F4S: Why and when did Scilab come to be?
It is a (very) long story. It started basically at the same period as Matlab to promote the research of researchers at Inria in France.
In the 80′s, Inria decided to publish it under the name Basile with the sources (at this time, free software was not what it is now).
Scilab became more and more popular. That is why Inria decided to create a consortium in 2003 to support Scilab and ensure a more industrial oriented development. After 4 years, Digiteo was founded to improve, document and stabilize the software. Scilab Enterprises was founded in 2010 to provide the, now usual, free software business model on Scilab.
Scilab is supported since 2003 by the Consortium which includes industrial and academics (http://www.scilab.org/aboutus/consortium/members).
In June of this year, Scilab Enterprises will be the only responsible for Scilab development. Therefore, you could consider Scilab Enterprises as the main sponsor of Scilab.
Scilab Enterprises has also many important customers, mainly big corporations in the industrial field (aerospace, aeronautics, cars , etc) but also SME. We are also funded through R&D projects.