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Hi I'm new to linux & LQ.
I just started school recently & they are requiring Microsoft Office 2007,but was told that Open Office can do the same things that Ms can do.
I'm currently running debian Squeeze & would like to know what kind of changes I would have to make to OO to be able to run it for my school homework & not be forced to install windows & buy MSW.
I'm not sure if it relevant but I heard it maybe user-agent-string.
Distribution: Debian Wheezy, Jessie, Sid/Experimental, playing with LFS.
I'm studying at uni and was told we needed Office 2010, I said I use LibreOffice (it's available in Debian Backports) and it opens .docx files. I am happy with that and for my uni work I will save in MS formats not .docx but just .doc. As far as I am aware LibreOffice has everything MS Office has so if I were you I wouldn't be worrying unless your school demands, and I'm not sure they can, you use MS Office.
It is true that OpenOffice and LibreOffife are highly compatible with MS Office. But they do have their differences. Sometimes these differences can be seen in changes in the way a document looks when opened in both systems. It is very possible that your school is just saying they require MS Office to try to ensure general compatibility between students and teachers, and it's just easier for them to say "use this software". In that case Open/LibreOffice will probably suffice fine. It is also possible they have specific reasons for the requirement. Best thing to do is inquire about their policy. I'd bet you aren't the first to ask, and they'll be able to provide you an appropriate answer.
BTW, I think it was a good thought that you save your documents to doc/xls/pot format rather than their 2007/2010 versions. Less chance of compatibility problems.
Well i guess it depends on what you're doing. If you were being trained how to operate in a certin environment which involves microsoft word in a per-existing system, (schools come to mind) then you will probably want microsoft word, but other than that, i recon libre office would do the trick. Usually people just say Microsoft office because it's become so common that many people are simply not aware of alternatives. About a month before entering the Linux world i'd bought microsoft office for mac, and was spewing once i discovered about the free and just as good open/libre office.
"ensure general compatibility between students and teachers"
A practical test for understanding your system/application, and genuine compatibility.
Test your using LibreOffice, how long before they realize you NOT using MS Office.
The EEC, indeed most governments, seem to be trying to ensure OS-neutral compatibility so IF you strike any compatibility problems toss them up here (anywhere better?) for help to resolve them :-)
In 2004, Neelie Kroes was appointed the European Commissioner for Competition; one of her first tasks was to oversee the fining brought onto Microsoft. Kroes has stated she believes open standards and open source are preferable to anything proprietary:
“ The Commission must do its part.....It must not rely on one vendor, it must not accept closed standards, and it must refuse to become locked into a particular technology – jeopardizing maintenance of full control over the information in its possession
"user agent string" is for browsers, don't worry about that.
As long as you save in .doc formats (.docx is also good but seems to have slightly more compatibility issues) you should be OK.
The main areas you might have trouble in are fonts, and complex layouts like frames and text flow around images (hopefully you will not have too many of those).
Stick to Microsoft fonts like Arial. Don't use Liberation or Nimbus etc as those will be substituted with some ugly default font on Windows systems. It would be a good idea to install the Microsoft Core Fonts (Calibri and Tahoma so on) so that documents you receive from them look OK. There should be a package called msttcorefonts or ttf-mscorefonts-installer.
You can overcome all the formatting risks by submitting your work as a PDF export - although this will be no good if your teachers/tutors/profs need to edit the files - then stick to .doc.