Working with Linux in a Microsoft/Google-dominated environment


At around the start of the school year, I had to switch my ageing work laptop to Ubuntu, as Windows had become unusable (4GB RAM, see my previous post about it). Ubuntu gave a new lease of life to my laptop – the thing just flies. 9 months on, it still flies, even after however many updates and package installations there may have been.

I work in education in the UK. The education sector is entirely dominated by Microsoft and Google. You either use Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and Outlook, or you use Google Drive, Classroom, Docs (and still, Outlook). If your institution has not bothered to keep up with the times, you may even still be on an Exchange server.
MS suites are pre-installed everywhere, which makes everyone use them, which makes every single document you will ever receive be in an MS format. If you are creating documents yourself, they must be readable by MS programs, so you're better off using the MS suite, it is provided for free after all.

The same goes if your institution has chosen Google instead, you still use MS apps but you might end up using Google Docs etc., depending on the workflow.

My lonely Ubuntu laptop found this situation a bit disconcerting. After trying to use Wine and other solutions to get Office working (unsuccessfully), and going through various linux-based office suites, I ended up with Libre as the 'best' one.
Even Libre though doesn't work that well. MS app users find ODF documents awkward and sometimes dysfunctional, and Libre doesn't handle the MS formats too well either (especially for anything more complex than plain text). Not to mention everyone uses MS fonts, which for some reason Libre still doesn't handle properly.

However, I have persisted. For simple documents, I use Libre and save in MS formats. For more complex stuff, I now use Google Docs, which do seem to be able to convert into MS formats more successfully than Libre does.

I have no Outlook app, but Outlook Webmail and Calendar work just fine. MS has even ported Teams into linux, and that works perfectly.

So, I am at a stage where I can successfully use my little old laptop in an MS/Google-dominated environment and be as productive as the rest of the lot using MS. I don't have to spend money buying a new laptop, nor any software for that matter, however I do donate to Libre and to most FOSS programs I use.

Have you got any success stories of being the only one using Linux for any sort of productive work in an MS/Google dominated workplace?

submitted by /u/DonDino1
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