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Old 09-03-2009
gnuplot limitations

I'm running a simulation (programmed in C) which makes calls to gnuplot periodically to plot data I have stored.

First I open a pipe to gnuplot and set it to multiplot:

FILE * pipe = popen("gnuplot", "w");
fprintf(pipe, "set multiplot\n");

(this pipe stays open until the end of the program when I open it)

Next I use fopen to open a file called "plot". Write all the commands I want to have plotted (there's quite a few of them as many of them are just plotting 1 point with a specific color and point style). Once I've written all the commands to plot I close "plot"

Then I use the pipe again to load my file

fprintf(pipe, "load \"plot\"\n");

I'm running it like this so I can constantly plot on the same window and see my plots in real time as the program runs.

Functionally it works but a delay starts to build up and eventually becomes extremely significant.

My load commands are generally on the order of 2000 lines.

So to actually get to a question, does gnuplot have strange behavior for very large loads or can plot take a long time with that. My guess is that my program is piping loads to gnuplot before previous commands are finished completing. Has anyone had experience with this kind of situation, or can anyone suggest a better method for real time plotting in C.

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GNUPLOT(1)						      General Commands Manual							GNUPLOT(1)

gnuplot - an interactive plotting program SYNOPSIS
gnuplot [X11 options] [options] [file ...] DESCRIPTION
Gnuplot is a command-driven interactive function plotting program. If file names are given on the command line, gnuplot loads each file with the load command, in the order specified, and exits after the last file is processed. If no files are given, gnuplot prompts for interactive commands. Here are some of its features: Plots any number of functions, built up of C operators, C library functions, and some things C doesn't have like **, sgn(), etc. User-defined constants and functions. All computations performed in the complex domain. Just the real part is plotted by default, but functions like imag() and abs() and arg() are available to override this. Also support for plotting data files, to compare actual data to theoretical curves. Nonlinear least-squares fitting. 2D plots with mouse-controlled zooming. 3D plots with mouse-controlled point of view. User-defined X and Y ranges (optional auto-ranging), smart axes scaling, smart tic marks. Labelling of X and Y axes. Shell escapes and command line substitution. Load and save capability. Support for many output devices and file formats. Output redirection. OPTIONS
-p, --persist lets plot windows survive after main gnuplot program exits. -e "command list" executes the requested commands before loading the next input file. -h, --help print summary of usage -V show current version X11 OPTIONS Gnuplot provides the x11 terminal type for use with X servers. This terminal type is set automatically at startup if the DISPLAY environ- ment variable is set, if the TERM environment variable is set to xterm, or if the -display command line option is used. For terminal type x11, gnuplot accepts the standard X Toolkit options and resources such as geometry, font, and background. See the X(1) man page for a description of the options. In addition to the X Toolkit options: -clear requests that the window be cleared momentarily before a new plot is displayed. -gray requests grayscale rendering on grayscale or color displays. (Grayscale displays receive monochrome rendering by default.) -mono forces monochrome rendering on color displays. -raise raises the plot window after each plot. -noraise does not raise the plot window after each plot. -tvtwm requests that geometry specifications for position of the window be made relative to the currently displayed portion of the virtual root. These options may also be controlled with resources in your .Xdefaults file. For example: gnuplot*gray: on . Gnuplot provides a command line option (-pointsize v) and a resource (gnuplot*pointsize: v) to control the size of points plotted with the "points" plotting style. The value v is a real number (greater than 0 and less than or equal to ten) used as a scaling factor for point sizes. For example, -pointsize 2 uses points twice the default size, and -pointsize 0.5 uses points half the normal size. For monochrome displays, gnuplot does not honor foreground or background colors. The default is black-on-white. -rv or gnuplot*reverseV- ideo: on requests white-on-black. For color displays gnuplot honors the following resources (shown here with default values). The values may be color names in the X11 rgb.txt file on your system, hexadecimal RGB color specifications (see X11 documentation), or a color name followed by a comma and an intensity value from 0 to 1. For example, blue,.5 means a half intensity blue. gnuplot*background: white gnuplot*textColor: black gnuplot*borderColor: black gnuplot*axisColor: black gnuplot*line1Color: red gnuplot*line2Color: green gnuplot*line3Color: blue gnuplot*line4Color: magenta gnuplot*line5Color: cyan gnuplot*line6Color: sienna gnuplot*line7Color: orange gnuplot*line8Color: coral When -gray is selected, gnuplot honors the following resources for grayscale or color displays (shown here with default values). Note that the default background is black. gnuplot*background: black gnuplot*textGray: white gnuplot*borderGray: gray50 gnuplot*axisGray: gray50 gnuplot*line1Gray: gray100 gnuplot*line2Gray: gray60 gnuplot*line3Gray: gray80 gnuplot*line4Gray: gray40 gnuplot*line5Gray: gray90 gnuplot*line6Gray: gray50 gnuplot*line7Gray: gray70 gnuplot*line8Gray: gray30 Gnuplot honors the following resources for setting the width in pixels of plot lines (shown here with default values.) 0 or 1 means a mini- mal width line of 1 pixel width. A value of 2 or 3 may improve the appearance of some plots. gnuplot*borderWidth: 2 gnuplot*axisWidth: 0 gnuplot*line1Width: 0 gnuplot*line2Width: 0 gnuplot*line3Width: 0 gnuplot*line4Width: 0 gnuplot*line5Width: 0 gnuplot*line6Width: 0 gnuplot*line7Width: 0 gnuplot*line8Width: 0 Gnuplot honors the following resources for setting the dash style used for plotting lines. 0 means a solid line. A 2 digit number jk (j and k are >= 1 and <= 9) means a dashed line with a repeated pattern of j pixels on followed by k pixels off. For example, '16' is a "dotted" line with 1 pixel on followed by 6 pixels off. More elaborate on/off patterns can be specified with a 4 digit value. For exam- ple, '4441' is 4 on, 4 off, 4 on, 1 off. The default values shown below are for monochrome displays or monochrome rendering on color or grayscale displays. For color displays, the defaults for all are 0 (solid line) except for axisDashes which defaults to a '16' dotted line. gnuplot*borderDashes: 0 gnuplot*axisDashes: 16 gnuplot*line1Dashes: 0 gnuplot*line2Dashes: 42 gnuplot*line3Dashes: 13 gnuplot*line4Dashes: 44 gnuplot*line5Dashes: 15 gnuplot*line6Dashes: 4441 gnuplot*line7Dashes: 42 gnuplot*line8Dashes: 13 The size or aspect ratio of a plot may be changed by resizing the gnuplot window. ENVIRONMENT
A number of shell environment variables are understood by gnuplot. None of these are required. GNUTERM The name of the terminal type to be used. This overrides any terminal type sensed by gnuplot on start-up, but is itself overridden by the .gnuplot (or equivalent) start-up file (see FILES and "help start-up") and, of course, by later explicit changes. GNUHELP The pathname of the HELP file (gnuplot.gih). HOME The name of a directory to search for a .gnuplot file if none is found in the current directory. PAGER An output filter for help messages. SHELL The program used for the "shell" command. FIT_SCRIPT Specifies a gnuplot command to be executed when a fit is interrupted---see "help fit". FIT_LOG The name of the logfile maintained by fit. GNUPLOT_LIB Additional search directories for data and command files. The variable may contain a single directory name, or a list of directories separated by ':'. The contents of GNUPLOT_LIB are appended to the "loadpath" variable, but not saved with the "save" and "save set" commands. GDFONTPATH Several gnuplot terminal drivers access TrueType fonts via the gd library. This variable gives the font search path for these driv- ers. GNUPLOT_DEFAULT_GDFONT The default font for the terminal drivers that access TrueType fonts via the gd library. GNUPLOT_FONTPATH The font search path used by the postscript terminal. The format is the same as for GNUPLOT_LIB. The contents of GNUPLOT_FONTPATH are appended to the "fontpath" variable, but not saved with the "save" and "save set" commands. GNUPLOT_PS_DIR Used by the postscript driver to locate external prologue files. Depending on the build process, gnuplot contains either a builtin copy of those files or simply a default hardcoded path. Use this variable to test the postscript terminal with custom prologue files. See "help postscript prologue". FILES
.gnuplot Gnuplot looks for this initialization file, first in the current directory, then in the HOME directory. It may contain any legal gnuplot commands, but typically they are limited to setting the terminal and defining frequently-used functions or variables. fit.log The default name of the logfile maintained by fit. AUTHORS
Thomas Williams, Pixar Corporation, ( and Colin Kelley. Additions for labelling by Russell Lang, Monash University, Australia. ( Further additions by David Kotz, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA (formerly of Duke University, North Carolina, USA). ( BUGS
See the help bugs command in gnuplot. SEE ALSO
See the printed manual or the on-line help for details on specific commands. X(1). 4th Berkeley Distribution 7 October 2008 GNUPLOT(1)

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