ssconvert: An awful lot of baggage

This is another of those “obligatory” posts, that don’t make much sense in the wider discussion of console software.

ssconvert is a tool that is bundled with gnumeric, the graphical spreadsheet tool that is occasionally touted as a lightweight alternative to the OpenOffice (LibreOffice? I forget what it’s called these days … I don’t use it, as you can tell) suite.

And it’s true, ssconvert will — given the chance and a proper set of flags — convert into and out of gnumeric format without the need to load up X, start the desktop arena, open Gnumeric, open the file, hit “Save as,” pick a format and click on OK.


“At what cost?” is the question you should probably be asking. As far as I know, ssconvert doesn’t get bundled by itself (I’m speaking for Arch and Debian, neither of which seems to have an “ssconvert” package on its own, or even a collection on nongraphical tools from the gnumeric suite).

On top of that, the Arch version by default pulls in some Gnome-esque dependencies — like gtk3, polkit and dconf. Those are usually warning signs for me. My skin crawls at the sight of them. (And I should add, they take up about 184Mb on my machine. That’s rather large.)

So yes, it’s true, there is a command-line tool that will convert spreadsheet formats, primarily intended for gnumeric, and with a good measure of flexibility. 😐

The downside is, it comes with an aaawful lot of baggage. 😕

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