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Old 12-01-2004, 03:31 AM   #1
adamis
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Why is charting in spreadsheets so poor?


As an engineering student I do a lot of charting and if there is one thing I get yelled at by all of my windows friends it's the poor charting abilities of the current spreadsheets out there for linux.

Ooffice is an awesome spreadsheet but it's charting abilities are dismal at best and really just downright terrible at worst. Sure it will do one series but if you need multiple series that don't have the same x values on a graph it doesn't work. I've followed a little bit about a new charting project that is being worked on for ooffice but little has been said about what it will do and why it's going to be better or even when it will be implemented if at all.

I've used Gnumeric quite extensively and it's charting is better, it at least allows for multiple series but there isn't to many options on how to format the chart (axis labels and the legend in particular...)

I've looked a little bit at kspread but whenever I open my project file from gnumeric that was saved in excel file format kspread chokes, all of the formatting is incorrect and cells are all black. The charting abilities look pretty similair to gnumeric so no help there...

So, the question is, why is charting so hard to get a good implentation of? I know there are programs like gnuplot that are specific to just plots but I need something in the spreadsheet itself. Say what you will about Microsoft but at least the spreadsheet charting abilities are decent.

Are there any work arounds, programs in development or available for free that can really do charting?

 
Old 12-01-2004, 04:45 AM   #2
b0uncer
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sure - if you're ready to pay, cry and yell, use windows...the other option is to run MS office through Wine, on Linux. if you're so unsatisfied..
 
Old 12-02-2004, 02:19 PM   #3
adamis
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Sheeshk, Almost sorry I asked. Yes, I know I could go back to windows (shudder...) or use wine (most likely solution...). The point of my question is why is something that is so vital to science and academic institutions lacking when it would seem that these institutions are some of the bigger supporters of Linux. The charting abilities in gnumeric or ooffice available today don't even match the charting abilities of Excel 2000, a program that is 5 years old. The rest of these suites are excellent, at least for my purposes.

Now, I know if I was a programmer I would have the option of fixing this issue, but alas I am not. So people like myself reley on the good graces of people who know how to write code and take this stuff on either in their spare time as a hobby or perhaps at work. I don't want to come off as sounding ungrateful for all of the hardwork people have done to futhure the Linux community and build a really awesome platform. I would just like to know if there are solutions that i'm unaware of or if people who are working on gnumeric or ooffice reckognize this one shortcoming and are possibly working on it.
 
Old 12-02-2004, 04:33 PM   #4
winsnomore
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I am not 100% sure of the historic trail of open office, but sun put it in the open source and then took it back in, now there are 3 .. open office, star office (for windows I think) and koffice. I checked kde and they are doing their own excel development.

In short office suites are balkanized and I think sun is probably partially responsible for it !!!

I think it will be a while before linux suites catch up . actually it's surprising that if you check the section on what software you would like to be ported, I think less than 2% of folks wanted ms-office like features fixed.
thinking a) it was already done or b) they don't care .. demands were mostly for dreamweaver, games and some other doodah's. Tells you something about the users that are playing with it.

Linux is still largely a server side story, desktop is getting better, but there are plenty pitfalls and nightmares.

Wine with ms-office doesn't work. Developers of wine have a "paying project" codeweaver and they offer crossover office for about $40 .. it's probably not a bad idea to pick up an old copy of office for $20-30 and use crossover and keep going !!! MSoffice even 97 version is pretty good :-))

Linux is still behind in getting a lot of things working, Mp3 is only available on mandrake (others use a non-licensed version I think) . some drivers are missing (nVidia has been a slow development) .. and there are slew of issues of getting consistent flavor working. Games are particularly missing, so are a host of simple windows applications !!.

I know I am not adding much to your question but sort of letting you know what I found out in the last 6 months.
 
Old 12-02-2004, 05:39 PM   #5
otoomet
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R (www.r-project.org) has superb graphics. It is a matrix-oriented programming language and you cannot make pretty graphs in command-driven way there. But it is not so difficult either. I would recommend to save the data in a spreadheet and then do the drawings in R. There is also a R module for gnumeric but I don't know whether it is usable. I'm doing everything just with R.

Best

Ott
 
Old 12-03-2004, 09:25 AM   #6
mhearn
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Actually, Office XP does work with Wine, I run it just fine. Yes CrossOver is easier though.
 
Old 12-03-2004, 12:36 PM   #7
adamis
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Well, I looked at a prerelease of openoffice 2.0 and found that there is improved charting abilities in the next version. The interface is still the same bulky method for creating charts but it now allows for multiple series and that is my greatest complaint at the moment. Look's like I'll be eagerlly waiting the next release of open office so I can make some half decent charts.

One thing I have noticed though is it is a touch slow compared to the 1.3 series. If I compiled from the source code would it possibly speed this up a bit?
 
Old 12-03-2004, 11:32 PM   #8
winsnomore
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mhearn can you fill me in how are you doing it ?


I have my copy of XP pro installed on PC and MS won't enable two installs and I can't use that.
So I have tried using my office 2000 (pro and small biz) editions and install fails.

I am running Wine 2004716 (I guess than means July 16/04 version) under Debian 2.6.8.1
 
  


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