PLplot 5.0.2 released

It has been a month since PLplot-5.0.1, and we thought another stable release was appropriate at this time.

Get this new PLplot-5.0.2 as a tarball file release at It was created from the current CVS head which has benefited quite a lot from steady bug fixing over the last month (for example, file familying now works, and the plmeta now properly outputs to pipes).

Version 5.0.2 supersedes all previous versions. Please note that for improved stability you should use the tarball release and not the CVS HEAD. (We try things on the HEAD which might momentarily break plplot from time to time.)

Note we also have some innovation in the new release as well as bug fixing.

(1) The python xw??.py examples should now work right out of the box without fooling around with PYTHONPATH.

(2) Install file locations now conform to the FHS. So, for example, you will find the examples installed at $prefix/share/doc/plplot/examples.

(3) The content of the documentation source has been greatly improved from 5.0.1. We have now completely finished going through the doc directory for several generations of notes on various topics and incorporated all this material (with substantial updates and expansions) into our docbook source. The result is new docbook sections/chapters on devices, driver functions, plrender and metafiles, familying, interactive output devices, color, and C and fortran bindings. We have added API sections that are specialized to C and fortran. We have also added a bibliography and reorganized the material so that all the reference material (bibliography and API sections) appear at the back of the document. We have now removed virtually all the old files in doc so there is no longer the potential of getting confused with these older generations of documentation.

We don't anticipate the addition of too many more chapters or sections to the documentation, but some refinement of the existing chapters/sections
still needs to be done. If you are interested in helping with this effort, please contact yours truly (

(4) Our DocBook source can be built into PLplot documentation in a variety of formats (currently html, dvi, postscript, pdf, info, and man). Our CVS does not have these files because they are generated rather than source files. However, you can always get the latest forms of these results from, and for your convenience we have also bundled these results into the doc directory of the 5.0.2 tarball.


Release version 5.0.2 has been extensively tested on Debian potato with double precision configured. The cdemos, cxxdemos (c++), fdemos (fortran),
tcldemos, tkdemos, and the new standalone xw??.py python demos all now work well on potato. Similar tests show good results on RedHat 6.2 except for
Tcl/Tk whose 8.0 version on RH 6.2 is too old for us to support. We have not yet upgraded our test box to RedHat 7.0 (which does include a Tcl/Tk/iTcl version that we support), and until we do this upgrade, we would appreciate any RedHat 7.0 reports our users could give us. Similar tests (excluding Tcl/Tk and python because we would have had to download configure, build, and install these packages ourselves) show good results on solaris (SunOS 5.6 Generic_105181-23 sun4u sparc SUNW,Ultra-2 = solaris 2.6).

Putting on my yplot ( hat momentarily, I have also rebuilt yplot, the convenient yorick front end to plplot. The new yplot version (to be released soon) is based on plplot-5.0.2 libraries, and I have just confirmed it gives excellent results for a wide variety of
36 different scientific plots from my present research.

Please send bug reports, comments, and questions to the PLplot list, and have fun (and profit) with the new 5.0.2 release of plplot!

Alan W. Irwin

Posted by Alan W. Irwin 2001-02-10

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