Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Linux Business

Excel Clone for Linux Now in Beta 393

Posted by michael
from the gnumeric-also-a-possible-choice dept.
Martin Kotulla writes "SoftMaker, a German software developer, has released the first public beta of PlanMaker 2004, a native-Linux spreadsheet that is highly Excel-compatible ... in fact, this app is basically Microsoft Excel ported to Linux, including Excel-compatible charting and even AutoShapes. Here is a chart comparing Excel, OpenOffice.org, and PlanMaker." Update: 05/07 19:07 GMT by M : Softmaker.de is temporarily down; the site can still be reached at softmaker.com.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Excel Clone for Linux Now in Beta

Comments Filter:
  • by grub (11606) * <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:22AM (#9084659) Homepage Journal

    in fact, this app is basically Microsoft Excel ported to Linux,

    A port? Did Microsoft gave the developers access to the Excel source code? Anyhow, that nitpicking aside the package seems to be working perfectly well on my OpenBSD desktop w/Linux compatibility enabled.

    Nice.
    • Did Microsoft gave the developers access to the Excel source code?

      No, but MSDN lists almost every single function in the app, making cloning Excel just a job of implementing the functions.

      • It looks like they've also cloned Excels license and distribution terms.

        Gnumeric and OpenOffice.org Calc will do me just fine.

        • Re:Unfortunately... (Score:5, Informative)

          by martin-k (99343) on Friday May 07, 2004 @07:07PM (#9090013) Homepage
          No, in fact we haven't.

          It's commercial software, I need to make payroll every month. If you can get over this fact, the rest is really lenient. Remember Philippe Kahn's "just like a book" license? That's what our license is modeled after -- install on as many machines as you like, but only use as many copies concurrently as you have licenses.

          If "free" is what you are after, get ahold of a copy of SUSE Linux 9.1. It ships with TextMaker Free Edition and PlanMaker Free Edition.

          • bad business plan (Score:3, Interesting)

            by hak1du (761835)
            It's commercial software, I need to make payroll every month.

            So why do you pick a business plan as bad as creating an Excel clone? There are zillions of interesting software products you could make. But you pick a product that competes head-on with Microsoft and with open source software. Do what you like, but don't come around bellyaching later when your product fails; you will have neither Microsoft to blame, nor OSS, only yourself.
            • Re:bad business plan (Score:3, Informative)

              by martin-k (99343)
              My company has been selling word processing, spreadsheet, typefaces, and database software in Germany since 1987. It's not like we just entered this business yesterday.

              I never complain to anyone about failed business ventures and, besides, Slashdot probably wouldn't accept the story...

              Martin Kotulla
              SoftMaker Software GmbH

  • The wrong path (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoxCamel (20484) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:22AM (#9084660)
    As long as Linux application developers continue to copy Microsoft, in a vain attempt to be "compatible," Microsoft will always have the edge. They will always set the pace for others to follow.

    If you want to make a better product, you can't "embrace and extend." You have to make a better product. By providing file-reading compatibility, you only re-enforce the proliferation of closed file formats. You also cripple your application, to maintain compatibility. (if you want a nifty feature, you have to make sure Excel has it too.)

    When people send me Excel files, I kindly ask them to re-send the file in CSV or some other format. Yes, there are things you can only do in native file format. But the vast majority of users never do those things.

    • Re:The wrong path (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pegr (46683) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:28AM (#9084771) Homepage Journal
      If you want to make a better product, you can't "embrace and extend." You have to make a better product. By providing file-reading compatibility, you only re-enforce the proliferation of closed file formats.

      Uh, by "cloning" a "closed" file format, you actually "open" the format to other uses. When you get a large number of vendors using the "closed" format, the original vendor now has to consider very carefully additional changes to the format for fear of breaking competitor's products. The fear is not breaking the other products but reducing compatibility of their own product. Using "closed" formats is a good thing, depending on market conditions.
      • Re:The wrong path (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Fearless Freep (94727) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:30AM (#9084822)
        >you get a large number of vendors using the "closed" format, the original vendor now has to consider very carefully additional changes to the format for fear of breaking competitor's products.

        This is Microsoft we're talking about...that's not a risk, that's part of the plan
      • Re:The wrong path (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mopslik (688435)

        Uh, by "cloning" a "closed" file format, you actually "open" the format to other uses.

        The "edge" to which the parent refers is that of letting Microsoft define the format all the time. If Microsoft constantly sets the standard, then other developers who are creating "clones" spend most of their time trying to fiddle with the file format, rather than improve/extend the functionality of the software.

        Sure, the format's open now, but what do you do when the company decides to change their file format for t

        • Re:The wrong path (Score:4, Interesting)

          by pegr (46683) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:43AM (#9084981) Homepage Journal
          The "edge" to which the parent refers is that of letting Microsoft define the format all the time. If Microsoft constantly sets the standard, then other developers who are creating "clones" spend most of their time trying to fiddle with the file format, rather than improve/extend the functionality of the software.

          But that edge is lost when changing the format drives away your customers when they can no longer interoperate with users with competing products. It's a critical mass issue. When so many people are using MS's format with competing products that MS can't change the format for fear of a user backlash of not being able to interoperate, you've frozen the format and can now move into "open" formats with greater functionality... functionality MS has to duplicate just to stay in the game. Now who is copying whom?
          • Re:The wrong path (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mopslik (688435) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:51AM (#9085104)

            But that edge is lost when changing the format drives away your customers when they can no longer interoperate...

            You mean like the notorious Office95/97 issues that Microsoft implemented themselves? This is intentional -- it forces users to upgrade to the latest release. It's not a compatibility issue, it's a profitability issue.

            MS can't change the format for fear of a user backlash of not being able to interoperate...

            There's nothing to stop Microsoft from using an "open" standard in their next release, in addition to supporting older file formats (like they currently do). Look at your file filters for Office. There are filters to read older versions of Office documents, since the formats have changed. Again, it has nothing to do with compatibility. It has to do with user lock-in and guaranteed financial return.

        • Re:The wrong path (Score:3, Informative)

          by ccp (127147)
          The "edge" to which the parent refers is that of letting Microsoft define the format all the time. If Microsoft constantly sets the standard, then other developers who are creating "clones" spend most of their time trying to fiddle with the file format, rather than improve/extend the functionality of the software.

          Sure, the format's open now, but what do you do when the company decides to change their file format for the next release of their software?


          What this argument fails to realize is that MS can't m
    • that doesn't always work. if you're running a *nix box and you want to be included with the rest of the world using windows machines, you're going to have to be compatible to even have any chance at competition...

      what *nix needs is not to be different, but to be the same and different at the same time, like it is... the reason i use *nix is because I can deal the files windows users give me and I can use other *nix-only programs at the same time...

    • Re:The wrong path (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Paulrothrock (685079) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:28AM (#9084781) Homepage Journal
      But people won't buy things just because they're better, they have to interoperate fully. You can't say to a client "No, I can't see your Excel file because I hate copying Microsoft." Until and unless Microsoft adopts open file formats (based on XML, hopefully), Linux won't be able to out-innovate Microsoft. Only by copying them (initially, at least) will we be able to compete.

      Interestingly, I think XML-based file format standards are a great way to break Microsoft's monopoly without disrupting market forces.
    • Re:The wrong path (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Erratio (570164)
      You kindly ask them to send a different format, but you have to look at it from the standpoint of the average user, who doesn't want to have to deal with that stuff. The fact is that MS Office documents have become somewhat of a standard in the business community and you can't hope to attain widespread use with software unless those formats are handled easily. This is just another step in being about to easily transition people to linux, it's not a step forward in development. As far as "better product
      • Re:The wrong path (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tanguyr (468371) <tanguyr+slashdot@gmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:19PM (#9085423) Homepage
        MS Office has suffered from compatibility problems in the past between versions - i remember having to ask customers/vendors to please "save as Word 6" because we hadn't upgraded to Office 98 yet. If there's one format that truely deserves the label of "a standard in the business community" then it's PDF: when business users exchange documents they're exchanging digitized paper meant for reading.
        Once you start talking about exchanging the data in the document (like when you import that spreadsheet into your database) then you're not talking business users, you're talking developers (hopefully for you, or else prepare for the frustration of the guy who sends you a report that's "almost" in the right format).
        As for this particular product: about time. They might not post on Slashdot, but there are hordes of people inside every medium to large company that spend their whole working day in front of Excel (and we call them Excel jockeys). Visicalc was a big factor in the early success of the Apple 2. Lotus 1-2-3 did the same for DOS based PCs.
    • Re:The wrong path (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TedTschopp (244839) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:30AM (#9084806) Homepage
      When people send me Excel files, I kindly ask them to re-send the file in CSV or some other format. Yes, there are things you can only do in native file format. But the vast majority of users never do those things.

      Well, I see you never have to deal with people who are normal business users.

      I'm not trying to be mean, but I find that normal business users don't know how to do much of the fancy stuff in Excel or any of their other programs. The most common usage of Excel I've found is glorified forms. Oh, I'm not saying that its not used for what it really can be used for, but in those cases the person doing the Excel work is usually an Analyst who is working for the person who is actually consuming the reports.

      The idea here is to give the normal business user a replacement for the expensive office product.

      And as far as innovating and flanking Microsoft on the Spreadsheet market. Its a spreadsheet, there really isn't much more that can be done to the product to innovate it. Copying Microsoft is a great place to start.

      Look at Microsoft's innovation in Excel over the last couple of editions. YEAH SMART TAGS!. That's about it. Oh I know there is more, but come on the market has been dead years now. The only place left to compete is on Price.

      Ted Tschopp

      • Re:The wrong path (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 16K Ram Pack (690082)
        I'm not trying to be mean, but I find that normal business users don't know how to do much of the fancy stuff in Excel or any of their other programs. The most common usage of Excel I've found is glorified forms. Oh, I'm not saying that its not used for what it really can be used for, but in those cases the person doing the Excel work is usually an Analyst who is working for the person who is actually consuming the reports.

        I've seen nothing used since Excel 5.0. Most Excel work I've seen is databases and

      • Re:The wrong path (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AstroDrabb (534369) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:12PM (#9086217)
        I find that normal business users don't know how to do much of the fancy stuff in Excel or any of their other programs. The most common usage of Excel I've found is glorified forms
        I have to agree 100% here. I have worked for 3 fortune 500 companies and 99.5% of all MS Office docs that go around are very simple and OpenOffice.org can handle those needs with no problems. The only users I have seen using more complex features are financial analyst who had to be trained in Excel, so they can be trained in OOo. OOo is ready now to displace MS Office in the workplace. However, it needs to be a corporate wide choice. A single user cannot start asking everyone to send them docs in OOo, they will be laughed at. Now if the whole company converts, then there is a lot of weigth to go with that choice. Any other company that wants to do business will have to send in an open format such as OOo, CSV, HTML, PDF, etc. The hardest part of the switch is not OOo, but getting upper management to become "un-brain-washed" by the MS Sales guys of how MS Office will "save them money", make them "more productive" and help them to one day achieve the dream of a "paperless office".
        • Let me correct you on a few points:

          A single user cannot start asking everyone to send them docs in OOo, they will be laughed at.

          Well, no need for that. OOo does a pretty good job reading proprietary word and excel files, oh an powerpoint files as well.

          The thign is that the OOo user will have to remember to send files to MS Office users that they can actually read.

          company that wants to do business will have to send in an open format such as OOo, CSV, HTML, PDF, etc.

          Last time I looked, PDF is quite o
    • Re:The wrong path (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pheared (446683)
      While I mostly agree with you, there is still a problem. Just making a better product doesn't solve the problem if there is no one even considering a switch to your product. While I think that it is mostly in vain, there is still some value to playing catch-up because you can pick up some more users who are caught in MSs wake.

      With more users and more developers and more attention you will be able to convince R&D departments to spend more money on creating this better product for Linux.
    • Re:The wrong path (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Woogiemonger (628172) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:31AM (#9084830)

      As long as Linux application developers continue to copy Microsoft, in a vain attempt to be "compatible," Microsoft will always have the edge. They will always set the pace for others to follow.

      I disagree. First off, being able to read Excel files compatibly in Linux is something Microsoft can't provide. You get an available market share that way, and even add to it. Also, the demo on the web site seems to demonstrate reading in Excel files and displaying them.

      While I'm betting they want to be able to support outward compatibility, they should be in no way restricted to it. Just like going from Excel to OpenOffice, you can implement extra features in PlanMaker, let's say, and then save files that won't be perfect but will be good enough for Excel. Just like MS's business strategy, there'll perhaps be some nifty PlanMaker-specific features to make a company want to in time convert to PlanMaker-only.

      Nothing's wrong with supporting the most popular format out there though. Otherwise, you're expecting users to take too far a leap.

    • Re:The wrong path (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SpyPlane (733043)
      Agreed. At the same time though, reality is that some people don't want change. If/When someone decides to switch to linux, it is good to know they can still open all of their old files, whether simple or feature complete in their new OS. This limits the ACTUAL amount of change they have to deal with. It's enough of a concern worrying about hardware working or not, but when you have to worry about converting all personal or corporate documents, you just about eliminated any gain from the change.

    • Re:The wrong path (Score:5, Informative)

      by rrkap (634128) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:31AM (#9084833) Homepage

      When people send me Excel files, I kindly ask them to re-send the file in CSV or some other format. Yes, there are things you can only do in native file format. But the vast majority of users never do those things.

      Ah, yes. I can't remember the last time I saw someone use excel to create a chart or calculate something. The fact is that calculation and presentation of data are the two main points of spreadsheets and neither works with CSV files.

    • On the other hand, it opens up the possibilites of adoption in organizations where compatibility is necessary. Like almost every business in existence.

      I'd love for our company to switch to a Linux desktop...I feel the OS itself if there. The problem is applications..."sort of compatible" isn't good enough when you have to deal with customers who are prefectly happy using Excel.

      It may not be preferable, but it's necessary.
    • by linuxtelephony (141049) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:32AM (#9084840) Homepage
      Not necessarily. Think about it. Years ago it was Lotus 1-2-3. Then Borland created their version, Quattro Pro, and included the Lotus 1-2-3 menu structure (as an option) and macro compatibility.

      It was this compatibility that enabled a lot of people to leave Lotus for other spreadsheets. I was pretty impressed when Quattro Pro 1, out of the box, was able to run my microwave path calculation tool, for 1-2-3, without ANY modification.

      I don't remember early Excel days, by the time I started using Excel, I had been using Quattro Pro for a while. Excel worked in Windows similar to Quattro Pro on DOS, and that was nice at the time.

      The point is, it took the compatibility and similarity with the "top dog" in order for new players to get into the game. Once they were in the game, they were able to provide features unique to their product, above and beyond the compatibility with the original. Eventually, the original began to lose its place as the leader.

      I'm talking pre-Windows 95 timeframe.

      This, and the Xandros Desktop in the previous story, may provide just the similarity necessary to get real people to switch and try it out. Once they find that they CAN make the switch and still do what they need to, they will be more inclined to try more new and different things. When that happens, then Linux on the desktop will be viable, and the Microsoft desktop penetration levels should begin to erode.
    • These are just different approaches.

      Let us assume that your goal is to get Windows users to use Linux. Now you can do this two ways:
      (a) offer a current Windows user the same look & feel & functionality on the Linux platform; or
      (b) offer a current Windows user a better product on Linux, where "better" is directly proportional to the ratio of the Windows installed base to Linux installed base.

      There are some who will take (a); others will try (b). It is, obviously, more difficult to do (b) tha

    • I agree with you that Linux must make a better product not an equal product. But like it or not it is a Windows world.

      "When people send me Excel files, I kindly ask them to re-send the file in CSV or some other format."

      By doing that are you "making a stand that Joe User will notice" or just being an irritant that will make people avoid dealing with you(assuming they have that choice).

      Linux is going to have to do both. Show that it can work with Windows, easily, AND do it better. You attitude about f
    • Re:The wrong path (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shakrai (717556) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:33AM (#9084863) Journal

      When people send me Excel files, I kindly ask them to re-send the file in CSV or some other format. Yes, there are things you can only do in native file format. But the vast majority of users never do those things.

      I'd love to be able to do that. Unfortunately when somebody sends my company an Excel file it's usually a customer who (more likely then not) is about to spend a lot of money. I can't see telling them "I'm sorry, please send your file in a different format, we don't support the most widely used Spreadsheet format here."

      I'm not trolling either -- only pointing out the fact that not all of us have that luxury. I would agree 100% with your comments about not following Microsoft's lead and coming up with our own ideas -- but then, how much more room for innovation is there in spreadsheet or word processing world? Has Microsoft themselves come up with any new ideas (eye candy doesn't count)?

    • Re:The wrong path (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SydShamino (547793) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:33AM (#9084868)
      >> As long as Linux application developers continue to copy Microsoft, in a vain attempt to be "compatible," Microsoft will always have the edge.

      ... until Microsoft breaks its own compatibility, and people see that they have a more-compatible alternative.

      Microsoft has a lot of capatibility breaking in its upcoming schedule. No reason other alternatives can't be ready to step up and provide continued support for the existing "standards". Think about Intel and AMD. Intel decided to break compatibility with x86 for their 64-bit instruction set. AMD made a compatible set, and AMD won the "war," forcing Intel to scrap their architecture and copy AMD.
    • Re:The wrong path (Score:3, Insightful)

      by baudilus (665036)
      I disagree. Microsoft gained said edge by copying someone else's product (Apple copied Xerox, then Microsoft copied Apple) and "improving" on it (read: bastardizing). Same thing with Japanese automobile companies.

      To claim that compatibility reinforces exclusive file format proliferation is like saying putting a supercharger on an engine only reinforces the proliferation of less powerful engines.

      Look at it practically: how do you expect business to want to migrate users to Linux from Microsoft if *nix
    • As long as Linux application developers continue to copy Microsoft, in a vain attempt to be "compatible," Microsoft will always have the edge.

      What if MS Excel does things that people want done in a way they want them done? For example, suppose that Excel's core functionality is exactly what most people that use Excel want? Are you saying that Linux developers should ignore what people want just to be different than Windows? That's silly. And, what about compatibility and learning curves? I thought in the

    • Re:The wrong path (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Azureflare (645778)
      Compatibility and User interface are two different issues here. You seem to be lumping them together, which IMO is just wrong to do. OpenOffice.org is able to import .xls files pretty well (though not perfectly) and the interface is pretty different from Excel; I wouldn't say OpenOffice.org is "copying" Microsoft's UI in the least.

      In the case of this product, yes it is copying the UI AND the file format of Microsoft. What does this mean for the average user? It means they don't have to buy Microsoft Of

    • Re:The wrong path (Score:3, Informative)

      by danheskett (178529)
      When people send me Excel files, I kindly ask them to re-send the file in CSV or some other format. Yes, there are things you can only do in native file format. But the vast majority of users never do those things.

      The thing is, you are wrong. I deal with a lot of excel users, and let me assure that 90% of them use at least one dynamic field, data generated field, calculated field, or reasonably appropriate formatting.

      There is no open well-designed spreadsheet format that is recognized by a standards b
  • hai2u (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:23AM (#9084699)
    Does it have a clippy too?
  • Home use only (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thebra (707939) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:25AM (#9084712) Homepage Journal
    I don't think that an Excel clone will ever work in the business enviorment unless it can run all the addins like the ones for Essbase and Peoplesoft.
  • It includes the flight sim as well! They better now have left out the flight simulator!

  • by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:26AM (#9084737) Homepage Journal
    The thing that really surprised me was how badly OpenOffice supported (or rather, didn't support) Excel's functionality.

    You may say that those features are part of the 80% of features that aren't used, but someone's using them. If those someones aren't able to use those features, OpenOffice is useless for them.
    • by sommere (105088) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:31AM (#9084828) Homepage
      So they were able to pick out 5-6 features that OO.o couldn't support that they did. That's hardly proof that they support more excel features than OO.o.

      If an independent group created a bunch of hard to read excel files and they compared how many each displayed correctly -- then I'd believe that their support is better. For all I know they went out of their way to find limitations of OO.o and implement those features first so they could make those images.
    • I believe the classic quote is "90% of the people use only 10% of the functionality of [software]. The problem is that everyone uses a different 10%."
    • by garcia (6573) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:42AM (#9084977) Homepage
      I have been saying this for quite some time on here. OpenOffice is NOT an acceptable replacement for MS Office regardless of what you hear the slashbots saying.

      Yes, OpenOffice is good for what *most* people do. It certainly does not support everything that everyone uses. Just because it is "good enough" for some it certainly isn't what the rest of us want.

      From what I saw in the screenshots only it *looks* good. I won't know until I actually run it. I am a bit leary of running any beta software that I don't have access to the source code.

      Running strangely named binaries from .tgz files reminds me of days-gone-by in Linux... I figured for a well done "port" that they would at least have the idea that they should make the executable something named better than what it is.
  • Will it Deliver? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WordODD (706788)
    MS Excel is an awesome program one of two that makes Office actually worthwhile. If Planmaker 2004 this truly delivers then one of the major stumbling blocks for OO.org has been overcome.
  • by PeteDotNu (689884)
    Plenty of images on that page. I give that web server ten minutes.
  • by ErisCalmsme (212887) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:26AM (#9084749) Homepage Journal
    Gnumeric is so great, and it opens Excel files too? Plus is has so many functions (including every singel excel function). I'm not sure I'd use a different spreadsheet.
  • Not free (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gspr (602968) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:27AM (#9084755)
    Since this software seems to not be free, it can't really beat OpenOffice, can it? No, it can't.
  • Google cache (Score:5, Informative)

    by GillBates0 (664202) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:28AM (#9084766) Homepage Journal
    of the first two links:

    Softmaker [66.102.7.104]
    PlanMaker [66.102.7.104]

  • by VanWEric (700062) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:28AM (#9084770)
    They choose Excel? I have never been able to figure that program out. Give me Minitab anyday. Mmmmm..... Multiple Regression. Excuse me. Me and fantasy minitab for linux have to be alone right now.
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:28AM (#9084777) Homepage Journal
    I've got just the name. XXXcell

    That way it will get distributed on the P2P networks a lot faster.
  • Crossover (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr. McGibby (41471) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:28AM (#9084778) Homepage Journal
    While I applaud the effort, and I'm sure they'll sell some copies; other than some cost savings how is this functionally different from using Crossover Office? I've been using Excel in Linux for quite some time and it works perfectly.
  • If it's a port, the Microsoft legal machine will jump into action. On the other hand, if it's not a port, the Microsoft legal machine will jump into action. I think it's doomed.
  • by Gilesx (525831) * <gil AT foresightlinux DOT com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:29AM (#9084792) Homepage
    This is not a flame. I *want* this product to succeed. But unfortunately, being able to display wordart better than openoffice isn't a deal maker, and especially isn't going to make me choose paid for software over free software. However, if they were to suddenly enable you to import all your VB macros with a Spreadsheet, then I'd happily hand my card number over there and then. Unfortunately, until then, this really just smacks as a "me too" product, and I can't see it taking much of openoffice's market share.
    • Currently, PlanMaker imports the macros but doesn't touch them. When you save your file, they are saved in the output file as well.

      Actual VBA macro support is our next step. PlanMaker for Windows and TextMaker for Windows have an OLE object model that is already close to Excel's and Word's, but we have to move that stuff to Linux as well.

      Martin Kotulla
      SoftMaker Software GmbH
      • I'd have to agree about the importance of VBA. Some might call it the source of all evil; but...

        In one of my jobs we used Excel to do all of our analysis. It would import all of the raw data (text files) and we could use VBA scripts to do the harder calculations (field integrals, density calculations, beam trajectory, etc.) then post the results back into a sheet. From there it was extraordinarily easy to produce graphical plots of the results.

        I think you see my point.

  • by UrbanFallout (207324) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:30AM (#9084814)
    On the site it seems the only comparisons are for a certain set of graphs. This is not a true test of compatibilty.

    What about how well the pivot table works?, are the goal seeking functions the same (I hope not)?

    Surely these should also be mentioned.

    why only focus on word art?
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JanneM (7445) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:30AM (#9084816) Homepage
    I mean, Gnumeric is excellent - it even emulates excel bugs if you want to (and will not, otherwise). I seriously do not understand why people would use another spreadhseet.

  • Yeah, they've got their tool kicking OO's butt, but they've also chosen the benchmarks.

    I see that the beta is free, but will it stay that way? That's one of the biggest reasons to choose OO (unless you are just an OSS fanatic).
  • by Rysc (136391) <sorpigal@gmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:32AM (#9084844) Homepage Journal
    Gnumeric is a much better spreadsheet program than OOo Spread. It's also better than Excell in all ways in which it competes, except for charting . (And they'll be fixing that *real soon now*). Enough of this crappy OOo stuff and commerical stuff. Use Gnumeric! This is not SIAG or some krappy Koffice attempt, it's teh best Excel-styel spreadsheet program you can get.
    • by praedor (218403) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:47AM (#9085051) Homepage

      I've used all three (gnumeric, kspread, and OOcalc). I do find that gnumeric is quite good, but not really any better at those data analysis tools than kspread is. Both gnumeric and kspread suffer (TREMENDOUSLY) in the charting arena. Gnumeric doesn't even have a broken rudimentary graphing capability while kspread ties into kchart which is a horrible charting app. OOcalc kicks both their butts on charting, but it doesn't match up to the charting possible from excel.


      Of course, excel cannot hold a candle to the charting capabilites of DeltaGraph or CricketGraph (both Mac apps...do they have PC versions?). I have begged the koffice developers to fix the atrocious kcharting app so that it is actually of use (mostly hard-of-hearing ears if not outright deaf ears). I hope against hope that OO will improve its charting capabilities (C'mon! You CANNOT do proper charting if you don't do error bars). Gnumeric doesn't even enter the picture here. Nothing at all in the charting arena so all the nice data analysis done in gnumeric is for naught. There's no way to plot it out, no way to graphically represent it.

      • Weak charting (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jody Goldberg (61349) <jody@@@gnome...org> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:07PM (#9085281) Homepage
        Gnumeric is admittedly still pretty weak on the charting side. However, things are improving quickly. Please file a few feature requests to help guide things. 1.3.x has support for error bars now (still need to hook up the xls import for that) and the polar (what xl calls radar) plot engine is in place too. My short term goals are to extend the axis mapping support, and add a gnuplotish implicit iterator feature that is not in XL.
      • by JanneM (7445)
        As Jody says in another post, the actual charting is still in its early stages for Gnumeric - but improving rapidly (and user feedback is of course of prime importance).

        For the important background parts - getting the mathematics right - Gnumeric is _very_ mature. It has far more reliable models than excel.

        (self-serving promotion ahead)
        It also has a pretty decent Swedish translation...
  • by ecklesweb (713901)
    Looking through the product's web site, it looks like the software is pretty lacking compared to Excel in the data analysis arena. According to the site, the data analysis features include:

    Analyze Data

    Create database ranges inside your worksheets
    Data grouping (outliner)
    Sort, filter by condition, AutoFilter
    Database functions for sum, average, variance, etc.

    No ANOVA, regression analysis, t tests, correlation, etc.? No pivot tables? That's most of what I find Excel useful for!

    H

  • For PocketPC too! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xaqar (112761) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:33AM (#9084865)
    Don't miss the Pocket PC version [softmaker.de] as well! It supports everything that the desktop version does, unlike MS's own Pocket Excel, which barely does anything!
  • Sales Pitch? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:40AM (#9084946)
    I noticed that Martin Kotulla's "email" address is http://www.softmaker.de. Doesn't that make this an unabashed sails pitch to /. users?
  • by theManInTheYellowHat (451261) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:46AM (#9085038)
    We need to be able to edit Flash files, edit Movies, make better websites.

    Microsoft Office has been done, done to death, and the resounding tone is that there is precious little inovation left to do. Macromedia, Adobe and Apple are making the software that needs to run on Linux box.

    Honestly with OpenOffice, gnumeric and kspread what else do you need for a spreadsheet?

    Wordart in Excel BFD. Garageband, Premeire, Flash MX, Dreamweaver, FinalCut.....
  • by Idou (572394) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:02PM (#9085229) Journal
    it seems pretty quick (especially when comparing it to OO 1.1, I suppose that is because it is just a spreadsheet program). And it seems to open xls files as quick as Excel.

    Seems to be in a niche between OO which allows you to save to xls and gnumeric, which I didn't think allowed you to save to xls format but is very light and quick.

    Oh, and it seems to support OO's calc format.

    No, maybe it will not save the world, but it just may help a handful more people move to Linux and reward a commericial developer for supporting Linux. Though, I am sure it is not for EVERYONE.
  • VBA scripting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ion_ (176174) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:35PM (#9087308) Homepage

    I wonder if any non-Microsoft®Office® spreadsheet program supports VBA scripting? Being able to run such useful Excel® programs as Pacelman [geocities.jp] and Excellence [pouet.net] would be very important for the FOSS community. Apparently there has been some effort to make a Visual® Basic® interpreter for Linux [sourceforge.net], but the project doesn't seem to have made any progress.

  • by martin-k (99343) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:41PM (#9087403) Homepage
    OK, our hosting company cut us off because "some scripts were attacking our servers". When I told them about Slashdot, they never heard of the site. Oh well.

    Currently, I have moved things to:

    Main page [softmaker.com]
    PlanMaker for Linux page [softmaker.com]
    Comparison page Excel, PlanMaker, OpenOffice.org [softmaker.com]

    Let's see how quickly you slashdot those.

    You cannot download the beta right now because the Python scripts point to softmaker.de which is currently no way. Just look at the pictures instead.

    If someone wants to mirror us, please contact me at info (at) softmaker.de . Please. Pretty please.

    Martin Kotulla SoftMaker Software GmbH

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:29PM (#9088677) Homepage
    Let us remember that Visicalc was modelled on the limitations of an accountant's ledger and the Apple ][ screen.

    Let us _please_ move past that limitation --- you've got companies that have to _require_ that all ranges used for calculations (even of a single cell) are given names --- Lotus Improv w/ it's cool tear-off ``item dispenser'' instead required one name things as they were made, so that formulas read like:

    profit = sales - expenses

    Cloning is boring and uninteresting --- contrast LyX (http://www.lyx.org ) to Word for an example of how an opensource app can change the concept and do much better.

    For those running Mac OS X, look up http://www.quantrix.com

    For those w/ systems running NeXT or OPENSTEP, well, you've already got Lotus Improv or Quantrix already, right?

    William
  • The only thing... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Audacious (611811) on Friday May 07, 2004 @05:01PM (#9089080) Homepage
    The only thing these spreadsheets needs now is a compiler so you can quickly create a set of programs which use a spreadsheet-like interface.

    Think of it - pre-defined variables (cA_1, cA_2, etc...), pre-defined functions, pre-defined graphic routines, pre-defined everything just about - except for the stuff written by the user. You don't have to worry about if the program will work or not on a given platform, you could do straight-line programming or oop programming, and displays are already standardized. They all look like spreadsheets. :-)

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

Working...