Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I need to use gnumeric's file conversion tool ssconvert on a server.

The problem is that gnumeric is a gnome application and can't be installed without a desktop installed.

There is also no separate packages for ssconvert, and I can not compile it from source code...

I need this specific conversion tool cause it can covert from Excel XML format to CSV, which I was unable to do with other excel conversion tools.

I am working on a ubuntu 12.04 server. I would appreciate any ideas.

share|improve this question

I just installed gnumerics on my Ubuntu server : it installs a lot of dependancies, such as gnome and others, which seems heavy, but you don't need to load the desktop environment to use ssconvert.

My advice is : simply install it, don't care about gnome and desktops.

share|improve this answer
I don't really know if it is a good idea to install gnome on servers... it kinda makes them slower I guess? – Martin Taleski Sep 19 '13 at 12:42
I'm reluctant to do this because I feel that anything you install introduces a potential security hole. I'd like to keep my servers as lean as possible. – Ian Phillips Feb 18 '14 at 0:38

I know you're asking specifically about ssconvert, but in my case I gave up trying to install gnumeric without the Gnome dependencies. Instead, I'm using xls2csv (which is part of the catdoc package) with the same results.

Suppose you have a source.xls file. This command:

xls2csv -s 8859-1 -d 8859-1 source.xls > destination.csv

will do the trick. The parameters -s y -d specify the source and destination charset. This example will process a source file that includes special characters such as 'ñ'. Hope this helps!

share|improve this answer
I think I have tried this one, but will not work with the XML format of excel. I still haven't found a tool that can convert from Excel XML format to CSV – Martin Taleski Jul 30 '12 at 18:45

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.