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Thanks for your reply and for the articles you linked to – especially the last one is very interesting. I have been aware of that but not so well explained.

As I think you are very cunny both on spreadsheets and how to use them and also the mathematics, I am not able to argue.

But I am sure you know what I meant when I said that a spreadsheet is ‘totally’ worthless if you cannot trust it, if it -- the program, its features or functions -- does not work (behave) as supposed.

As an engineer I have been working with MSExcel since late 1980 and have since 10 years successively began to use OO/LO.

I’ve always tried to crosscheck important calculations and with calculation processes start with some few (random or logical) sample data and/or manual calcs to be sure that the formulas (& combinations of) work OK.

Whatever people say about Microsoft, I must say that I have never experienced any problems caused by the program MSExcel itself (perhaps I’ve been lucky) – all my problems have been caused by my typos or my bad planning of the calculation process.

But, especially with LibreOffice/Calc I have experienced issues that clearly depend on LO as a program and have caused me a lot of extra doings – the last couple of years LO has become better.

Regarding the articles. If the programming of the "very big" programs is purchased from a "third party" where the programmer -- the person -- does not have no own knowledge (understanding) about the customer's process, then it is an unavoidable necessity that there will be flaws and serious issues -- regarless of branch.

Anyhow, the fact is that Microsoft has a 90 percent market share and every MSO suite includes MSExcel.

Above this are e.g. AOO/OO/LOwith roughly 2 mega spreadsheet users and their applications.

That means that quite a lot of – some very important -- calculations are globally done with these MSO&AOO&OO&LO (..etc..) spreadsheets.

If the spreadsheets are that unreliable as these articles (and you) explain, should it not then be good - if not a necessity – to warn about it? Experts and “nerds” can manage but not ordinary users like me.

I like LibreOffice and respect its intensions and thus I want it to be better.

If LO really wants to increase its market share – to beat MSO, a benefit for all users – then it has to eliminate every possible cause of problems especially for the ‘ordinary user’ -- even the small ones like that sorting issue.

The ordinary user selects a range and pushes the sort button -- if the sort does not behave as expected, and there is no explanation why or how and the help is too difficult to find -- then he/she considers this a problem.
Too many problems is not good for LO.

It is the mass of ‘ordinary users’ that build most of the MSO’s market share.

The main and final responsibility lies – not on the (unpaid) programmer -- but on the controlling team in the LO organization. It is better to fix problems at a stage of planning and production than after a global distribution(ref. to Quality Management Systems).

regards Pertti Rönnberg

On 27.3.2015 15:25, Brian Barker wrote:
At 12:38 27/03/2015 +0200, Pertti Rönnberg wrote:
A spreadsheet program that cannot be fully trusted is totally worthless!!

It's perhaps worth a reminder that, in the sense that you mean it, spreadsheets can never be "trusted". Since much of their essential functionality is hidden (formulae, formatting, significant options) and they are untestable, you should never rely on the results of a spreadsheet. Your judgement, then (but not mine) is that spreadsheet programs generally are "totally worthless".

See, for example: "I will happily use a spreadsheet to estimate the grades of my students, my retirement savings, or how much tax I paid last year… but I will not use Microsoft Excel to run a bank or to compute the trajectory of the space shuttle. Spreadsheets are convenient but error prone."
"But while Excel the program is reasonably robust, the spreadsheets that people create with Excel are incredibly fragile." "Among those who study spreadsheet use, it is widely accepted that errors are prevalent in operational spreadsheets and that errors can lead to poor decisions and cost millions of dollars." "Panko summarized this literature by reporting that 94% of spreadsheets have errors, with an average cell error rate of 5.2%."

Brian Barker

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