Linux Tidbits

Small bits of Linux wisdom I’ve learned this weekend:

  • If you are burning a LiveCD ISO, you better choose “Disc at Once” instead of “Track at Once”, lest at boot time you’ll get this annoying error:
    end_request: I/O error, dev sr0 sector XXX
    Buffer I/O error on drive sr0, logical block XXX
  • It’s actually possible to run Microsoft Office 2007 in Linux outside a virtual machine, using a compatibility layer called Wine. It takes a few tricks to make it work, and the experience is not completely smooth, but it’s feasible.
    In my tests, Word worked perfectly, Excel crashed its EUROTOOL.XLAM complement (but then automatically disabled it and run okay the second time), but Powerpoint was barely usable (the screen goes black when you try to draw or position a drawing element). In addition, Excel could not open a password-protected file. Still, it worked better than I had expected;
  • You are not supposed to share Wine software installation between Linux users. I’ve tried hard playing with shared paths and symbolic links, and all I’ve got was error messages and Office no longer working;
  • Also, apparently you can’t share a Mozilla (Firefox or Thunderbird) profile between Linux users. I’ve also tried playing with links and paths and only got burnt.

What I’ve learned ? That Linux software tends to be more customizable than Windows software, and much more customizable than MacOS software. That does not mean, however that the desired customization will be straightforward and easy (try, for example, understanding Gnome’s menu customization scheme !), neither that it will be always possible to bend the system to work as you’d like. On the other hand, it makes a weekend pass quickly !

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