Get a highquality and free commandline word processor by installing Microsoft Word

If there's one piece of software the Linux world seemingly lacks, then it's a good-quality command-line word processor (which is to say, one that works entirely within a virtual console or a terminal window). There are some excellent text editors, of course. There are even some text editors

Get a high-quality (and free) command-line word processor by installing Microsoft

Word M 217

with word-processor-like features. However, there are none that include the likes of easy formatting tools, or built-in spellchecking.

The solution? Download and install an old DOS version of Microsoft Word that is now offered for free from Microsoft's website. You can then use the DOSBox software to run it. It really does work! (Although you can't print - at least not unless you want to hook-up your old dot matrix printer...).

Here's how to get it all working:

1. Use Synaptic to install dosbox. This is a DOS emulator and virtu-alization program primarily designed for old games but we're going to use it to do some magic.

2. The first thing to do is create a virtual hard disk for DOSBox by creating an empty folder in your /home folder.

3. Back in Ubuntu, download the old DOS version of Microsoft. It's freeware nowadays. Here's the address: http://download.microsoft. com/download/word97win/Wd55_be/97/WIN98/EN-US/Wd55_ben.exe. It's just over 3MB.

4. In Ubuntu, copy the downloaded file into your virtual hard disk folder and switch back to the DOSBox window. Then start DOSBox (Applications ^ Games) and connect to the virtual hard disk you created earlier by typing mount C foldername, replacing the fold-ername with the name of the folder. Then switch to the new hard drive by typing C:.

5. In the DOSBox window, type Wd55_ben.exe to uncompress the installer. You'll see a few errors about files that already exist. Just ignore the errors - overwrite, or don't overwrite. It's up to you.

6. Once the decompression has finished, type setup.exe to run the installer. Work through the installation options. Don't let Word alter your system settings or add a new mouse driver—DOSBox takes care of all that for you.

7. Once installation has finished, type word.exe to run Microsoft Word. See it in action in Figure 3.30, on the following page. It's still a useful bit of software for basic word processing tasks.

Every time you start DOSBox you'll need to remount the virtual hard disk and this can be annoying. To avoid this, start DOSBOx and type CONFIG -writeconf dosbox.conf. This will write-out a configuration file.

gH DLliiUt;^ 'J.TJ, S>sl=*3i WJ'Jy rfhiti^lilp !>,■ P/üijramt SJLML/ |j=JB5 File Edit Uieui Insert B3iV«l'!.Vji Utilities Macro Windau Help gH DLliiUt;^ 'J.TJ, S>sl=*3i WJ'Jy rfhiti^lilp !>,■ P/üijramt SJLML/ |j=JB5 File Edit Uieui Insert B3iV«l'!.Vji Utilities Macro Windau Help

Fgl Col O <Fl=Help> Microsoft Word

Changes the appearance of selected characters

Fgl Col O <Fl=Help> Microsoft Word

Changes the appearance of selected characters

Figure 3.30: Microsoft Word running in DOSBox (see Tip 177, on page 216)

Quit DOSBox and open the new config file in Gedit (gedit ~/dosbox.conf) and add the following two lines to the end of the file:

mount C foldername C:

Again, you should replace foldername with the name of the virtual hard disk folder you created eariler.

If an old DOS version of MS Word is still too high-tech for you, see Tip 221, on page 256, although if you like your new DOS adventures and would like to expand it into playing some classic DOS games, see Tip 281, on page 324.

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