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RF Cascade Workbook 2005 Running Under Linux

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 bookmarked already.

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 Spreadsheet

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 Drag-'n-Drop.

RF Cascade Workbook 2005 in a popular Linux Distribution called Ubuntu 9.04 known as "Intrepid", in Gnumeric spreadsheet application - RF CafeIt 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 Open Office suite on a different partition, I will let you know what happens when RF Cascade Workbook is offered there.

RF Cascade Workbook 2005 in a popular Linux Distribution called Ubuntu 9.04 known as "Intrepid", in Gnumeric spreadsheet application - RF CafeSome 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 Spreadsheet

Hello again Kirt.

RF Cascade Workbook 2005 in Open Office 3, this time in a Linux Debian distribution using the KDE type desktop - RF CafeThis 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 SUSE)

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.

RF Cascade Workbook in VirtualBox - RF CafeI 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:

Hi Kirt

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 :|

Regarding 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 www.techiemoe.com.

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 fancy.

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 https://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 https://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.


RF Cafe: Add/Remove menuEasily 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.

RF Cafe: Graham's antenna projectFinally - 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.

My regards


* * * * * 7/14/2009 * * * * * *

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