gnuplot can produce output directly on screen, or in many formats of graphics files, including PNG, EPS, SVG, JPEG and many others. It is also capable of producing LaTeX code that can be included directly in LaTeX documents, making use of LaTeX's fonts and powerful formulae abilities. The program can be used both interactively and in batch mode using scripts. For an example script and its output, see Logarithmic spiral.png. The program is well supported and documented. Extensive help can also be found on the Internet.
gnuplot is used as the plotting engine of GNU Octave, Maxima and gretl, and it can be used from various scripting languages, including Perl (via CPAN), Python (via Gnuplot-py and SAGE), Ruby (via rgnuplot) and Smalltalk (Squeak and GNU Smalltalk). gnuplot is programmed in C.
The title of this program was originally chosen to avoid conflicts with a program called “newplot,” and was originally a compromise between “llamaplot” and “nplot.”
The program is distributed under a license which permits copying and modification of the source code. However, modified versions are only allowed to be distributed as patch files.