bugGNU Octave - Bugs: bug #55588, Download of installer from Octave...


bug #55588: Download of installer from Octave website doesn't mention packages are included

Submitted by:  None
Submitted on:  Mon 28 Jan 2019 04:36:27 AM UTC  
Category:  Octave website Severity:  1 - Wish
Priority:  3 - Low Item Group:  Documentation
Status:  Fixed Assigned to:  Kai Torben Ohlhus <siko1056>
Originator Name:  DIV Originator Email:  -email is unavailable-
Open/Closed:  Closed Release:  other
Operating System:  Any

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Sun 17 Feb 2019 09:05:00 PM UTC, comment #14:

@DIV: Thank you for taking care of the wiki page https://wiki.octave.org/Octave_for_Microsoft_Windows#Packages

I agree with Nicholas, that we save work at octave.org and keep the wiki page updated about the list of pre-bundled packages.

Consider this item to be closed.

Kai Torben Ohlhus <siko1056>
Project MemberIn charge of this item.
Sun 17 Feb 2019 02:50:13 AM UTC, comment #13:

I just saw that you added the pkg list info, and realized I hadn't remembered to add it myself. thanks!

I think that the minimum amount of changes to make to the main website upon new releases the better, easier to make updates to the wiki.

Nicholas Jankowski <nrjank>
Sun 17 Feb 2019 02:45:14 AM UTC, comment #12:

Hello, Kai Torben Ohlhus <siko1056>.

Yes, the "Note-Box" is quite good.

The only mystery remaining is why the "several Octave Forge packages" cannot be identified prior to installation.

I agree that it would be distracting to list them on the download page itself, but although you've helpfully included a "Read more" link to the Octave for Microsoft Windows wiki page, that page doesn't list the default-installed packages either.
The only reasons I can think of not to are that they might become out of date, and they may take up a lot of space. Nevertheless, I've added the information to the Wiki myself and flagged it as relevant to version 4.4.1, to at least give some idea. Otherwise users don't know if it is two selected packages, or two hundred selected packages!

Actually, this could be another alternative/extra piece of information to include: in the the "Note-Box" change the wording to:
"Note: All installers below bundle around FORTY Octave Forge packages so they don't have to be installed separately. After installation type pkg list to list them. Read more."
But this may be more of a hassle to update for each release. I'm not sure if the different installers have much difference between included packages, but I'm guessing not, so I hope "around" is enough to take care of slight differences. Also, it's not really needed to change the wording if the information is available on the Wiki.


Wed 30 Jan 2019 02:24:26 PM UTC, comment #11:

@DIV: Do you think the "Note-Box" in the Windows tab at https://www.gnu.org/software/octave/#install is now sufficient to have avoided you the extra effort and we can close this item?

Kai Torben Ohlhus <siko1056>
Project MemberIn charge of this item.
Wed 30 Jan 2019 01:36:32 PM UTC, comment #10:

Hiya. I am the OP.

Yes, mostly my critique has been correctly interpreted.
I did download the Windows binary. Although when I had a very quick flick through the other options, it seemed the same status for them too.

Changing the download link from (say)
"•Windows-64 binary (recommended)"
"•Windows-64 binary, including all packages (recommended)"
would more-or-less fix the problem. I didn't think the included packages should be listed there, but a link to e.g. the wiki would be fine.

In Comment #2 it is phrased:
"•Windows-64 and select packages (recommended)"
Two problems:
- "select" may sound like the user will select them. "selected" would be more accurate (as in, selected by the developer).
- it then raises an obvious query as to what is included & what is excluded. I would suggest including all packages under a certain heading to simplify matters. E.g.
"including all 'official' packages²"
"² See [Octave Forge / Wiki URL] for listings of 'official' and 'unofficial' packages."

As per Comment #8, discovering for the first time that the packages have already been installed after running the installer was too late, in my opinion. However, that information can still, of course, be retained in the README file.


Tue 29 Jan 2019 08:38:03 PM UTC, comment #9:

Agree to comment #8, added a "Read more" link.


Kai Torben Ohlhus <siko1056>
Project MemberIn charge of this item.
Tue 29 Jan 2019 06:13:44 PM UTC, comment #8:

which is good but doesn't catch the case of the zip-archive.

the OP's comment seems be more that they didn't know what was included with the file when it was downloaded. so they took time to download a bunch of other stuff unnecessarily.

I like the idea of a simple note with a link to more detailed info.

Nicholas Jankowski <nrjank>
Tue 29 Jan 2019 06:01:35 PM UTC, comment #7:

There is mention in the readme file that is shown at the end of the installer that already says:

Included Octave Forge Packages

A number of Octave-Forge packages have been included with Octave, however they must be loaded in order to use them.

To list the available installed packages, use the pkg list command.
To load a package in order to use its functions, use the pkg load PACKAGENAME command.

Other packages are available from Octave-Forge.

John Donoghue <lostbard>
Project Member
Tue 29 Jan 2019 04:39:11 PM UTC, comment #6:

looking at the patch, that would be misleading to anyone using the zip-archive. they have to do a pkg rebuild first. all of that is spelled out in painful detail on the wiki.

Nicholas Jankowski <nrjank>
Tue 29 Jan 2019 04:37:14 PM UTC, comment #5:

I think it would be reasonable to add a list of pre-installed packages over on the Wiki page. that page is already so long no one will notice the difference, and it gives all the commands. it also generally needs to be updated every major release. (i.e., do we still need the --force-gui note?). A hint to the wiki page for more details would be enough then, I think.

Nicholas Jankowski <nrjank>
Tue 29 Jan 2019 04:24:20 PM UTC, comment #4:

@jwe: You mean a complete list of all the OF-packages? Maybe this information might be overwhelming (the win-tab is already very verbose compared to the others).

I think the intention of the OP was to at least get a hint, that lots of them already given with the installer.

Kai Torben Ohlhus <siko1056>
Project MemberIn charge of this item.
Tue 29 Jan 2019 04:16:29 PM UTC, comment #3:

Maybe we should also add information to the installer listing the packages that are included and showing the command(s) to load them.

John W. Eaton <jwe>
Project Administrator
Tue 29 Jan 2019 04:10:34 PM UTC, comment #2:

Maybe a satisfactory solution, close to comment #1 (Request1):


Kai Torben Ohlhus <siko1056>
Project MemberIn charge of this item.
Tue 29 Jan 2019 03:44:42 PM UTC, comment #1:

Assuming Mr. A.Nonymous just went to the Octave home page and downloaded directly from here:


and assuming he is referring to a Windows binary, he is correct. (All other distributions seem to be handled by volunteers from those platforms.)

It has come up before that installation help we provide on the wiki is somewhat unhelpful since there is almost no visibility from the main website, and users are given no reason to think to look for a wiki.

Request 1:
Can a change be made to the Windows Installer page above, adding "and select packages" after each download heading. E.g.,:

  • Windows-64 and select packages (recommended)


Request 2:
can the following be added to the top of that section:

"For complete instructions on installing Octave on Windows using the executable or zip-archives, please refer to the GNU Octave Wiki <https://wiki.octave.org/Octave_for_Microsoft_Windows>

Nicholas Jankowski <nrjank>
Mon 28 Jan 2019 04:36:27 AM UTC, original submission:

The Octave website described packages that can be downloaded from Octave Forge, with link provided.
It is not sufficiently clear that the Octave installers already include all(?) of the available packages.
I wasted time downloading 19 different packages, only to discover after installing 'Octave' that it was unnecessary.



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  • -email is unavailable- added by lostbard (Posted a comment)
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  • -email is unavailable- added by siko1056 (Updated the item)

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    Follow 8 latest changes.

    Date Changed by Updated Field Previous Value => Replaced by
    2019-02-17 siko1056 StatusReady For Test => Fixed
        Open/ClosedOpen => Closed
    2019-01-29 siko1056 Severity3 - Normal => 1 - Wish
        Priority5 - Normal => 3 - Low
        StatusConfirmed => Ready For Test
    2019-01-28 siko1056 StatusNone => Confirmed
        Assigned toNone => siko1056
        Release4.4.1 => other

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