Updated: 23 November, 2014
12. MS Windows Interoperability
The PC world is dominated by Microsoft, and they're not exactly known for making interoperability easy. Despite this, it's possible to interoperate fairly seamlessly in most cases. This chapter addresses the most common issues.
12.1 Office Documents
LibreOffice defaults to the Open Document Format (*.odt, *.ods, *.odp, etc.) which is an open standard. This format is partially supported by Microsoft Office >= 2007 Service Pack 2. Or you can suggest to your MS Windows and Mac OSX using contacts to install LibreOffice, as it's freely available for those platforms too.
LibreOffice can also read and write the Microsoft Office formats (*.doc, *.xls,*.ppt, *.docx, *.xlsx, *.pptx etc.) quite well - as well as a wide range of other formats.
||If you come across Microsoft documents that LibreOffice doesn't render well, consider trying if you have better luck with the Calligra suite.
The free Liberation Fonts provide metrically identical fonts for the most commonly used Microsoft fonts, and are installed by default. Install the package fetchmsttfonts
if you need the most common Microsoft fonts.
12.2 Windows Network
For sharing resources on a local network with MS Windows machines the Samba service is used.
12.2.1 Accessing Shares
No configuration is needed to access files shared by others. Simply:
Launch the Dolphin file manager => Click the location bar or press Ctrl+L for an editable location bar => Enter 'smb://[ip-address]'
If you don't know the IP-address of the share, you can browse
the local network by simply entering smb:/
in the Dolphin location bar. However, this will only work if you configure the firewall first.
Kickoff menu => Computer tab => YaST => Security and Users => Firewall => Allowed Services => Select "Samba Client" and "Netbios Server" in the "Service to allow" combobox and add them
12.2.2 Sharing Your Files
To share your
files with MS Windows users, Mac OSX users or other GNU/Linux users on the local network you must configure the Samba Server (make sure the packages yast2-samba-server
are installed). You only need to perform the first three steps the first time you want share a folder.
Open the YaST Samba Server module.
Kickoff menu => Computer tab => YaST => Network Services => Samba Server
In the tab Start-Up
select whether to autostart the Samba service during boot and whether to open the firewall ports required.
Go to the Shares
tab, check the options Allow Users to Share Their Directories
and Allow Guest Access
. In the Identity
tab you can configure your workgroup and share name.
Now open the Dolphin file manager, right click the folder you want to share, click Properties => Share
12.3 Running MS Windows Applications
High quality, native GNU/Linux applications exist for almost any purpose, but it's possible that you're dependent on a MS Windows-only application for some job. These are your options in such a case.
||You should only run non-native applications as a last resort. Apps work better in their native environment.
Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator) is an application that enables you to run many MS Windows applications, you can install wine with YaST or zypper.
Wine is a command line application, the syntax is:
||The package q4wine provides a graphical interface for some features of Wine.
The Wine project keeps a database for sharing experiences of running applications, see:
CrossOver is not gratis. It's specialised in running a select few of the major MS Windows applications - mostly office related.
12.3.3 Dual Boot
As mentioned in the Installation
chapter, it's relatively simple to run GNU/Linux and MS Windows on the same computer. If your only need a few applications that you rarely use, maybe it's worth it to reboot into MS Windows now and then, when you need to use these particular apps.
When you install a dual boot system, your MS Windows disks/partitions should be mounted under /windows/C/
etc. If not, you can assign mountpoints (folders in which the drives should be mounted) with YaST => System => Partitioner. By default partitions formatted with the NTFS file system will be read-only. To make them writable for the normal user you have to edit the respective entries in /etc/fstab
and replace fmask=113,dmask=002
It's possible to run MS Windows on top of GNU/Linux inside a virtual machine
, using software such as VirtualBox, KVM, Xen or VMware. This is somewhat advanced, and requires some computer power.
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