March 22, 2019

The StartX Files: Gnumeric 1.0 Proves Stable and Fast

How Gnumeric Came to Be

  • January 7, 2002
  • By Brian Proffitt

When Miguel de Icaza first developed the Gnumeric spreadsheet, it was partly done to implement a new spreadsheet and also to, in his words, "stress test" the new Canvas widget the GNOME development team was trying to integrate into the overall project.

It has been three years and 11 days between the release of Gnumeric 0.4 and Gnumeric 1.0.0. Along the way, this application has grown in stability and popularity as it became intimately associated not only with GNOME, but with Linux itself.

"Going to need a spreadsheet?" my Linux gurus would tell me, "Then you should try Gnumeric."

Over and over this recommendation would come to me, and many times I would heed it. There would be times, of course, when I would try something new, for professional or personal sake. Calc held me for a long time, since it was familiar to me. But I always came back to Gnumeric.

In truth, Gnumeric was the first desktop application I ever used in Linux that gave me a clear sign that not all good apps have to be on a Windows platform. In my formative years on Linux, it was the one thing I could point to and say "see? Excel is not the be-all end-all. Nor is Lotus."

Yes, there were problems. Early on, stability was a huge issue. If you weren't careful, Gnumeric would just up and die for no apparent reason other than you breathed on the keyboard wrong.

But Gnumeric has always had a high priority in the GNOME Project, and bugs reported were bugs that were fixed -- and stayed fixed.

The development history of Gnumeric has been pretty steady over the last three years, until this past December, when the 0.99 releases were announced. It was time, it seemed, to discontinue the .xx releases and move Gnumeric to a new level.

But is Gnumeric 1.0.0 just a window-dressing version label? Or has the Gnumeric development team, led by Jody Goldberg, managed to bring us something the deserves the moniker "major release"?

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