Struggling to use linux in college - GNU/Linux
Hey everyone,
I thought I would share what I have been working on recently.

Sadly this past semester I was forced to scrap my lean debian system and use OS X + a windows 7 vm to get my school work done.

Being an economics major, I'm constantly using excel, and ran into issues using libre office calc. Most professors also insist upon posting their assignments in .docx format, which was really difficult to deal with on my linux machine that lacked a real WYSISYG word processor. Another difficulty I ran into was that class presentations are often done with powerpoint, I had originally planned to use the suckless tool sent for this, but professors like to have a copy of the presentation to view and are used to getting .ppt files to view in powerpoint.

Because of the switch I had to make, my productivity and workflow both suffered. I had to use the mouse a whole lot more. Instead of neat tiles, I had to drag and dig through windows to find what I was looking for. There was always a new update to be installed which would pop up in the corner, there was always something flashing around on screen. I knew I needed to get back to my linux set up.

Now that I have some more time over break, I want to prepare a linux set up for the spring semester.

What I want:
* Avoid using a virtual machine and the OS X / windows operating systems
* Find vim plugins that can ease in essay writing (live preview of markup!)
* Devise a way to handle .docx files (conversion?)
* Figure out how to get the functionality of excel through the command line (perhaps a program like sc?)
* Devise a way to handle .xls files
* Transition to using sent for presentations
* Editing pdf's on linux?

In particular I'm afraid of being unable to replace microsoft excel.

If anyone has advice or has experience using linux during college I would love to hear!
Well I suffered from the same problem when I was taking my degree.

You can use tools like Google Docs, in my case I didn't bothered too much, the school offered licenses for Windows Education Edition and an Office 365, I just used a Virtual Machine when needed.

I know it's PITA to be tied to Microsoft and their proprietary file formats, you can try to suggest your teachers to provide the documentation in open formats.
The most awesome way to handle Microsoft Office documents on Windows and Linux is SoftMaker Office IMO.
Update #1

This site has lots of software recommendations tailored to economics majors.

SC-IM looks like a really neat excel substitute. Written in c. Vim keybindings.
SC-IM also plays nice with the microsoft excel .xls formats (import / export) and I will be able to share spreadsheets with classmates during group assignments.

It seems as if I will be able to use GIMP to edit pdf's, have to look more into it though.

Bonus old joke: Ubuntu Causes Girl To Drop Out of College
(25-12-2017, 12:41 PM)Houseoftea Wrote: Ubuntu Causes Girl To Drop Out of College

Requesting "DOCX" or "Excel" homeworks is rather common in schools, and you cannot blame them after all, as they don't want to struggle openning documents from their students when they have to skim through hundreds of homeworks during late night.

The easiest way I found to use whatever soft I want is to export everything in PDF, or any common format readable by the Office suite.
You can also use Google docs when you're screwed, as they're platform agnostic.

For your reports there is always LaTeX which can be exported to PS/PDF. But markdown would be the simplest choice (learning curve is nearly flat). You can then export them to HTML, then PDF with your favorite browser, or to PDF directly with pandoc(1) (it will be your best friend for document conversion!).

For spreadsheets, I've always used CSV (doesn't support calculations though, I must say I never encountered this use case, and I'm glad I didn't!). I'm not expert there, so I guess google spreadsheet is your best choice.

And then presentations... At the end of my grade, all teachers requested powerpoints. I decided to screw this, and went with impress.js[0]. They were all impressed (hehe) and I got a pretty good note for originality!
It takes some work though, so for quick prez, sent(1) would indeed be best.
In case your teacher doesn't want to compile it from source, you can still screenshot all slides in fullscreen and make a PDF out of it.

There's always a solution, even if it might involve more work for you ;)

I had a similar problem in the first few years of university. My solution was a mix of Google Docs/Sheets/Slides exporting to docx/xlsx/pptx as required and an old Windows only laptop which ran all the software which didn't have Linux or cloud versions. It wasn't ideal but it was better than having to switch to Windows as my main OS.
I'm a Windows sysadmin during the day that's implementing Office 365 Enterprise, so I know all about Office. If you're a college student, your best bet is to get a free student account to Office 365 and use Office Online. They're like Google Apps in that they run in the browser, but they're Microsoft Office. I don't know if there's anything fancy in Excel that the online version doesn't have, but it's worth checking out.

My solution for when I work from home is running Office 2010 in Wine. It works really well with some minor overrides and tweaking. I got a license through work, you may have issues procuring a legit 2010 license.

EDIT: Apparently I'm too tired to format a link properly today, so here you go:
i have to plug "the botnet" on this one.
google docs, google sheets, and google slides provide as web based alternative for viewing and creating these document formats using only a web browser.

i use loonix at work, and often have to deal w/ excel docs sent by clients. google sheets works superbly for my use case. i don't do a lot of formulas, so i cant really comment on how much of that functionality exists. sheets lets you export in a variety of formats including powerpoint. just saying, using google docs has worked for me in the past, no vm required.
+1 for google documents. I went through college as an engineering major using a thinkpad with crunchbang. If I needed to work on a homework in MS Office I did in in google documents and then just downloaded it in the format I needed to submit.

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