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I think asking the students to use the .doc or .odf format would be excellent
to require in your syllabus.  Also, for those instances that non-compliance
is inevitable (I work in an educational environment too), you can use a
virtual machine running MSOffice that will handle .docx files.  That is what
I do to be able to be as versatile as possible.  Using Linux alone is not
practical for me since so many co-workers/students use the .docx format, so
I only use Windows and MS Office when I absolutely have to.  So, most of the
time I'm happily using Linux, but for those days when Bill has closed the
gates of freedom and happiness, I have a virtual machine to come to the

Requiring a PDF is not helpful since you want to bleed on their work.  I
don't know of a guaranteed working PDF annotater in Linux and Adobe Acrobat
isn't available for a Linux environment.  So, to use PDF you would probably
be forced back to a windows environment.  (I'm not thinking you'd want to do
your grading in GIMP, even though that might import a PDF!) 

By the way, a VMPlayer and VMware Server works well for the academic
environment to create a virtual machine and play it wherever.  Use it on
machines with the cpu virtual hardware extensions though.  I hate running on
older cpus without that functionality since the virtual machines are much
slower without that cpu enhancement.  If your pretty savvy in Linux then KVM
may be a better answer.

The long term solution for LibreOffice is to have robust import filters for
the insidious .docx format.  I can't stand Microsoft for their lock in
tactics and I am disappointed in the gullibility of the masses for just
accepting the chains of MS enslavement.

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