More on why Linux will win / gnumeric customer support

Posted in Hacking, Technology trends at 10:43 am by ducky

(Ooops, I wrote this a while ago and forgot to post it.)

In my recent post, Linux on the desktop, I mentioned that oocalc and/or gnumeric had let me down six months ago when I was working with an admittedly challenging spreadsheet. (It contained LOTS of obscure fonts from around the world.)

Within three days, I got a posting from one of the maintainers of gnumeric, asking me for more information. This is why Windows is doomed. I can’t imagine getting email from someone at Microsoft asking me for more information about a bug based on a posting in what is a pretty obscure blog.

Unfortunately, my problems were such that I couldn’t write a good bug report on it. (If I could have, I would have done so at the time. I consider writing bug reports one of the obligations of using open-source software.) At the time, there was a long, long delay between whatever-I-did-to-corrupt-the-file and my discovery of the corruption. My bug report would have said something like, “I worked for three hours, saving regularly, and at the end of the three hours, I discovered that my file was corrupt.” Alas, that kind of bug report is probably worse than no bug report, as the best that a triager could do is say WORKSFORME.

I did go back through my notes, and it looks like oocalc was the original offender, and that I switched to gnumeric at least briefly. I didn’t see anything in my notes that gnumeric let me down. However, I don’t see any .gnumeric files in the directory, and I would think that if gnumeric was working smoothly for me, I would have left at least some .gnumeric files around.

Note, though, that I had these troubles in November 2006, which is about 56 dog-months ago. I would be surprised if they had made no progress since I had trouble, and (to be fair!), the spreadsheet that I worked on was a very challenging one.

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