This page lists some common tasks that cannot be easily or comfortably performed in Linux-based operating systems such as Ubuntu. Generally, I restrict these entries to tasks that are easy to perform in Microsoft Windows, and cannot be overcome in Linux by using common sense or searching the Internet for solutions. I do not consider Wine, web-based workarounds, or OS virtualization to be a solution. As always, if you have a suggestion, correction, or if this information is out of date then you are encouraged to contact me.
There is no single application available for reading and annotating PDF files. Here are some of the applications that I have tried, and their show-stopper shortcomings:
There are a few ways to go about this. Do both parties need to use the same office suite? If so, which? If not, then which are interoperable? In my experience, the only way to interoperate is that both parties use the same office suite. Using the same software reduces the already myriad problems of interoperability, both personal and software issues. Therefore, the remaining question is which software to use. Although I personally prefer the OpenOffice.org / LibreOffice duo, other cross platform solutions include Google Docs and a host of smaller projects. However, there is no doubt that the de-facto standard office suite is MS Office, and in fact few people realise that any alternatives even exist. In order to run MS Office, Linux users must either install it in a virtual machine or in Wine, the former which in addition to the price of MS Office one must add the price of MS Windows, and the later which runs so poorly as to be almost unusable. Both solutions are resource hogs and neither integrate well with a running Linux system.
Although fundamentally this is an applied case of the previous issue (Interoperate with other users using an office suite), I list it separately as the issue is expressed differently in real-world usage and has different solutions. Specifically, many organizations publish or request information in MS Word format. The "Save as .doc" feature of Open Office suffices for simple documents, but complex formatting, mathematical equations, and other non-text elements are very often displayed improperly when opened in MS Word. The reverse is also true: Open Office, Koffice, Abiword, and Google Docs all open MS Office files with varying levels of fidelity, each has its weak and strong points. I usually turn to MS Office Web Apps now, though, which reads most Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files. However, writing support is still very limited.
The Free Software Foundation maintains a list of High Priority Free Software Projects concerning use-cases for which no FOSS applications are currently in an end-user state. Notable among them are the need for CAD applications and voice transcription software, for which there exist no FOSS nor proprietary alternative for Linux.
Date Published: 2011-04-23
Date Revised: 2011-10-10
Things that one cannot do in Linux, but can do in Microsoft Windows.
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