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Re: Uh Oh... Prof requires ms word format

cecil wrote:
cecil wrote:
I just looked on the upcoming syllubus for my CS class. The prof requires ms word format zipped files for the assignments. What do I do to do that on linux? I guess I HAVE to install X now. :(

Maybe I should get a different laptop? Is a 150 mhz machine with 2 gig hd and 32 meg ram going to be able to do the job? I'm worried now.

There's nothing wrong with installing X. It's all Free, so use the best tool for the job.

For many tasks I have nothing open but a single fullscreen terminal with no window decorations, but it is an xterm. For me, text in an xterm is faster, crisper, and at 1600x1200 is higher resolution than anything I can get on the console with my video card.

I feel that I mentioned this a week or two ago when we were having a similar conversation on the list, but even if you were to use OpenOffice.org, whenever you need to turn in a .doc file converted from OOo (rather than a printed document), you are going to want to preview the .doc document on a machine running Windows, in genuine MS Word, and preferably the same version your instructor will be running. Either you will need to use a lab computer to do this, or use a friend's computer. Because if something doesn't work right, there are no excuses. You had access to a lab computer just like all the people who don't even have a personal computer, and you had access to the prescribed tools on those lab computers.

Which operating system you will be running is going to be the least of your worries. You're _never_ going to get a higher grade because your completed assignment went through n esoteric conversions and was keyed in on a front panel. And if you have to worry about that, you are either going to need to spend that much more time on the assignment than everyone else, or you will be stressed and start to miss things.

It is almost never worth accepting a lower grade because you did not use the prescribed tools for the job. CS has very little to do with learning how to operate any particular operating system. You will find many successful CS students who use only Windows, and the odds are that many of them will be smarter and more successful in school than you. It just doesn't matter that much. It really doesn't. Do something Linux or UNIX related at the hobbyist level, in school IT employment, or in an internship.

I think you have 4 good options, which have already been covered:
- Ask the professor whether you can turn in completed assignments in PDF format, and explain to him or her why you would prefer to. - Compose documents with LaTeX and convert to rtf. Then go to a lab machine and convert rtf to doc with MS Word, preview the doc file in MS Word and cocrrect any formatting issues, zip it, and turn it in (see packages latex2rtf and latex2rtf-doc). - Buy a slightly faster machine and from your campus computer or book store buy educational license copies of Windows 2000 and Office 2000 (or whatever). - Use a lab computer, and keep your machine for tinkering and other free-time pursuits, or for those assignments where it doesn't create more problems than are worth hassling with.

Remember, even if you chose to buy a faster machine to run OpenOffice.org, at risk of getting a lower grade when it fails to open correctly or format just right, or display things in the right order, you will still need to go to a lab machine and preview the converted .doc file. And again, it is almost never worth taking that risk.


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