RF Cafe visitor Graham Seale graciously tested version of
RF Cascade Workbook 2005
that was ported to
OpenOffice.org in a couple different Linux OS configurations. This is the first time anyone has reported running
RF Cascade Workbook in Linux, so I greatly appreciate Graham's contribution.
Since Graham is the expert, I
will just present the text and screen shots that he provided. Larger versions of the screens can be viewed by
clicking on the images.
Links are provided to most of the programs that he mentions. Linux aficionados probably have them al
A couple people have run RF Cascade Workbook under the Mac OS X both in Microsoft Excel
for Mac and OpenOffice.
If anyone else has experience in other environments, I would appreciate feedback on
them as well.
RF Cascade Workbook 2005 Linux Ubuntu Intrepid - Gnumeric
July 6, 2009
I have tried out the RF Cascade Workbook 2005 in a popular
Linux Distribution called
Ubuntu 9.04 known as "Intrepid", simply by opening the
Gnumeric spreadsheet application, and doing
appears to work OK!
On first opening, there is a startup error message (see attached screenshot) , but on
clicking "Close", the rest of the spreadsheet seems to display everything you would expect. I expect the Gnumeric
community would be able to take care of the start message quite quickly.
I have attached a couple of
screenshots. Forgive that the first one is a bit large, being as I fumbled the thing and got a whole screenshot
instead of just the region.
I should stress that this was a casual - even slapdash tryout. Gnumeric can
accept all the .xls and other common extensions. I have Sun's
suite on a different partition, I will let you know what happens when RF Cascade Workbook is offered there.
spreadsheet applications used on Linux systems are bundled with the chosen desktop. For example, in
KOffice with a KDE desktop. The desktop in
the picture is a default Gnome desktop figured with 6 virtual screens to slide stuff into. if you are not a
regular Linux user, I recognise that some of these desktops might seem a bit strange to you. There are several
hundred Linux distributions, of which maybe 20 or 30 are mainstream, and all very different from each other. A
great variety of choice, and any can then be tweaked to suit the user.
For me, the little package manager
icon allows me to just take my pick of software I may need, and seconds later - its in and running. I am much more
of a applications user than a programmer.
RF Cascade Workbook 2005 Linux Debian - OOo.org Calc
Hello again Kirt.
time, you get the real deal. I attach a picture of 2 instances of RF Cascade Workbook running in Open Office 3,
this time in a Linux Debian distribution, and using the KDE
type desktop. It just runs without any problem, provided one allows the macros to be enabled at startup. It also
runs in a bleeding edge (unstable!) Debian variant called Sidux. I
suspect it will "just work" in any Linux, Unix platform running BSD or
Solaris. Gnumeric and Open Office come built-in
available with all the industrial-strength commercial distributions (Red
Hat Enterprise Linux, Mandriva, Novell's
Linux is obsessive about security. The
firewalls want to find your digitally signed certificate on the trusted public keyring. Having a small text file
with the MD5 checksum in it is also appreciated. The Excel version will also "just work". There are loads of folk
out there making sure of it.
know I am thumping the tub about all this open source software, but being a bit cash-strapped once, I got oh
so..oo tempted. Now, I keep an whole XP in a Virtualbox for when I absolutely do need Windows. That is the little
box icon with the 3 blue sides. It takes 1GB of the 2.5GB memory available, and runs at very nearly native speed.
When any engineer is shown a repository with nearly 22GB of open source software in it, including full featured
Spice simulators, EDA design Suite with PCB layout, right up to VHDL and FPGA's, Finite Element analysis,
Chemistry, Physics, Mechanics, its easy to get distracted in.
Enough with the plug. I do not have a any
second agenda here. It just is what it is. I do know that adventurous users can get turned off very quickly by
something unfamiliar, and will rapidly get dismissive if they hit a stumble - even if its the same one they would
have hit in Windows. Almost nobody has to "install" Windows from scratch - ever. That is why the Linux community
had to work so hard to make the install experience very easy. Sidux
installs in under 7 minutes on my box. Most boot up to fully working, (no hourglass) in under 30 seconds. That
blue "Phi" icon next to the calculator is "Freemat", a
full featured open source replacement for MatLab. You can tell how I got seduced by this lot!
You have my
permission to use any of this in any way you please. Just keep in mind that a newbie introduction has to be
gentle, yet mixed with expectations that get honoured with surprise and delight, and yet still able to see the
problems when they arise. One thing about open source is .. its so open, its brutal! A dirty laundry bug does not
get fixed hiding in the skirts of an "update".
* * * * * 7/14/2009 * * * *
More from Graham in response to my stating that I plan to do some experimentation with Linux -
which, admittedly, I have not done yet:
Oh Wow! its on your site. I feel Almost Famous
(though not quite in the sense of that movie of the same name starring Kate Hudson!) Here are some hints. You
don't have to "make the jump". Have the best of both worlds. I still use Windows .. sometimes :|
safe way to get a feel for using Linux. If you like, I can try and help you here. It is possible to play all you
want, comparing all the choices, by using LiveCDs. They don't touch the computer drive or setup at all, and when
you switch off, it all evaporates to nothing. I have some recent distributions given away with Linux user
magazine, which I could post to you, but I think its far more efficient if you download from the choice at
www.distrowatch.com, or maybe just read up a bit and get it
from the sites.
The key move is setting up the boot order priority to be CDROM first, maybe then USB, then
the hard drive. Many folk carry an entire Linux OS along with all their secure financial data, emails, etc. on a
encrypted bootable USB memory stick which they can use in any PC.
You can even purchase a memory stick
with an entire installation all set up already, at a price pretty much the same as a new empty USB stick. Only
need to plug into a USB, and boot the computer (with choices set to include boot from USB).
It loads up and
runs from the RAM, and hence is extremely fast once the applications initially load. If you like the LiveCD, there
is then the option to install it on a fully hard drive.
For some no-holds barred biased opinions, read the
rants page from
For a newcomer, the choice is
Ubuntu, for me followed by an immediate configure to change the dusky brown theme to cool blues :) Linux can be
installed on its own partition on a hard drive, or on a second drive, which actually looks like just any other
partition, or even in a big file within a Windows system, or in a Virtualbox. Easily the best and safest from
one's own fumbles is to find a seperate machine to give over to it. Most new folk start by letting it be on a
"retired" machine. The the next time they install, its usually on the best machine. Truly, it does not matter if
one screws it up in a right Royal fashion. You can have another one up in minutes. Simply keep a separate data
partition for your own stuff. Everything else is allowed to be trashed whenever the mood for a change takes your
For security, Windows is feeble compared to Linux. You will have noticed by now that you use
forward slashes when digging around the internet. This lets you know that nearly all the secure servers out there
are in a UNIX environment, mostly driven by Linux. All the world's supercomputers .. well you get the idea.
I can try and lead you safely into having a play with Linux. If you are nervous, then by all means unplug the PC
hard drive, and substitute another drive you don't mind messing about with. If possible, use a modern PC with some
clout. Linux kernels come ready to exploit multi-threading on multiple processor CPUs like Core2Duos and Quads,
and AMD's Phenoms etc.
You can get Linux for free here
http://www.ubuntu.com/. If fact, from that same site, they will
send you a install CD for free if you ask for it. In meddling with any of these, be aware that only modern
hardware, particularly monitors, are easily detected automatically. Older hardware stays anonymous. Otherwise, you
end up with a default low resolution screen suited to older hardware, and you have to actually configure it to
know your max resolution before it gets the choice of displays. Most installers will just automatically find your
hardware, network connection, WiFi, whatever.
Another safe way to try out Linux is to use Virtualbox.
It comes free from here
http://www.virtualbox.org/ You can install and run any
installation as a guest in the Windows host. I do it the other way around. I have even seen a Vista being tried
out in a XP! This trick does require enough memory for the host as well as the guests. The ISP's love it because
you can run 8 or 16 servers simultaneously in one hardware.
For some fun, yet illustrating how easy it is
to get together 180+ GFlops 24CPU 48GB Linux monster for about the price of a single high end PC, check out what
this fellow did.
the best buzz is discovering the Add/Remove menu. Be warned that it can be a serious distraction. You just HAVE to
let it be a plaything until you absorb a culture shock. I still keep it that Windows is double-click stuff, and I
set Linux to be single-click, just to keep them different. in this game, you have a shopping list sorted into
categories. Check the choice(s), and seconds or minutes later, its there. The difference is, this shopping list
does not have a checkout cart needing a credit card.
- the picture [to the right], taken last winter, is of my pals Paul, (another) Graham, and Dave - and of course,
the thing we just built. :) Also, a menu, to evoke some emotion.
* * * * * 7/14/2009 * * * * * *