I’m giving pylab a shot. A few years ago I was really into java (an unfortunate side effect of that being the main language taught in a computational science course!!). Python promises to let me do all the things that were easy in java, more easily, and more openly.
You can install numpy, scipy and matplotlib using Ubunutu’s package manager, so I’m doing that for now.
Matplotlib requires you set a backend. I’m going with gtk, for cross platform and speed when called in a remote session, and also for Cairo support for postscript output.
When setting plot limits, do it *after* you draw the plot!