[qubes-users] MS Office 365 in Qubes

I am using Qubes as my main OS and now it seems that due to my work assignment, I will need to use MS Office 365 and I would like to keep using my Qubes laptop.

I will need to use the MS Office 365 ideally with/without the following features:

- no need to have internet connection
- no need to have win apps other than the MS Office 365 are needed now
- need to copy and paste text in between win-AppVMs and non-win-AppVMs
- need to file sharing between win-AppVMs and non-win-AppVMs (copy and move)
- need to ideally be able to open the MS Office 365 files in various separate AppVMs, but it is not a killer and I can live without it if it complicates the situation too much.

My question is, if there is some workaround other than necessity to install whole Windows OS in my Qubes.

If the Windows OS installation is a necessity in this case, would you consider the WIN7 or WIN10 as better, less troublesome option? Could you point me to a how to guide? There is this guide Windows VMs | Qubes OS. Is there any other one you would propose for this case?

need to use MS Office 365

Condolences.

workaround other than necessity to install whole Windows OS

WIN7 or WIN10 [...] point me to a how to guide?

But if Office 365 Suite are the only windows apps you need I'd go for CrossOver.

Sven Semmler:

need to use MS Office 365

Condolences.

Thank you, taken sadly.

workaround other than necessity to install whole Windows OS

Microsoft Office 365 | Compatibility Database | CodeWeavers

WIN7 or WIN10 [...] point me to a how to guide?

GitHub - elliotkillick/qvm-create-windows-qube: Spin up new Windows qubes quickly, effortlessly and securely

But if Office 365 Suite are the only windows apps you need I'd go for CrossOver.

I believe that I could possibly to get out with the MS Office 2019 instead of Office 365. Would this change the equation and make things easier?

When using a Windows VM I don't think it really makes a difference. In both cases you need to be online at install time to get the license and can then work offline afterwards. In case of 2019 there might be an option to activate via phone if they haven't killed it already.

When using CrossOver/Wine:

2019 ... 3/5 ... limited functionality [1]
  365 ... 4/5 ... runs well [2]

It's a Windows emulation on top of Linux. So you would install it in your normal Fedora or Debian AppVM and then run Office that way. That would make for perfect Qubes integration and lower resource usage.

[1] Microsoft Office 2019 | Compatibility Database | CodeWeavers
[2] Microsoft Office 365 | Compatibility Database | CodeWeavers

I am using Qubes as my main OS and now it seems that due to my work assignment, I will need to use MS Office 365 and I would like to keep using my Qubes laptop.

IMHO running Office 365 from Qubes OS makes very little sense (as you publish all your data to Microsoft basically). It's abit like runniing TOR browser and then fill in some form with all your personal data.

I will need to use the MS Office 365 ideally with/without the following features:

- no need to have internet connection

Is that possible for a longer time?

- no need to have win apps other than the MS Office 365 are needed now

Will Office work without OneDrive?

- need to copy and paste text in between win-AppVMs and non-win-AppVMs

Does that work (e.g. copying text in a non-X11 application to paste it into some X11 application)?

- need to file sharing between win-AppVMs and non-win-AppVMs (copy and move)
- need to ideally be able to open the MS Office 365 files in various separate AppVMs, but it is not a killer and I can live without it if it complicates the situation too much.

My question is, if there is some workaround other than necessity to install whole Windows OS in my Qubes.

Office 365 _without_ MS-Windows? Are you kidding? Maybe Microsoft provides it for other platforms, but _why_ would one use the Microsoft product? (I'm using OpenOffice/LibreOffice for years, and it's OK for me)

If the Windows OS installation is a necessity in this case, would you consider the WIN7 or WIN10 as better, less troublesome option? Could you point me to a how to guide? There is this guide

The question is: Does Office/365 support Windows 7? I doubt that.

due to my work assignment, I will need to use MS Office 365 and I would like to keep using my Qubes laptop.

IMHO running Office 365 from Qubes OS makes very little sense

The entire idea of Qubes OS is to compartmentalize your information, so
malicious code in one qube cannot damage the rest of your system.
Arguably it makes more sense to run Windows/O365 in Qubes OS then it
does bare metal.

Will Office work without OneDrive?

Of course.

Does that work (e.g. copying text in a non-X11 application to paste it into some X11 application)?

Yes, in both cases: Windows qube with QWT or using Cross-Over (Win API emulated in X11)

Does Office/365 support Windows 7?

Yes it does. I have used it this way myself.

Ulrich, I found this particular post of yours remarkably uninformed and not constructive. It's not like the OP or myself advocate the use of O365, but there are circumstances where one HAS to use something in the context of earning money. Everyone outside of academia should be familiar with that situation.

/Sven

due to my work assignment, I will need to use MS Office 365 and I would like to keep using my Qubes laptop.

IMHO running Office 365 from Qubes OS makes very little sense

The entire idea of Qubes OS is to compartmentalize your information, so
malicious code in one qube cannot damage the rest of your system.
Arguably it makes more sense to run Windows/O365 in Qubes OS then it
does bare metal.

At least Office 365 cannot affect the other VMs.

Will Office work without OneDrive?

Of course.

Does that work (e.g. copying text in a non-X11 application to paste it into some X11 application)?

Yes, in both cases: Windows qube with QWT or using Cross-Over (Win API emulated in X11)

Does Office/365 support Windows 7?

Yes it does. I have used it this way myself.

Wow, I'm impressed: As Microsoft continuously updates Office 365, they still support Windows 7 being an obsolete OS?

Ulrich, I found this particular post of yours remarkably uninformed and not constructive. It's not like the OP or myself advocate the use of O365, but there are circumstances where one HAS to use something in the context of earning money. Everyone outside of academia should be familiar with that situation.

Well, you are correct that I don't know enough about Office 365, but AFAIK the German BSI said you cannot use Office 365 for confidential data (that's what made me wonder about the combination of Office 365 and Qubes OS). Link like this: BSI-Analyse deckt neue "Datenlecks" bei der Office-Telemetrie auf – und liefert Blockier-Tipps | Sharepoint360.de

On OneDrive: I never used Office 365, but when I tried to use OneNote, it said it will only work with OneDrive. And obviously: Microsoft wants you to use their cloud services.

Also don't conclude from my E-Mail address that I'm "in academica"; most spammers want "to buy our products" :wink: Still we are not able to use Office 365. Well that might change in the future, but at least we had 30 years without being attacked successfully...

Regards,
Ulrich

That one went straight over my head, possibly been away from Germany for
too long (15 years). Sorry for being a bit grumpy. Didn't sleep much
last night.

For others finding this thread later: of course in many cases
LibreOffice is the way to go. It's what I too use 95% of the time. If
you are just dealing with DOC(X)s, chances are you can do everything in
LibreOffice even when collaborating with M$ Office users.

Watching PPT(X) files works great too, but there will be minor format
errors. However, if you have to collaborate with M$ Office users working
on a PPT(X) for example, you will become very unpopular fast if you try
to pull that off using LibreOffice. The results just look too different.

Don't know about spreadsheets much, but I guess if you go all power user
on the formulas there might be surprises too.

Bottom-line: I get why someone might HAVE TO use Office just to not piss
off everyone else they are working with.

/Sven

I use LibreOffice or Calligra for almost everything except...
PowerPoint presentations that I have to give to someone else. I
frequently speak at meetings where I have to provide a PPTX file of my
presentation weeks in advance, and I *have* to use whatever audiovisual
setup they have (often dictated by the venue). I have found that
presentations made in LibreOffice format incorrectly in PowerPoint for
at least one slide over 80% of the time. It gets worse when there are
videos and animations.

Normally, I create the presentation in LibreOffice and then take it to
a place that runs Windows at work and fix the presentation there. I
retired from my normal job recently, so I can't do that any more, even
though I still do presentations. At the moment, my church is letting
me use their computers for this, but I don't know that it will go on
forever.

billo

Office 365 without MS-Windows? Are you kidding? Maybe Microsoft
provides it for other platforms, but why would one use the
Microsoft
product? (I’m using OpenOffice/LibreOffice for years, and it’s OK for
me)

Normally, I create the presentation in LibreOffice and then take it to
a place that runs Windows at work and fix the presentation there. I
retired from my normal job recently, so I can’t do that any more, even
though I still do presentations. At the moment, my church is letting
me use their computers for this, but I don’t know that it will go on
forever.

It may not address your immediate needs but the “Microsoft Nonprofit” program can provide 10 free Office365 licenses for 10 years to any qualifying nonprofit organization. If you got your church to qualify then maybe they will set you up with a license? MS also allows unlimited binary installs (PC, iOS, Android, etc) for each individuals assigned license plus some discounts on the Win10 OS you could use as an AppVM. There is also TechSoup.org which provides discounted software and refurbished hardware to qualifying nonprofits.

I am also battling with the Office365 products on Qubes. If you want to have discussion off line please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I know about the MS NonProfit program because I have my own startup 501(c)(3) (hdri.org) for doing medical research on a long ignored disease that has no test, no cure, no statistics collected because nobody ever gets diagnosed, and so currently it will never be funded for any research in humans. Your dog can be easily tested and cured but you would likely get kicked out of the clinic or ignored for even suggesting you might have this very same disease. It’s being treated exactly the same as Lyme disease was back on the 60’s. Will they ever learn?

Sorry for the tangential off topic discussion.

I’m very curious about your experience running CrossOver in Qubes Sven.

How stable and solid is it? How performant? Is it easy to get data in/out to other vms (via copy paste or file transfer)?

My worry is that it would be too many layers:

Qubes dom0 (Xen) → AppVM (linux) → CrossOver (Windows API translation) → Office

But it sounds like it works for you? In Qubes?

I thought perhaps using a Win10 qube might be more direct and thus better, and also potentially more stable over a period of years (since you are not relying on Codeweavers to keep maintaining CrossOver by tracking the Win10 API):

Qubes dom0 (Xen) → AppVM (Win10) → Office

…but this seems to be tricky for people and the current state of qubes tooling on Win10 not good. So CrossOver holds some interest to me. I have similar issues with LibreOffice - it is a wonderful and miraculous body of code but I have found it is not good for collaborating with Office users (in my case, track changes causing crashes on both sides after several rounds of document exchange in Word/LibreWriter).

Thank you for any information…

TLDR: installing O365 using CrossOver is a normal Linux thing and has nothing Qubes OS specific to it -- whatever works in a "normal" Linux will work on Qubes OS too; if done with a standard Debian/Fedora qube all Qubes OS features will work.

experience running CrossOver in Qubes

I don't have any experience running O365 in CrossOver, but have observed
others doing so on "normal" Linux installs (Mint, Ubuntu etc). They appeared satisfied.

Is it easy to get data in/out to other vms (via copy paste or file
transfer)?

It's a normal debian/fedora qube so all your Qubes features work. Wine/CrossOver is an emulation layer, which means there is no Windows clipboard but instead when the respective API gets invoked the contents lands in your linux clipboard (inside the qube). From there you use the normal shortcuts to transfer to/from dom0.

Sending/Receiving files works as always. Your Windows C: drive lives under ~/.wine/drive_c or something similar.

O365 is not and has never been my main concern, but I do have it
installed in a Windows 10 qube. The reason I need Windows has more to do
with proprietary automotive network analyzing tools for which I also
need USB (that doesn't work with CrossOver). So it was never really a
question for me.

My point to the OP was merely that if O365 is the ONLY reason to run
Windows, I'd go and download a free eval copy of CrossOver and try that
first before attempting to install an entire Windows qube. Also because
I suspect it'll be far lighter on resources and cheaper than buying a Windows license.

I'd recommend the same to you. It won't cost you a thing. Wine is FOSS and CrossOver is a somewhat more polished commercial version of it with a free evaluation. The reason I recommend it is that I expect it to work a bit smoother than the vanilla Wine for the installation. Although the Wine has also a package called Winetricks ... you could give that a try too.

Office 365 _without_ MS-Windows? Are you kidding? Maybe Microsoft
provides it for other platforms, but _why_ would one use the
Microsoft
product? (I'm using OpenOffice/LibreOffice for years, and it's OK for
me)

I use LibreOffice or Calligra for almost everything except...
  PowerPoint presentations that I have to give to someone else. I
frequently speak at meetings where I have to provide a PPTX file of my
presentation weeks in advance, and I *have* to use whatever audiovisual
setup they have (often dictated by the venue). I have found that
presentations made in LibreOffice format incorrectly in PowerPoint for
at least one slide over 80% of the time. It gets worse when there are
videos and animations.

OK, just let me add some more thoughts:
I think both Microsoft Office and OpenOffice/Libre Office have some advantages _and_ deficits over the other.
I had been using Word for Windows (with Windows 3.11) shortly after it came out. At that time OpenOffice was still named StarOffice.
Around that time Microsoft wanted more than 500€ for a license, completely unaffordable for one who writes maybe 15 letters a year.

One day I had spend almost the whole day updating a larger document (still less than 100 pages). Before saving I thought I'll do hyphenation and spell-checking as final touch-up. Eventually, when I wanted to save, there was a message like "there's not enough memory to complete the task".
At that moment I was tempted to throw the whole computer out of the window...

With StarOffice/OpenOffice/LibreOffice I never had such a bad experience (also using it for at least 20 years now).

Also Microsoft often claims they'll protect your investment. Well, I have WinWord documents from 1993 that a current Word cannot read!
So I would need one (or more) older versions to load and re-save those files.

(Oh well, I also have files created with Ventura Publisher; the PostScript output at that time was considered to be too large to archive. If I had known what will happen, I would have saved those...)

Maybe for contrast: I also have a demo CD with Adobe Acrobat 1.0 (I think from 1994). Those PDF files can still be loaded and displayed correctly.

Normally, I create the presentation in LibreOffice and then take it to
a place that runs Windows at work and fix the presentation there. I
retired from my normal job recently, so I can't do that any more, even
though I still do presentations. At the moment, my church is letting
me use their computers for this, but I don't know that it will go on
forever.

I agree that Impress could be much more user-friendly.