Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Quite often I'm looking a large blocks of data (logs files) looking for oddities in timing from processes. While I can convert this to an .csv/tab file easy enough, I have issues trying to render it in a graph in unix.

Many packages such as rrd are good, but are specific usage based.

Does anyone know of a good open source package to generate an image(s) of data?

Not too much programming wanted:

Features wanted: 3d plots, histograms, variation (stddev_pop), etc..

The data set isn't that large, probably < 1 million lines ever.

share|improve this question

In the free-as-in-beer, free-as-in-speech category I've been using SciDAVis on and off over the years and it's always worked well. It's cross-platform and speedy. The UI has some quirks that require getting used to but all-in-all it's a very powerful plotting, graphing and graphical analysis program.

share|improve this answer

R stats package has very powerful graphing and plotting and data file manipulation all as primitives. On top of that it is a full features stats package like SAS and a programming language as well. R is supported well on Windows/Mac/Linux and comes with an interactive console window. It's really all you will ever need.

My usual workflow is to do some data reformatting and reduction in python first because its easier for me and then feed this into fairly simple R scripts

R project site

share|improve this answer
+1 for R! It's my stock tool for this kinda thing – Tom O'Connor May 16 '11 at 8:28

R has some nice plotting capabilities. It's reasonably easy to use and I'd recommend it.

gnuplot is good too.

Processing has some beautiful looking visuals in their gallery but that looks like more programming that you want to do.

I've found all of these tools hard to get started with because they are not Excel. Once you get over the initial terror and learn the quirks then they are not so bad. It's a little like your first day using vi.

See also Wikipedia's category Linux Graph Plotting Software

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.