Relay-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
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From: ian@utcsstat.UUCP (Ian F. Darwin, Toronto, Canada <email@example.com>)
Subject: Summary of Spreadsheet Packages
Date: Mon, 3-Oct-83 00:12:06 EDT
Posted: Mon Oct 3 00:12:06 1983
Date-Received: Mon, 3-Oct-83 01:33:35 EDT
Organization: U. of Toronto, Canada
>From: Ian F. Darwin, U of Toronto Computing Services
The following is a summary of what I know at present about spreadsheet
packages available on UNIX. This is a revision/summary of a query
sent out to the net. My comments are in  brackets. Thanks to
those who responded.
It's interesting to note that there is a full order of magnitude
difference in price from the lowest (not counting the public-domain
spreadsheet) to the highest - $149 to well over $1500. I haven't
used many of these, so I can't say if there's an order of magnitude
difference in performance.
Here's my summary of the major UNIX-operant spreadsheets:
Name Supplier Cost Type of report
SC James Gosling public availability (2 reports)
VC Software Innovation 149 Vendor report
Suncalc Stanford 950 availability
LogiPlan LogiTech 1750 press release
ViewComp UNICORP 400-800 User report
Multiplan Microsoft ? <no reports yet>
CALC-11 Computer Systems Corp $2500 <info from an advert.>
C-Calc Digitec Software $3700(VAX) <info from their brochure>
Please: if you have user experience with any of these, let me know.
The summary will be posted every two months just so people don't
keep asking on the net. Two month seems like about the right interval
to catch most of the new people who come on the net without offending
those who've been on for a while....
[------------------------------ SC ------------------------]
Do you mean spreadsheet calculators? James Gosling has one he's put
into the public domain. The name is "sc".
[Furuta included the man page, which I have edited out - this is a summary.]
>From: Jim Rees <uw-beaver!jim>
James Gosling at CMU (of Unix emacs fame) has written a spreadsheet
program for Unix. It is not a commercial product, so it is probably
not as fancy as you would like, but it is in the public domain and the
source is available.
[Summary of SC: It's available (send mail to utcsstat!ian and I'll
give you the sources). It works on Vaxen. It doesn't work on PDP-11's
without minor changes. My hacked version is
also available. I run it on an 11/23 with fairly standard V7.]
[--------------------------- VC --------------------------]
This is Software Innovations, Inc. We provide vc for Unix v7, sIII, 2.8bsd,
and 4.1bsd. You may reach us at decvax!ittvax!sii!wje or at (603)-883-9300.
[Software Innovations, 440 Amherst St, Nashua NH 03603, U.S.A.]
Send your USmail address if you would like more information.
Bill Ezell (wje)
Bill Ezell didn't tell you what I think is important
about our product--it costs only $149, no matter what
kind of machine customers use it on.
-David Dick (decvax!sii!drd)
[------------------------- Suncalc ----------------------------]
We just got a program from Stanford called "Suncalc." As I am not familiar
with Visicalc (or other Visi-clones), I can't comment on the differences, if
any. I can say that it works (on VAX 4.1bsd); underlining is slightly buggy
on my hp2621, but this is very minor. [The normal price is $950, but
there's a trial offer (which may be limited to members of the Stanford
Computer Forum).] If you want more information, write or call:
Software Distribution Center
Office of Technology Licensing
105 Encina Hall
Stanford, CA 94305
Dan Lorenzini Philips Laboratories philabs!dal (914) 945-6236
[------------------------- LogiPlan ---------------------------]
[Press release, Jan 3/83, from LogiTech Inc., 165 University Ave,
Palo Alto CA 94301, 415-326-3885. Contact: Debora Meredith.
"LogiPlan offers the user features not found on other electronic
spreadsheet packages. With LogiPlan, the user can:
- integrate into a timesharing environment [what?]
- temporarily suspend execution to access other features
of the system (the editor, for example) [shell escapes(?)]
- interface with Scribe, the text formatting system[...]
- interface with the Logitech Mouse (on any terminal with
the standard RS232-C port), the most versatile cursor-
mover yet developed;
- enlarge, with no limitation, the size of the worksheet.
- split the screen into 9 windows;
- tailor the program to suit the immediate environment;
- set precision for numbers.
In addition, LogiPlan is available in both French and Italian."
[They go on to say that LogiPlan is a descendant of SunCalc.]
"Logitech, ever on the lookout for a good thing, not only acquired
the SunCalc source code, but hired Meredith[one of the authors]
upon her graduation [from Stanford]".
"To arrange a free demonstration simply call Joy at (415)326-3885."
[If you do, please let me know how you react to it. Thanks]
[---------------------------- ViewComp --------------------------]
[...] ViewComp, a program sold by Unisoft, Inc., 303 West 42nd St.
New York, NY 10036. Phone 212/307-6800. [Now called UNICORP.] Prices range
from $400 to $800, depending on the system it is to be run on (PDP-11,
Onyx, Dual, Zilog, or VAX). We have been using it for several months and
are pleased with it. The first release had several bugs, but the most
recent release has taken care of them and the company has been good
about responding to our queries.
Mailen Kootsey, Duke Univ. Physiology/Computer Science duke!phs!jmk
[Ed note: they also offer a version for the PLEXUS UNIX system.]
[-------------------- Multiplan ------------------------------]
It's available for UNIX, but I've not yet heard from anybody
who's using it. The vendor is Microsoft.
[-------------------------- CALC-11: -------------------------]
I found your "Spreadsheet Summary Vol2" very interesting. Thanks.
I am interested in getting a spreadsheet type program.
You mentioned that "SC" was in the public domain. Do you know of anyone at
Bell Labs who has a copy?
I have some more information on another spreadsheet like program.
Computer Systems Corp.
5540 Rock Hampton Court
Indianapolis IN. 46268
has a spreadsheet type program. It is called "CALC-11" and was
described in "The DEC Professional" Vol 1 No 3, pg 6 and advertised on pg 31.
I talked to Dave Tortora of Computer Sysstems and he told me that they have
contracted with Unique Computer of Chicago to do the UNIX (TM) implementaion of
the program. Currently it runs only on DEC type terminals (VT 100, VT 52 etc).
Frank Myers, Rm 1E355, Bell Labs, 6200 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio
(614) 860 2232
[They advertised in Hardcopy, Jan 83, that it is available on UNIX as well
as most DEC PDP-11 oses. Price in the ad is $2500. Special features include
"File encryption, 3-D spreadsheet, access to non CALC-11 files,
Command acess by cell, row, column, block of cells or ALL, variable
individual column width, large matrix definition,... high quality
documentation with user tutorials, technically sound, reasonably priced
[the second-most expensive of the lot so far] and easy to use".]
[--------------------- C-Calc ---------------------------------------]
"State of the art... User-friendly... ON-LINE HELP..." from their
brochure. They have a no-cost 24-hour dial-up demo - phone 206-223-7356,
User CDEMO, current password FUN, autobaud 300/1200. Try it for
yourself, also online are pricing, general info, etc.
Written in C, ported to RSTS/E, RSX, VMESS, "VAX/UNIX"
(presumably 4.nBSD). "will soon be available for: RT-11, IAS, TOPS 20,
UNIX 11, CM/CMS (IBM), GCOS (Honeywell) and many more". License fee
($3700 for VAX/UNIX, VMS; 2700 for RSTS/E, RSX-11(M/Plus); RT-11 will
be $1750.) includes year's maintenance, etc. Unfortunately,
the features list is too long for my tired fingers to type in.
Max active cells 441,600, max 64 char/cell, max worksheet size
600 columns x 736 rows, max 255 labels/spreadsheet. It's big.
Contact Digitech, 14125 108th Ave NE, Kirkland WA 98033, or phone
206-821-7507, ask for literature.
[--------------------- End of Spreadsheet Summary -------------------]
>From uucp Tue Jun 21 08:28:15 1983
>From utzoo!decvax!randvax!uscvax!flon Tue Jun 21 08:25:15 1983 remote from utcsrgv
Date: 10 Jun 1983 22:38-PDT
Subject: yet another spreadsheet program for unix
Received: by DECVAX.UUCP (3.326/3.14)
id AA06208; 15 Jun 83 18:09:14 EDT (Wed)
Q-calc is an electronic spreadsheet program developed by
Quality Software Products Company. It currently runs on
VAXen under 4.1bsd and System III, and 11/70's under System III.
Q-calc includes many important extensions over the traditional
VisiCalc, SuperCalc, Multiplan spreadsheets. These include:
-- push/pop access to the shell
-- ability to read data from files or pipes into the spreadsheet
-- ability to filter data from the spreadsheet through arbitrary
commands (like sort) and user programs, and back to the
-- ability to format fields individually, by column, or globally
-- ability to create up to 16 windows, mixed vertical/horizontal
-- complete dependency-based recalculation (no need for "!")
-- memory protection
-- extensive help facility, with help windows
-- runs through termcap, hence supports an infinity of terminals
-- and more
Q-calc is currently in beta test at several major companies in Southern
California, and will be available to the public in the very near future.
Its price is only $550 per cpu.
Send postal mail inquiries to
Quality Software Products Company
348 South Clark Drive
Beverly Hills, California
or contact them through me at flon%usc-cse@usc-ecl or
[------------------------- Miscellany --------------------------------]
>From utcsrgv!utzoo!linus!cca!cfh Wed Dec 31 19:00:00 1969
The summary doesn't mention one important difference among the
spreadsheets: the style of terminal interface. The
spreadsheets we have grown to love on microcomputers usually
have a screen editor approach where one moves a cursor on the
screen with single button pushes, entering and changing values
at the cursor location. On Unix, this requires use of raw mode
and (if at all general) termcap. Some of the unix spreadsheet
programs do this. Others (such as vc) use a simpler (and ugly)
approach where one enters new values by typing strings such as
"r6c2: 20" to put the value 20 in row 6, column 2. If
spreadsheet programs had started this way they never would have
For a while Human Computing Resources (HCR) in Toronto was
offering Multiplan. According to their president, they
withdrew it from the market due to a lack of cooperation and
support from Microsoft. (They couldn't get the source code,
among other things.)
If someone knows of a Unix spreadsheet that ran under 4.2BSD
and used raw mode and termcap, please let me know.
Thanks for pointing out this deficiency in my survey. I will attempt to
consolidate the information you want. In the meantime, the
public-domain spreAdsheet SC does in fact use termcap and raw/cbreak to
get fairly reasonable screen updating. The r4c5 constructs are
occasionally visible, but there's a keystroke command to insert the
name of the pointed-to cell in an equation, so it's not bad at all.
HCR has in fact dropped Multiplan. No replacement in sight. No real
support on UNIX in sight for Multiplan, either.
Thanks, & keep in touch.
Ian Darwin, Toronto.
cfv Wed Dec 31 19:00:00 1969
Posting-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site packet.UUCP
Subject: Re: Want spread sheet program
Here at my site we used for a short while the 'sc' program distributed over
net.sources a while back. It had some ugly bugs and some serious limitations
that quickly put it onto the shelf.
We recently bought a spreadsheet called 'ViewComp' from Unisoft [actually
UniCorp; the name was changed due to a collision with UniSoft of Berkeley]
of New York. It cost us $800 for a binary license for 4.1Bsd. It installed
exactly as their instructions told me to, and worked the first time. It ran
the tutorials exactly as they were documented. Everything in it that I have
used works without bugs. The documentation (marked 'Preliminary' in large
clear letters) puts 99.9999999999999% of Unix documentation to shame (hint
to Unix documentation writers). I no longer know what I did without it.
Our company has been using Supercalc on micros for a while. In comparison with
Supercalc I don't think it is quite as easy to use, but it does have a very
comparable command set and functionality. It uses termcap, so it will work
with any terminal with a minimal set of cursor functions.
There a few things I would like. The documentation has no page numbers or
index (typeset [using] Unix, of course). That means I have to thumb a lot to
find something. There are a few missing things that I would like that I have
been told will probably be in the upcoming upgrade. The company is very
quick to responed to comments and questions, and their Hot line people are
Very knowledgeable. I can't recommend this product enough. And for $800,
you really can't lose!