February 07, 2002, 12:00 AM — Continuing the spate of 1.0 releases (we addressed Evolution in a
previous newsletter: http://www.itworld.com/nl/lnx_desktop/01312002),
the spreadsheet program, Gnumeric, is now at a 1.0 release as well.
Gnumeric, a popular Linux spreadsheet, has been around for years in a
series of pre-release versions. This is fairly common on Linux, where
1.0-level programs are rare compared to pre-release versions. Gnumeric
looks and acts much like Microsoft Excel. The ability to import files
created by commercial packages is crucial for a non-mainstream
spreadsheet (such as Gnumeric) so Gnumeric imports Microsoft Excel,
Lotus 1-2-3, XBase, and even the Psion handheld format.
Gnumeric also supports most of the Excel functions, making life a lot
easier when moving from a mainstream system. The Gnumeric Web site
(http://www.gnome.org/projects/gnumeric) claims that Gnumeric supports
95 percent of all built-in Excel functions. Gnumeric also supports all
built-in Excel number formats. In addition, Gnumeric provides a number
of high-end functions, in areas such as number theory or financial
derivatives that you won't find in more limited tools such as Excel.
With the Guppi add on, available from http://www.gnome.org/guppi, you
can create graphs and charts from data in Gnumeric.
You can find out more about Gnumeric at
http://www.gnome.org/projects/gnumeric/gnumeric-1.0.0. You can download
Gnumeric from http://download.gnome.org/GNOME/stable/sources/gnumeric.
Since the program name starts with that strange "g" (as opposed to the
strange "k"), you can guess, correctly, that Gnumeric is part of the
GNOME desktop environment. Even so, Gnumeric should run just fine on
Linux systems running the KDE desktop.
In most cases, though, unless you have the latest GNOME desktop, and
all its sundry programming libraries, installed, then you are better
off waiting until the next release of either the full GNOME desktop or
of your Linux distribution. That's because you can quickly get into all
sorts of hassles with different library versions. It is much easier for
most users to let someone else deal with the problem and release an
integrated set of applications. Typically, your Linux distribution
vendors, such as SuSE or Red Hat, take care of this task for you.