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Excel Clone for Linux Now in Beta

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the gnumeric-also-a-possible-choice dept.

Linux Business 393

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.

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084655)

fp for cslib!

Works on other free unixes (at least 1) (5, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084659)


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.

The wrong path (5, Insightful)

MoxCamel (20484) | more than 10 years ago | (#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 (5, Interesting)

pegr (46683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084771)

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 (5, Insightful)

Fearless Freep (94727) | more than 10 years ago | (#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 (2, Insightful)

mopslik (688435) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084914)

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 the next release of their software?

Re:The wrong path (3, Interesting)

pegr (46683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084981)

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 (3, Funny)

Major_Small (720272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084772)

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 (4, Insightful)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084781)

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 (1)

LordSah (185088) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084964)

Like the XML format Excel ships with today? Not trying to be a smart ass, but given that Microsoft already ships XML-format Office, I don't really see how open source alternatives could use a different XML format to best Microsoft.

Re:The wrong path (2, Insightful)

Erratio (570164) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084794)

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 products" go, most people that care about that wouldn't be using MS Office to begin with.

Re:The wrong path (5, Insightful)

TedTschopp (244839) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084806)

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 (2, Interesting)

pheared (446683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084817)

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 (3, Insightful)

Woogiemonger (628172) | more than 10 years ago | (#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 (2, Interesting)

SpyPlane (733043) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084832)

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 (4, Informative)

rrkap (634128) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084833)

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.

Re:The wrong path (1)

teeker (623861) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084834)

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.

Not necessarily (Re:The wrong path) (4, Insightful)

linuxtelephony (141049) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084840)

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.

Re:The wrong path (1)

Quixote (154172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084854)

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) than (a); include the fact that Linux coders are doing it on their own time for almost no remuneration, and it becomes even harder. Doing something for the love of it is difficult, given these economic times.

But the clueless will not get it. (2, Insightful)

nlinecomputers (602059) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084856)

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 file formats just shows them that Linux is neither.

Re:The wrong path (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084863)

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 (3, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 10 years ago | (#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 (2, Insightful)

baudilus (665036) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084878)

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 developers go out of their way to make it more difficult? IMHO, this is the perfect venue: introduce a product that has everything M$'s product has, and things that it doesn't. Very quickly you'll find that the tables have turned and it's Microsoft trying to "catch up" to the other product. Who has the edge then?

Re:The wrong path (1)

sirben_kobs (521502) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084884)

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.
True; however, Excel actually does have some nice features and many uses. It's not bad to copy something that is useful. This is not to say that Excel, or spreadsheets in general, can't be improved upon, or even replaced, just that 1)Excel _is_ the current de facto business-standard spreadsheet, and 2)future good ideas are often rethinks (thoughts? thunks?) of past questionable ideas.

Re:The wrong path (1)

stomer (236922) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084907)

That is more than a little naive. While I agree with your statement in principal, the fact of the matter is you are never going to gain market share without first offering users a fairly painless transition.

If this were not the case, many an OS that has fallen by the wayside would be in dominance today. Microsoft Windows is living proof that to be number one, you do not have to be the best. Superior product != Dominance. Sad, but it is true. (Examples: OS/2, BeOS, Mac OS X, and many more)

The biggest advantage I see to OSS is that it is currently trying to offering users as painless a transition as possible, then, once the product is in dominance (like apache for instance) the focus does not shift. The focus can remain to provide a solid, secure, stable, and still somewhat innovative product.

But, I could be wrong.

The RIGHT path (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084922)

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 Ideal World, people could choose the OS they want and still be able to do business with people who use something else, and Excel compatibility should be high on that list.

I don't like major car manufacturers, therefore I refuse to drive cars that use tires?

Re:The wrong path (1)

roomisigloomis (643740) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084923)

Strategically speaking, this is not true. A readily available example is the way that Microsoft has co-opted javascript (j-script) and other technologies, subsequently morphing them into their own creation. Look at it this way: there are three stories currently posted about Linux/Windows compatibility. The average person/user likes to stick with what he knows. If the Linux community can make exact ports of MS Office products, it hurts MS. The logic is this: people will see Linux as falling within their comfort zone. The next step would be for the open source community to add valuable features that MS doesn't have (for example, built-in export to PDF). This does two things: it gives users reasons (value and not just price) to use the Linux versions more and more and, 2, it makes MS have to struggle to innovate while lowering prices (and their margins) on their products. Increasing R&D expenditures combined with decreasing profit margins results in hard times. So shall it be written; so shall it be done.

Important thing is (1)

not_a_product_id (604278) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084953)

I think you can make a strong case for saying that this is a good way to easy non /. folk onto Linux. My mum is doing the European Computer Driving License (ECDL [ecdl.co.uk] ) for her work. When I asked her if I should restore an old PC for her by puting Linux on it she wanted to know if it would support the sort of stuff they have in the ECDL. Like Excel. This might have swung it.

Re:The wrong path (2, Interesting)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084963)

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 Office to work with .xls files, they just need to get this application.

This reminds me of like Lindows^H^H^H^Hspire; it's oriented towards users who are comfortable with Microsoft's design, and have learned how to do things using Microsoft products. Those kind of users want something they're familiar with, so they will be more likely to use something that is familiar to them. We still have our KOffice and OpenOffice.org spreadsheet applications; is there something wrong with this approach?

If this application didn't exist, people would just run Excel in Crossover Office. That's what I do actually, so this app may allow me to throw off Microsoft Excel completely, if it functions as advertised (currently slashdotted to hell).

I think it's rather silly to say "No! Never will I support anything Microsoft!" when the majority of users use it. This application may allow users to take another step away from Microsoft lock-in. The goal isn't to "embrace" Microsoft's technology, the goal is to create a viable alternative, that will create the minimum amount of fuss in transition.

Re:The wrong path (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084989)

>> If you want to make a better product, you can't >> "embrace and extend."

That is true. But IMHO, What it all comes down to is how it is presented to the user. Its not embracing and extending, its more or less illusioning and going the better route. A user wants to use what a user knows, and by making all these functions transparent, no matter how hard it can be (it can be accomplished) is the only real way to "accept and go beyond" and in the end create a better product.

Re:The wrong path (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084991)

I agree with you absolutely.

Of course, we need to help people migrate. But that's different to copying Windows. I wish more people in the OSS world would think like you!

Bug (0, Offtopic)

andy666 (666062) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084664)

There is a GUI bug in the pull down menus "File" that drives me crazy!

first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084672)

booooooooooooooooring

So... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084684)

It's just a clone? No innovation?

Way to go linux..

cool! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084690)

cool!

hai2u (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084699)

Does it have a clippy too?

Good... (2, Interesting)

NIN1385 (760712) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084707)

Excel is about the only program I have ever cared for that MS makes...this could be a good thing since open office isn't that good of an alternative for Excel quite yet.

Home use only (4, Insightful)

thebra (707939) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084712)

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.

Re:Home use only (2, Insightful)

joshuao3 (776721) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084966)

Indeed! I've worked with Excel for a long time and my experience has been that most users (and I mean a VAST majority) don't use any plugins. They are happy to use it to tally up numbers, perform a bit of number crunching, etc. A solid application that looks and feels and interoperates with Excel on a fundamental level should make a huge splash in Linux. It certainly won't drive new users to linux on it's own, but it'll give them a reason to stay if they already are.

Add in an on par word processor, powerpoint tool, and outlook-esque client and you'll win a lot of new clients.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084716)

First Post!

It's not like the real excel unless (3, Funny)

caston (711568) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084718)

It includes the flight sim as well! They better now have left out the flight simulator!

Re:It's not like the real excel unless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084859)

I wish I could mod this "-1, Unfunny."

Re:It's not like the real excel unless (1)

caston (711568) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084940)

If I could mod my own comment I would have said +1 serious.

Or use crossover office! (0, Redundant)

Krik Johnson (764568) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084728)

Cross over office lets you run your Windows Applications in Linux! Office, Photoshop, Quicken, Dreamweaver and more! I officially abandoned Windows due to this App! Get it now! [codeweavers.com] , or get it preinstalled with SuSE Office Desktop or Xandros.

Re:Or use crossover office! (1)

palironsat (529925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084804)

Umm, is this a paid advert or something? Geez, I've never seen someone this excited about this! It's not like WINE hasn't been doing this kind of thing for years.

Of course, I just use OO.o, and Evolution. OpenOffice does absolutely everything I need it to, and I swear that Evolution is an exact clone of Outlook 2k. Okay, maybe not exactly, but it's so close in functionality (minus the Exchange add-in) that I've been used to, before my work switched to Office 2003. Very happy!

Re:Or use crossover office! (1)

bender647 (705126) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084827)

I use Crossover office at work with great success, but its important to note that with Crossover, you need to license Crossover Office PLUS Microsoft Office (it runs the MS binaries). Great for compatibility, poor for cost.

Re:Or use crossover office! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084841)

but it still doesn't run MSAccess...
that is one of the apps that is holding me to windows (granted its now windows in vmware on linux.... )

piss off (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084730)

you fucking slags

my vbscript still won't work

score! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084957)

that is the first troll mod i've ever gotten. yay for me!

new sig:

my vbscript still won't work

What surprised me most (4, Informative)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084737)

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.

Re:What surprised me most (3, Informative)

sommere (105088) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084828)

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.

Re:What surprised me most (1)

dspacemonkey (776615) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084853)

...but how many features does OpenOffice support that Planmaker doesn't?

Re:What surprised me most (2, Insightful)

MarkRebuck (590314) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084880)

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%."

Re:What surprised me most (3, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084977)

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? (3, Insightful)

WordODD (706788) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084740)

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.

Won't last long... (2, Offtopic)

PeteDotNu (689884) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084744)

Plenty of images on that page. I give that web server ten minutes.

You were right... (0, Offtopic)

freeze128 (544774) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084866)

It didn't last long.

Re:You were right... (1, Offtopic)

PeteDotNu (689884) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085017)

So I should be getting +3 insightful any second now...

Ehhh, gnumeric (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084748)

Surely they should be comparing this against gnumeric as well. Gnumeric opens password protected files too, and as for 3-d hyperplane plots, I've never seem them as a way for communicating information, their best use is for showing how incompatible some products can be.

MOD THIS UP +1 FUNNY!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084902)

gnumeric.... hahaha

What about Gnumeric? (4, Insightful)

ErisCalmsme (212887) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084749)

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.

Re:What about Gnumeric? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084899)

I'm all for GNU stuff, but with an ugly UI like Gnumeric Gnumeric Screenshots [gnu.org]
it can never catch on with all the suits, moms and grandmothers.

Re:What about Gnumeric? (3, Informative)

Rysc (136391) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084954)

Those screenshots are out of date. By about 6 years. Try some newer ones [gnome.org] .

Re:What about Gnumeric? (1)

tonyhill (590105) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084987)

Um, those are screenshots for an older version of gnumeric for gtk1. Here are some much more recent screenshots [gnome.org] , using gtk2.

It's really quite nice to use under gnome2.

Also, the theme of your desktop affects the appearance of every gnome2 application, so the screenshots are dependent upon the theme used in taking the screenshot.

basicly exel ported to linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084752)

hope its not "bug for bug" compatble

Not free (2, Insightful)

gspr (602968) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084755)

Since this software seems to not be free, it can't really beat OpenOffice, can it? No, it can't.

Re:Not free (1)

barthrh2 (713909) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084877)

Unless of course you want to tell your client "Well, if I wasn't so damn cheap I'd be able to see the spreadsheet you just sent me. Can you install Open Office, resave it, redo your graphs and email that back to me, please?"

Just 'cause something is free doesn't mean it's good. Looking like a clown and losing business has a cost.

Re:Not free (1)

teeker (623861) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084935)

News flash: MS Office isn't free but right now it's beating the crap out of OpenOffice. OOo is good, but the cold hard truth is that MS Office is still better in many ways...maybe (hopefully!) not forever, but simply because somebody might be making a living off a quality product does not automatically make it inferior.

Re:Not free (1)

BrianWCarver (569070) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085002)

I don't know if the original poster meant "free" or "Free" but I also can't tell if Planmaker is Free software, and so on that front it can't beat OpenOffice either.

I'd never recommend that someone trade in one proprietary spreadsheet (Excel) for another proprietary spreadsheet (Planmaker). You're not making any real progress that way. The poster above who rants about lost business having a cost is both right and wrong. He's right that lost business has a financial cost, but he seems to miss that lost freedom has a financial cost as well. When someone who switches to Planmaker finds themselves subject to vendor-lock-in or is only able to get support from a single vendor, or has their software suddenly "expire" unless they pay up, they'll realize that the enemy was never Microsoft: it was software that takes away your freedoms.

HAH (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084759)

slashdotted before the first post. maybe they ported IIS over to linux too

Gnumeric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084765)

I really like Gnumeric and found it to have a similar set of functions it support. Much faster than OpenOffice.

Google cache (5, Informative)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084766)

of the first two links:

Softmaker [66.102.7.104]
PlanMaker [66.102.7.104]

Of all the Apps to port (5, Funny)

VanWEric (700062) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:Of all the Apps to port (1)

slo (673297) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084967)

Why would you want minitab? There are more powerful stats programs on Linux. R and StatLisp to name a couple. There is also a project to implement SPSS, thought I don't know how far a long this is.

Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084775)

Lawyers start your engines!

Excel clone? Needs a cool name. (4, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084777)

I've got just the name. XXXcell

That way it will get distributed on the P2P networks a lot faster.

Crossover (5, Interesting)

Mr. McGibby (41471) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084778)

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.

What about gnumeric? (1)

cockroach2 (117475) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084790)

Why isn't it in the chart? It's way faster than OpenOffice.org and seems to work just fine.

Re:What about gnumeric? (1)

Krik Johnson (764568) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084812)

Have you tried OpenOffice 1.1.1. Its way faster that Gnumeric on my machine and more functionally complete!

Re:What about gnumeric? (1)

cockroach2 (117475) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084924)

No, haven't tried that one yet. Any performance boost (especially during startup) sounds like a great thing...

Sadly, it won't be around long (2, Troll)

spidergoat2 (715962) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084791)

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.

But what about the Macros? (4, Interesting)

Gilesx (525831) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084792)

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.

OpenOffice (1)

gfburn (670849) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084809)

What is it with OpenOffice that makes it so hard to work with MS format files?

If this software which just showed up can do a 1000 times better job, then it seems to say a lot about OpenOffice's devel team.

Only looking at graphics output biased comparison (4, Insightful)

UrbanFallout (207324) | more than 10 years ago | (#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? (4, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084816)

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.

Nice for these "benchmarks" (2, Insightful)

CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084825)

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).

Given MS's recent patent activity... (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084826)

...who really cares? They've filed for beauceaup patents on their future file formats and methods, so once the next version of MS-Office is deployed, your OO.o and other clones will be legally broken.

So, again, I ask: who fucking cares?

Don't Forget Gnumeric! (4, Informative)

Rysc (136391) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084844)

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.

Near copy of Excel? (0, Flamebait)

LordSah (185088) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084849)

Now that's innovation. Originality at its best. If only I had the ability to think up features like that.

I guess it'll probably be cheaper than Excel proper. One reason is they didn't have to pay any designers or usability experts. Thanks, Microsoft, for doing all that.

This is conjecture, as their server seems already dead.

Re:Near copy of Excel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084997)

Actually, MS stole the design and usability from Quattro Pro and Lotus 1-2-3, so thank Corel and IBM! Yes, MS truely innovates at stealing shit from others in new and unthought of ways.

Re:Near copy of Excel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085013)

But consider the effort the users put into LEARNING how to use Excel. Why should Microsoft own that? Did Microsoft pay for that?

And all the Excel documents people have already created -- why should Microsoft own those? Did Microsoft pay for those documents to be created?

What's wrong with creating software that enables people to use their own knowledge in the way that they choose?

data analysis lacking? (2, Interesting)

ecklesweb (713901) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084857)

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!

Hopefully someone can tell me I'm wrong and that these features are included.

How does OpenOffice compare in terms of data analysis? (I've <gasp> never used it).

Re:data analysis lacking? (0, Offtopic)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084990)

two words... analyze this (_|_)

(sorry, i just couldn't resist)

For PocketPC too! (4, Insightful)

xaqar (112761) | more than 10 years ago | (#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!

More innovation from open source! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084904)

Man this software is sooo innovative I've never seen anything like it before!

These open source guys are really geniuses at developing innovative software!

The old Look and Feel problem? (1)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084916)

I recall Lotus had a lawsuit against As-Easy-As or some such company. They claimed that copyright protected against keystroke compatibility, look and feel to user and file spec being identical. Will this ever surface again?

--..

Sales Pitch? (3, Insightful)

CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) | more than 10 years ago | (#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?

Yes but... (1)

FreemanPatrickHenry (317847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084956)

...does it have Clippy?

Server down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084984)

It seems to me that not only did they port Excel, they also decided to port Web Server 2003.

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