This post chronicles my attempts to install Microsoft Office on my linux box in the office in order be able to read and possibly edit files that people send to me in Microsoft formats. I now think that given third party format supported by Microsoft Office (particularly sun's odf plugin) and the difficulties I encountered, installing it should not have priority for me.
My professor finally has the odf import/export extensions to Microsoft Office installed, so we can use open document format to exchange files.
Ok, WTF! So, why not? (carnal weakness)
It's a long time ago since I used any Microsoft application on a computer at work. I use OpenOffice if I have to (to collaboratively edit texts with my supervisors) or use latex, which usually gives visually better results. Now what to tell your boss if he says "You can't edit the template of my presentation? Oh, the problem is that you don't have Powerpoint!"
I didn't want to go into explanations for the xth time that the problem was the proprietory format of Powerpoint. Stupid me, instead I promised to install some version of Microsoft Office (we have licenses of 2007). Sometimes you get into problems with OpenOffice and I thought an installation of Microsoft Office might help me to open and change some files that are incompatible with OpenOffice.
My professor had asked me to install him Linux for Windows (something like wubi, ubuntu under windows), so I guess that would be a quid pro quo.
Although there have been stories on slashdot detailing the ease of installation, these seemed rather hyped. At the time of writing, a bug in the wine, the linux windows emulator, do not make it pleasurable to use Microsoft Office on linux.
I run Ubuntu 8.10, intrepid. A good explanation can be found on this page on programmerfish.
Ok, so the university has a license for Microsoft Office and I can install wine to run certain windows applications under linux. In the wine database I found that for my linux distribution, ubuntu 8.10, intrepid ibex, the office installation should run without a problem and that powerpoint and word should run, even though I might need the newer version of wine, 1.1.13.
It was really easy to setup Microsoft Office. I only had to change the configuration of wine a little. Problem is it crashes every few seconds.
In order to have always the last version of wine include the winehq repository for intrepid:
> wget -q http://wine.budgetdedicated.com/apt/387EE263.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add -
> sudo wget http://wine.budgetdedicated.com/apt/sources.list.d/intrepid.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/winehq.list
After updating (apt-get update) you should always have access to the last versions of wine.
In order to have always the latest version of OpenOffice (and have hopefully less compatibility problems with Microsoft Office) follow the instructions here and here.
Make sure you install the help of openoffice. In ubuntu the package name is openoffice.org-help-en-us.
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