[FieldTrip] FieldtripR?

Robert Oostenveld r.oostenveld at donders.ru.nl
Thu Jan 20 10:51:48 CET 2011

Dear Mike,

[CCed to the fieldtrip email discussion list]]

On 19 Jan 2011, at 23:39, Mike Lawrence wrote:

> I just came across your Fieldtrip software and it looks very
> impressive. However, I'm not a MATLAB user; I feel that scientific
> software needs to be both free and open source for the purposes of
> replication and extension, so I use R instead (well, I also use R
> because it's the lingua franca of statistics, so it provides access to
> cutting edge routines). I therefore thought I'd request that the
> Fieldtrip team work to port the Fieldtrip code to R. There is
> currently a paucity of EEG analysis packages for R and a port of
> Fieldtrip would make a great contribution.

Thanks for your constructive suggestion. The FieldTrip software is  
open source, but indeed requires commercial software (MATLAB) to run.  
Most people run it on Windows or Apple OSX, even further commercial  
dependencies for those users. Requests for porting FieldTrip to free  
languages (other than Matlab) come up regularly, e.g. to make a  
compiled C/C++ version, an Octave version,  a Python version or an R  
version. Regretfully, we are not able to honor these requests.  
FieldTrip is developped for, and by scientists that are mostly funded  
by national and international scientific projects. Those projects  
require our contributors to focus on their scientific results, and  
FieldTrip can be considered as just spinoff.

For people that want to use FieldTrip without Matlab, pragmatically I  
would first suggest to look into Octave: large parts (but not all  
parts) of our code will execute properly in Octave with no or little  
changes. An alternative that requires MATLAB for development, but does  
not require MATLAB for running it, would be to use the MATLAB compiler  
to compile it into a stand-alone version that can be distributed free  
of charge. Contributions in either the direction of Octave or a  
compiled version, or contributions in porting it to another language,  
are most certainly welcome and would receive our support.

If you feel that we should receive funding from our national or from  
international research funding agency to do the work that is required  
in porting it to a free platform, please consider contacting http://www.nwo.nl 
  and similar agencies to make a plea for this.

best regards,

PS please also see my "coffee machine" email at http://mailman.science.ru.nl/pipermail/fieldtrip/2010-December/003339.html 
, which is part of a similar thread.

FieldTrip project leader
Senior Researcher and MEG physicist at the Donders Centre for  
Cognitive Neuroimaging

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