Is Linux ok for school work ?

Hi All,
I have an opportunity to purchase an almost new laptop, the only problem is it has Win 10 on it.
I was thinking of buying this for my grandson who is starting High School after the break.
Can I wipe Win 10 and load up with Linux ? Does the school need to have MS Excel, MS Word etc. or is LibreOffice ok for the task.
Anyone know if Linux will be ok. ?
It’s just a thought at the moment, but I could possily set up a VirtualBox to run Wndross?

take care
Don W

That’s a difficult question, I can’t see Libreoffice not being up to the job but it could be the school in question have a particular requirement for Microsoft or some other Windows only software so I think your best bet is to ask the school first if any particular software is required,

If they insist on some Windows only software, be it MS Word , Excel or whatever ask why they insist on their pupils being spied on by a foreign power just to do their school work

If Windows is necessary then I would go for a dual boot if the laptop has the space which being almost new I suspect it will

Good luck


LibreOffice .doc .xls compatibility is pretty good, and I’d be surprised if it wouldn’t do the job admirably.

That said, you have to ask the question … what will the teacher be teaching with ? … if your son is having to figure out the interface differences on the fly during lessons, will it put him at a disadvantage ?

.docx and .xlsx can sometimes have slight formatting differences … when you save say a .docx document from LibreOffice Writer, then open it in Miccrosoft Word, images may have moved slightly, or the text wrapping around the images may have shifted slightly.

There’s also the question of fonts … LibreOffice will likely use different fonts, again shifting the formatting slightly when the document is reopened in Microsoft Office because Office will have to use a different font

I agree with Emegra … probably a good idea to ask the teachers and see what they say … try to get feedback on whether the slight formatting differences will be acceptable and taken into consideration when he submits documents in .doc and .xls format rather than printed

Now I’ve finished saying all that … it is possible (though sometimes awkward) to get Microsoft Office to run under WINE in Linux.

another option, if he has a Microsoft account, may be to use Office Live (office online):

you may also want to ask if the school accepts submissions from Google Docs … with the rise of Chromebooks in schools, they very well may do :wink:

Anyone know if Linux will be ok. ?

I’m thinking that maybe the question is; “what do you want your grandson to learn?” … the chances are that the majority of the useful stuff he learns will be the bits he finds out / teaches himself, and his level of success will be influenced by what he uses.

If he’s looking to become proficient with a Word Processor, either should do the job.
If he’s looking to become a tekkie, I’m not convinced that Windows would be his best option.

Caveat/Rant; I have a rather tained view of IT teaching in schools after previously having had a conversation with someone in a position of authority / responsibility within the system that went something like this;

“You can’t teach kids about computer networks”
Me> “Eh? Why?”
“Because most networks in schools are really insecure”
Me> “Ok, and?”
“Well, if you teach kids about networks, they might hack the school’s network”
Me> “Ok, maybe better than than the Pentagon. What’s your point, don’t educate kids?”
“Well, be selective, after all, if you were teaching Chemistry you wouldn’t teach them how to make a bomb, would you?!”
Me> “Well no, but anyone taught chemistry needs to understand chemical reactions including explosions”
“Yes, but not how to make a bomb …”
Me> “Ok, well, in the real world, everything relies on the Internet these days, that’s one big network”
Me> “So if that’s excluded, we’re not really teaching the useful stuff?”
“There’s lots of other useful stuff, just be careful not to teach ‘too much’”
(the conversation becomes circular at this point)

Now, this guy wasn’t a teacher, he was in a position to set policy on a regional basis.

Christ that’s worrying … don’t teach em useful stuff in case they use it … no wonder Britain aint great any more :frowning:

Thanks Graeme,
I think a dual boot would be a viable option. I will ask my daughter to find out what the school policy is regarding Windows/Libre Office, although I think the Education Authority on Fife Council has the final say on any thing that happens in the school.
There is something rumbling at the back of my brain that the UK government had asked/insisted that Microsoft products were to be Open Document format and MS invented there own version that still doesn’t meet the Open Document standard ?
I run a spreadsheet for my woodcraft club. I can do, (with a lot of free help), all sorts of things with the sheet at the behest of committee members.
However when I present this information to various people via email I am told it is not readable on their computer/tablet whatever.
When I save the original sheet in Excel format and send that, some can read it and some can’t ? It is a nightmare and I can’t see how business can be conducted in this manner (rant over)
@ Mark, A good point, the school may already be using Open Office, I will ask my daughter to find out what the norm is and if Google Docs could be a player
@ Mad Penguin, my grandson has Dyspraxia and this leads to some loss of muscle power. Any future he has is likely to be fairly sedentary so I reckon a job as a computer programmer of some description would be ideal :wink: He reckons he would like to be a Commentator on Radio or Television but his speech is affected by his illness, also typing at the keyboard is pretty hard work but we have to keep him at it or he would use the mouse.
He has a helper in class at the moment and helpers can be taken right through University if necessary. But I am just trying to help by supplying the right tools. I will be very grateful if the school can accept his work from Libre Office as I know then he can have a computer setup to suit his needs.
Thank you all, I will find out what the school requirements are before I start.

Hi Don,

Sorry to hear that … but it does sound like Linux would be far more useful to him in the long run … there’s always Office365 if he really needs access to the official M$ stuff … :slight_smile:

Strictly speaking (?) I would be expecting schools / uni’s to mark work, and not change it … in which case I would have thought PDF submission would be good … and as far as I’m aware, Libra Office is slightly better as PDF’s than Office … :slight_smile:

You are probably right in what you say, I will find out what the school requires but it should be ok to use Linux.
It is just me thinking of this computer going to waste by sitting under a table when it could be used for his schoolwork.

Cool you are getting him Linux. If it is just handing in typed work like essays and perhaps making charts for science projects etc, it would be fine (I’ve dome some educational support work) but if it is doing an IT course like ECDL where they have to do modules on Excel etc then he’d have to use Microsoft- but maybe he could do that in the school library?