Octave is one of the most trending and search queries. This may be because both of these are being used for mathematical computations. That is why most statisticians depend on these kinds of languages to perform the task with ease. 

Octave uses to solve linear and nonlinear problems. Moreover, it is compatible with Matlab to perform important tasks. It is also an alternative to Matlab. 

You might be thinking, “how are these different” and “why should you go with Octave or Matlab.” 

Well, I have detailed all the key differences between Matlab vs Octave. But before directly jumping to the differences, let’s get some details about these languages.


Matlab stands for the Matrix Laboratory. It is one of the most potent statistics programming languages in the world. It is used for technical computation, all because of its powerful performance. Like no other programming language in the world, it supports the imperative procedural and object-oriented programming language.

That’s why it is considered as the multi-paradigm programming language. If I talk about the history of Matlab, then it was invented by Cleve Moler. It is the property of Math Works. In other words, Matlab is commercially distributed by MathWorks. MATLAB has vast potential; that is why it is widely used in different aspects of our lives, i.e., math, computation, and algorithm development.  Visualization, simulation, prototyping, and many more.

The primary intention behind the innovation of MATLAB was to have easy access to the matrix software. MATLAB was released in 1984 by MathWorks. The MATLAB source code is written in three different languages, i.e., C, C++, and Java.

You can use it in any operating system without any hassle. Like any other programming language, MATLAB also offers some of the features like control flow statements, functions, data structures, I/O, and most critical object-oriented features. MATLAB provides a variety of tools that helps users a lot while working on MATLAB. Support the excellent graphics for 2D and 3D data visualization.


Octave is one of the most popular high-level programming languages. It is widely used for numerical computations. The reason is it helps to solve the linear and nonlinear problems numerically. It is available in almost 19 languages; it means that most of the countries use it in their native languages.

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If you’re looking for a free alternative to MATLAB, then the best alternative to MATLAB is Octave. Octave is a mind-blowing programming language. It also has some features of a structured programming language. It means that it also supports the C standard library functions. Apart from that, you can also use some calls and functions of the UNIX system in Octave.  This is similar to that of Matlab, which can easily provide octave portable programs to execute similar coding.

Octave is quite awesome because, like no other programming language, it loads the modules dynamically. It makes Octave quite faster than other programming languages. It also has an interpreter based on open GL graphics. That is quite handy for creating plots, graphs, and charts.

It offers the best-in-class GUI for the end-users. Octave GUI is a Graphical User Interface that can be utilized for the high-level language GNU Octave.  GNU gives Octave commands interfacing to solve nonlinear and linear numeric problems and perform other mathematical analyses utilizing a language that is compatible with MATLAB programming.

Octave was developed by John W. Eaton. It was commercially released in the year 1980. It was also written in the three different programming languages, i.e., C, C++, and Fortran. Most of the function performed in MATLAB is with the help of function calls or script.

Like other programming languages, it has full support for various data structures. Octave also has some great features: complex numbers, powerful built-in math functions, extensive function libraries, and user-defined functions.

Which is more popular, Matlab or Octave?

From the graph, it is quite clear that Matlab has more popularity as compared to Octave. We can even say that Matlab and Octave have a huge difference in terms of popularity.

The graph of Matlab itself tells that its graph keeps on fluctuating. And it keeps on changing from time to time. At the same time, the Octave graph has minor ups and downs in popularity. 

Therefore, if we compare Matlab vs Octave’s popularity, Matlab is clearly winning the game of popularity.

MATLAB vs Octave in Tabular Form

MeaningMatlab is the abbreviation of Matrix Laboratory that is used for technical computing.It is a programming language that is used for numerical computing.
Coded asIt was programmed in C++, C, and Java languages.It was programmed in C++, C, and Fortran programming languages.
Syntax formatExample: for exponentiations: ^Example: for exponentiations: ^ or **
InterfacingIt has better interfacing as compared to the other software.This software interfacing is not as good as Matlab software.
Command“! String” used to make a call with a string command.“!” taken as the logical operator for Octave commands.
OperatorsIt does not support any auto-increment and assignment operators.It supports some auto-increment and assignment operators, such as, i++, or ++i.
Loading empty filesIt allows loading any empty file.It does not allow for loading any of the empty files.
RAM requirementIt needs more RAM to process well.It needs less RAM to process as compared to Matlab.
CostIt is available at a high cost.It is available free of cost in beer and speech.

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Matlab vs octave

Details of the other major differences


Matlab doesn’t have the support for auto-increment and assignment operators. On the other hand, Octave has the proper support for auto-increment and assignment operators like i++ and ++i.

RAM Usage

If you want to run Matlab on your machine, you need to have more RAM than to run Octave on the same computer.


MATLAB offers various packages for different needs. You can select either one as per your requirements. On the other hand, Octave is a free programming language. Anyone can use it without paying a single penny.

Ease of Use

MATLAB offers an extensive set of tools in the toolbox to perform various tasks in MATLAB. These tools are quite handy and ready to perform some special functions. On the other hand, Octave depends on syntax to perform any task in Octave, which makes Octave quite slower than MATLAB.

Boolean Expression

When we compare boolean values in MATLAB, Matlab provides the syntax format error, i.e., it’s not the supported form. On the other hand, Octave responds to the boolean values by ans=0.

File Execution

MATLAB also supports the command line that is used to execute the file in the directory. On the other hand, Octave also supports the same thing, but you may not find this facility if you are using an old version of Octave.

Empty File Usage

While working on MATLAB, you can’t load the empty file. But if you are working with Octave, you can load the empty file without any hassle. It is quite better than Matlab.

Print Function

If you want to print on the screen using MATLAB, then you can only use fprintf. It is the command that is used to print the result on the screen in Matlab. On the other hand, if you want to print the screen, then you can use both print and fprintf in Octave.

User Interface

MATLAB is a commercial product of MathWorks, i.e., it has the best in class user interface for programmers. On the other hand, in the earlier version of Octave, there was a lack of user interface, but nowadays, Octave continuously improves its user interface. Octave has the default interface after the 4.0 version.


Matlab is having the best among the best compilers. It is known as the “Just-In-Time” compiler as the name suggests that this compiler is quite faster. It allows the acceleration of for-loops with certain restrictions. While using the compiler in MATLAB, you need to make sure that JIT knows the return type of all functions you have called in the loops.

The worst part of the JIT compiler is that you can’t include the user-defined function as the JIT optimized loops. On the other hand, Octave doesn’t have the JIT compiler. That makes Octave quite slower than Matlab. But to make your Octave program faster, you can vectorize your code or extend it using some other fast languages, i.e., C, C++, etc.

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Matlab is offering an extensive set of tools in its toolbox, which makes it quite easy to use and more robust than its competitors. On the other hand, Octave is not a commercial product. The community develops it; that’s why its toolboxes are not as powerful as Matlab. But if you want to use a free alternative to Matlab. Then the toolbox isn’t a massive issue for you.

Online Support

MATLAB is a licensed programming language. It means that you can find the best support for MATLAB. Matlab offers online support to the programmers as well as provides tutorials, documentation, examples, answers, blog, and community support. On the other hand, with Octave, you can also find some support in the form of documentation and online communities where you can solve all your issues with the help of fellow programmers.

Matlab vs Octave: Review

As per the stackshare, Matlab is more trusted by the users for mathematical numerical computations. The reason for this could be that Matlab provides more functionalities, and these are easy to use. 

Bonus Point

If you want to get a handsome salary package, you must go with Octave. The below salary is just the approximate value. You can also earn more than this with relevant experience in particular fields. 

This salary figure is only for the fresher, or we can say for the beginners. The more you have the experience, the more you will get the salary package. So, start polishing your skills and keep experimenting with things with both Matlab and Octave languages.

List of companies that use Matlab and Octave!

10X Genomics
Butterfly Network
Amp X
Precise Simulation

Is Octave as powerful as Matlab?

Well, it has been seen that Matlab is more powerful as compared to Octave. Moreover, Matlab’s algorithms are much faster than Octave’s algorithms. 

But in some applications, Octave performs better. Therefore, it is not incorrect to say that Octave is also an amazing tool. This is available at zero cost. 

Finally, we can say that both have their own features and uses. So it depends on you and your purpose. And accordingly, you can use any of these.


You might think which is better, Matlab or Octave; the answer to this is that Octave is quite better than Matlab. The reason is that it is free to use, and its programs are also compatible with MATLAB. It also supports some other programming languages to make its functionality quite faster.

It is quite easy to say that Octave is quite better than Octave. The reason is that it is free to use, and its programs are also compatible with MATLAB. It also supports some other programming languages to make its functionality quite faster.

But here is the fact that it restricts me from considering it best between MATLAB vs Octave because it still lacks in functionality compared to MATLAB. On the other hand, MATLAB is more powerful than Octave. If we talk about the learning curve of both of these languages, then MATLAB is still the best because it does not just have the full documentation.

Apart from that, it also offers tutorials for the newbie, community support, and customer support. Besides, if we compare Matlab vs Octave on the basis of Career aspects, then Matlab is still having a slight edge over Octave because Matlab is widely used in the current industry.

Thus it has an enormous career scope. But still, if you want to start with the free programming language, that is the best alternative to Matlab. Then you should go to Octave. We can also help with MATLAB homework and MATLAB assignments. We have the statistics experts who can provide you the best assignment help at nominal charges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is octave faster than Matlab?

No, Octave doesn’t have any JIT compiler. That makes it much slower than Matlab. But it is possible to speed up the speed of Octave.

Is Octave code the same as Matlab?

It has been seen that both are mainly utilized for the similar purpose. The key difference is syntax and their other features. Moreover, Matlab has toolboxes that are not part of Octave.

Can we run Matlab code on octave?

Matlab is one of the popular numerical computing software programs and it is an open-source alternative that has the same capabilities and the programming syntax. That is why Matlab code can easily be executed using Octave.