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I am a Linux user, and taking an investment and portfolio management course that uses excel. I was wondering if there are open source alternatives to excel for optimal portfolio calculations? If yes, are they used basically the same way as excel?

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    $\begingroup$ You know something, it looks absolutely dreadful when you ask almost a thousand questions and basically provide no answers. Did the immediate closure of your last question teach you nothing? I'm going to leave this one open just out of morbid curiosity for how the community responds. $\endgroup$ – chrisaycock Sep 16 '11 at 4:59
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    $\begingroup$ @chris: I don't think your comment is appropriate. Your opinion on my answers/questions has nothing to do with this question. Your pointing to my previous question has nothing to do with this question either. $\endgroup$ – Tim Sep 16 '11 at 5:23
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    $\begingroup$ While I don't agree with @chrisaycock's tone (please be nicer to the newbies) your question is, unfortunately, off topic here. No self respecting quant uses excel to get work done, maybe they use it as a front emd for traders/PMs, but if you haven't used anything other than excel, you're probably not (yet) a quant. But please come back and ask questions once you have gained sufficient knowledge for your questions to be on-topic. $\endgroup$ – Tal Fishman Sep 16 '11 at 9:39
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    $\begingroup$ @chrisaycock those are all valid additional reasons to close this question (and maybe you should vote to close, as you'd be the fifth so it wouldn't be like your moderator privileges added anything), but there's just a nicer way to say these things sometimes. $\endgroup$ – Tal Fishman Sep 16 '11 at 14:24
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    $\begingroup$ @chris: You are pretty much a person based your own reasoning on imagination. Look out your phrasing: "refused", "the sheer arrogance", "skirt his education" ... Where did you get all these? The strong hatred in your heart? $\endgroup$ – Tim Sep 16 '11 at 15:05
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One answer is to use R (see the Finance taskview http://cran.r-project.org/web/views/Finance.html ). In this case it does not work like Excel (and that's a good thing).

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You can try CrossOver Office or LibreOffice/OpenOffice Calc. And let me qualify that with: Don't go down the LibreOffice road, you run in al sorts of issues such as rounding errors and that one missing function and you will not get any support from your professor.

On a personal note: During college I preferred to dual boot or use a VM.

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