I’m increasingly looking to python as a way to automate producing graphics. Maple is too slow, and not free. Octave doesn’t provide as much control over the plots as gnuplot. However I’m finding the Gnuplotpy interface is not great.
The new Scipy pages look great, and it certainly seems like they have a good, coordinated effort going. They strongly recommend Matplotlib, which uses matlab like syntax. Worth a look I guess, after all, it’s just another language.