Migrating a Business to Linux — 18

At work I have been migrating Windows 7 systems to Ubuntu MATE 16.04. One of my long-term goals is migrating from MS Office to LibreOffice.

For the past two years at work I have been using LibreOffice in an office dominated by Windows and Microsoft Office. Fortunately for me, the office documents are simple. No complex page formatting. I have been using LibreOffice round trip — meaning I open MS Office documents, save them, and for the past year, not once has anybody noticed or complained about corrupt files when the same files are opened in MS Office.

Once I fixed a corrupted Excel spreadsheet using LibreOffice Calc. To be fair, the spreadsheets used at work mostly are “flat file database” lists rather than the complicated wizardry used by bean counters.

I have written several evaluation reports with Writer, which I save as PDF. I forward the PDF to others for reading.

No complaints. Nobody notices that I am using LibreOffice.

I maintain my time sheets in LibreOffice Calc and submit the final copy as PDF. The original company owner expected me to submit the time sheets in xls format. As I don’t use Windows at home I don’t have access to MS Office. I saved my time sheets by saving the Calc files as xls.

Soon after the business sold I changed to saving in ods format and exporting the PDFs. I send the PDFs to the new owners.

With the new owner’s approval I installed LibreOffice on the office Windows systems. The office workers are not using LibreOffice, but that’s okay. One fellow employee uses LibreOffice and we have converted a few MS Office files to odt format.

Although the office workers do not use the software, part of my desire to install LibreOffice on the office workstations is we have one of those infamous spreadsheets that contain company passwords.


I have not tested, but I am reasonably certain MS Office encryption is incompatible with LibreOffice. Besides, I have that long-term goal of migrating most users to LibreOffice.

After a year of new ownership, I am close to convincing the owners to finally agree to encrypt the file. Now that we have a mixed operating system environment, that means MS Office is not installed on any of our Ubuntu MATE systems. I refuse to dabble down that road with WINE. Not to mention we don’t have additional licenses. That means when the green flag is dropped to encrypt that file, I’ll convert the spreadsheet to Calc ods format and use LibreOffice encryption.

With LibreOffice now installed on the Windows workstations, I’ll need to provide nominal training with respect to the “new” file name with the ods file extension rather than xls. And that double-clicking on the file in File Explorer will open the file in Calc rather than Excel. Included in that effort will be fixing desktop shortcuts.

Because the infamous spreadsheet is just a list, I suspect nobody will really notice.

If all goes well I should be able to imitate Hannibal Smith. “I love it when a plan comes together.”

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: Migrate, Ubuntu

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