A blog about free research software, alternative to commercial paid software.

One way to help people is to share your knowledge with those who could benefit from it. As a researcher , constant effort to solve scientific problems have exposed me to various scientific resources that can be accessed free of charge. Especially these knowledge is useful to labs and institution unable to access expensive software or novice users due to lack of expertise. In this blog, I have provided a comprehensive list of freely available softwares, alternative to commercial software. I shall share with you all that I have learned, as I make the changes or learn something new, I shall document them. Hope this blog will help those finding the way………….

Research software and books

Dec 31, 2010

Python for Beginners

To get started with Python,

Download python.

An installer program is available for windows platform, as well as source code is available for other platforms. Alternatively, you can download active python a free, all-in-one python distribution that has everything you need to run python on window. Depending on the Operating system one is using it will show download link as shown below.


 The version of python you should download depends on whether you have 64 or 32 bit machine. To find out if your computer is running 32-bit or 64-bit windows do the following:
  • Go to the Start menu, and click on Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> System Information

The System Information tool will display detailed information about your Windows operating system. Once opened it will show the "System Summary" – it’s an overview of your computer and operating system.

The value of this item will tell you whether your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit:

              x86-based PC: It’s a 32-bit computer.
               x64-based PC: It’s a 64-bit computer.


When you click on the blue bar, Python should begin downloading. The file you downloaded is called “ActivePython-(your version number)-win32-x86.msi.”
  • Double-click on the ActivePython file.
  • ActiveState box comes up and tells you it’s going to install ActivePython. Click Next.
  •  Licensing Agreement. Check the Accept box. Click Next.
  • Then a dialogue box opens up allowing you to customize the installation. Don’t customize it. Click Next.
  • Finally you will see the “Install” click it. Done. Now the python userguide appears.
  • Open the Start menu, and click on Programs -> ActiveState> ActivePython
  • Submenu appears with various option. You want the one that says: “IDLE (Python GUI)” Click on it.
  • Now the command prompt of python appears. You are ready to communicate.
  • Your cursor will be blinking just to the right of a prompt that looks like this: >>>
  • Now type in the following command

    >>> print “Hello World!”

You will learn more about this command in the programming book. And make sure that “Hello World!” is inside quotation marks. Press Enter. You should see Hello World! appear in a different-colored font on the line below.

You are done with the installation. Ready to go……

Note: If you get an error message that says: “SyntaxError: invalid syntax” then you either forgot the quotation marks or you installed higher version of Python version, which uses a different print command.

1) For those of you who are new to the field of programming I strongly recommend this book

Non-Programmer's Tutorial for Python 2.6

A byte of python by Swaroop C.H., is a book on programming with python for people with no previous programming experience.

Byte of Python

>> continue reading: Python version for scientific computation > Enthought Python