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Q4OS - Part 4 - Life Without Windows


As the regular readers of this blog will be aware I have embarked on a mission to try out Q4OS as my sole operating system for a month to see how well it stands the test of time.

I wrote my initial review of Q4OS on the 25th November and at the time the experience was so positive I wanted to give it a longer run to see if I could find any major hangups compared to more popular and well known distributions such as Ubuntu, Mint and Zorin.

Thus far I have managed to install Q4OS, set up the hardware (see part 2) and theme Q4OS to make it look retro. (see part 3).

Obviously as time goes on you start using the operating system for day to day tasks and it is only when performing these tasks that you will find real issues.

This week I have been focusing on one of two things that has stopped me from completely ditching Windows from all of my computers.

Office Software

As a freelance software developer I often have to send my CV to employment agencies.

I am more than happy most of the time using LibreOffice. It works for writing letters, articles and I used it to write my eBook a few years ago.

I also use LibreOffice Calc for performing financial tasks such as accounts and forecasting.

LibreOffice Impress has been used to help my kids with their homework especially when they need to create presentations for school projects.

On a day to day level LibreOffice does everything you could ask it to.

So what is the problem? Why not write your CV using LibreOffice and save it as a Word document? The answer is simple, formatting.

A CV is a very important document. You spend ages writing it, formatting it and making sure the layout is perfect for when it lands on the recruiter's desk. I have found that when I create a CV using LibreOffice and save it to Word format that the paging is quite often not synchronised correctly and certain items will have been pushed onto the next page which throws everything out of kilter.

For this reason and one other reason I have always kept a computer with Windows handy whether it is the sole operating system or dual booting with Linux. 99% of the time I live in a Linux only world but the 1% matters.

Microsoft Office And Linux

I subscribe to Office 365. It costs about £8 a month. For this money I can download and install the latest version of Microsoft Office to up to 5 computers and I have done so on a Windows 10 computer.

I wanted to see however whether Microsoft Office would run on Linux and particularly WINE / PlayOnLinux.

I tried various ways to install Office 2013 via PlayOnLinux including using the Online Installer and downloading the full installer.

Unfortunately it appears that WINE is not ready for Office 2013. I received a number of different errors such as error in POL_WINE, Wine seems to have crashed, cannot find WINWORD.EXE etc.

Whilst writing this article I found a thread on Reddit where somebody says they have managed to install Office 2013 within Linux but then there are many mentions of crashes and poor performance.

The truth is that some things just aren't meant to run in Linux. Everything required to get Microsoft Office working natively in Linux at this moment in time is a hack. Some people may get it to install, some people may even get it to run but the truth is you will be constantly suffering from inconsistency.

So is that it? Is the experiment over? No.

Office 365 Online

Microsoft Office 365 is designed so that you can use it on the move which means there are browser versions of most of the office tools including Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

If you read my review of Q4OS you would know that it comes with the Chrome browser and Office 365 works well within the Chrome browser.

I am not going to lie to you. The online versions of Word and Excel do not have all the features you will get in the fully installed versions.

Wait a minute though, the reason I need Word is to make sure my CV looks good when I send it out. Therefore it doesn't need to be fully featured. I just need it for formatting.

The version of Excel is fine for viewing spreadsheets and performing many of the more common tasks. Formulas work and you can connect to external data sources. 

The main feature that is missing for me is VBA and the ability to create and run macros. 

The online version of Outlook is fine for sending and receiving emails and you can create appointments and meetings.

To be honest I don't really use a Microsoft account for sending emails. I am perfectly happy with Google.


The point of this series is to work out whether I can truly ditch Windows and use Q4OS as my sole operating system.

All of the office features I need are available in LibreOffice so for the most part I don't need Microsoft Office at all.

The only thing I need Microsoft Office, or should I say Microsoft Word for is to make sure the formatting of my CV is correct and I can use the online version of Microsoft Word for that.

The mission of living life without Windows is still very much on the go. Q4OS is extremely stable. As well as working out the Office stuff I have also used it to watch Breaking Bad on Netflix and for researching and writing the articles at

There is only one more snag. I am a software developer and I develop Windows software. I will show you how I am overcoming that snag next week.

This post first appeared on Everyday Linux User, please read the originial post: here

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Q4OS - Part 4 - Life Without Windows


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