Gnumeric 1.10 Release Brings Better Tools

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 15, 2010

It's been just over two years since the last stable release, but the Gnumeric team is still going strong. The project has a new stable series 1.10.x. This release removes the 65,536 row restriction on spreadsheets and includes many new functions, better OpenDocument Format (ODF) support, new statistical analysis tools, and a new utility for searching spreadsheet files.

Gnumeric is part of the loosely joined GNOME Office productivity tools, which also includes the AbiWord word processor and Evolution email and groupware suite. The 1.10.x series started life nearly two years ago in May 2008 with the 1.9.0 release.

Though it may not mean much for most users, this release marks a breakthrough of sorts for Gnumeric by removing the restriction of 65,536 rows for a spreadsheet. If you're looking to work with ridiculously large spreadsheets, Gnumeric may be the right tool for you.

If you need to search spreadsheets for information, the ssgrep utility included with Gnumeric 1.10 may be of interest. Similar to the grep utility, ssgrep will search through spreadsheets for arbitrary strings. It handles any spreadsheet format supported by Gnumeric, including the native Gnumeric format, ODF, and Microsoft Excel.

Even though the release notes point up ODF improvements, they also indicate some dissatisfaction with ODF. Despite support for ODF, Morten Welinder says that the syntax and semantics of ODF lack definition — something that's been missing for five years:

As far as spreadsheets are concerned, the OpenDocument Standard v1.0 is the equivalent of giving precise punctuation rules for sentences without telling if it is for English, German, French, or something else.

It's disappointing that, despite a common format, users might find it easier to share spreadsheets between Gnumeric and OpenOffice.org using Microsoft Excel format.

The rest is all good news, though. Users will find plenty of improvements in Gnumeric 1.10, including better graphs with new plot types, about 40 new functions, and performance improvements for larger spreadsheets. Get the source over on the GNOME Website.

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years covering IT. Formerly the openSUSE Community Manager for Novell, Brockmeier has written for Linux Magazine, Sys Admin, Linux Pro Magazine, IBM developerWorks, Linux.com, CIO.com, Linux Weekly News, ZDNet, and many other publications.