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kst (software)

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Screenshot of Kst
Screenshot of Kst
Original author(s)Barth Netterfield[1]
  • George Staikos[1]
  • Andrew Walker[1]
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Operating system
  • Linux
  • Mac
  • Windows using MinGW
TypeGraph plotting software

Kst is a plotting and data viewing program. Kst is a KDE application and is freely available for anyone to download and use under the terms of the GPL. It is noted for being able to graph real-time data aquisition.


Kst was initially developed by Barth Netterfield, an astrophysicist as a personal project. By 2004 it had begun to be used in various universities and the European Space Agency and development was funded by the Canadian Space Agency.[1]


kst is a fast real-time large-dataset plotting and viewing tool with basic data analysis functionality.[2][3][4]

Plot types[edit]

kst is able to plot histograms and 3-D with color and contour mapping for 3-D images.[5]

Real-time plotting capability[edit]

Kst has been chosen where there is a need to present plots in real-time.[6]


Real-time applications vary in size from simple graphing of a sensor from a microcontroller such as arduino that may be set up by a hobbyist to a simple sensor[2] to plotting of real time date from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope.[7]


Kst is able to accept a number input formats with Dirfiles being particularly suitable for streaming applications[7][8] and plug-in extension filters enabling other input stream types and file formats to be added.[5]

Scripting language[edit]

The tool offers a scripting language, termed KstScript based upon Javascript syntax which can help automate workflows.[5]


Some alternatives include MATLAB, Qtiplot, SciDAVis, Grace and LabPlot.[4] However, some of these are part of a numerical analysis package.[4]

Spin-off developments[edit]

Dirfile format[edit]

In the process of developing the kst application a spin-off was the emergence of the Dirfile file format standard for time-ordered binary data in an efficient manner.[lower-alpha 1] It was developed under the Getdata project into an independent standard with its own API.[8]

See also[edit]

Others articles of the Topic Free and open-source software : Eclipse Theia, The Bug Genie, ensmallen (C++ library), Aigaion, XL (programming language), herbstluftwm, Shampoo (software)
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External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. The records in files are timestamped and ordered in time of occurence


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Interview with Barth Netterfield about kst". TomChance.org. Archived from the original on 21 May 2004. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Reilly, Rob (August 2010). "Linux Journal" (PDF). No. 196. pp. 62−67. Real-Time Plots with kst and a microcontroller. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 April 2019.
  3. Årzén, Karl-Erik; Faure, Pascal; Fohler, Gerhard; Mattavelli, Marco; Neundorf, Alexander; Romero, Vanessa; Schorr, Stefan (2011-01-29). "D1f - Interface Specification" (PDF). pp. 41–42. Appendix B - The Kst Real-Time Plotting and Data Viewing Interface. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 April 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Kst - Benchmarks". Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "The Kst Handbook" (PDF). Kst-plot. p. 1. What is Kst?. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 April 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  6. Nowak, Adam; Walkowiak, Przemysław; Szwabe, Andrzej; Misiorek, Pawel. wnPUT Testbed Experimentation Framework. Lecture notes in Computer Science. 7129. pp. 377, 379, 381. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-25959-3_27.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Systems and control software for the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (PDF). Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. 79019. 1 August 2008. doi:10.1117/12.790006.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "The Dirfile Standards". sourceforge.net. Archived from the original on 29 May 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2019.

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