I'm a construction engineer student, focusing on structural engineering. I'm looking for a new OS, and find elementary OS promising. I'm not sure though, if it suits my needs, which are:

  • run 2D and 3D CAD programms
  • MS Office (basically Excel)
  • synchronizing my iPod Classic (the music files are stored on a mobile hard-drive)

I'm aware of the fact, that I could use "regular" ubuntu-apps, but that would break the promising gui-concept. I found winConn to run MS programms on ubuntu-based OS, but does it adapt the elementary look'n'feel ? Sometimes I have to open CAD-models out of excel-files and vice versa. Is such behaviour supported by winConn?(btw: how stable are winConn running apps any way?)

Beside this I would like to automatically switch between my GPU and the onboard GPU and improve battery time in general.(I'm most likely going to buy myself a T450s with NVIDIA 940m and under Windows NVIDIA optimus takes this part. Is there a similar tool for elementary OS?)

Hard-Drive and mail encryption should be possible as well.

Do you guys think, elementary OS is a fitting OS ?

Ps: I would have asked the elementary developer team itself, but they only link to stack-exchange ;)

  • I don't think this is a "question". Looking at the answer below and the derivate comments, I see this is more a discussion topic that could be handled in elementary OS subreddit.
    – Jorge
    Aug 13, 2015 at 16:22
  • please specify what you need to do with excel there are many FOSS replacements available but since you might have a special need of excel then you would have to run it with WINE Aug 13, 2015 at 16:38
  • Mainly it is the combination of Excel and AutoCAD 3D which is used at the company I'm about to join as intern (They create files with excel and open them directly with AutoCad or the other way around).
    – krouch
    Aug 18, 2015 at 12:51

1 Answer 1


2D and 3D CAD: Yes, I would recommend FreeCAD!

MS Office: There are ways to use Microsoft Office with Linux but it runs really bad, have a look here. I would recommend using LibreOffice, it is faster, has a clean UI and works great on elementary!

iPod Classic synchronizing: There are many music players for linux that list iPod support as a feature, like Clementine, Amorak etc., but as I do not have an iPod I can't try it out by myself. Still, I am very sure you will find one that works!

Most regular ubuntu apps look just fine with elementary! If you have to open many proprietary formats, it might be a good idea to keep a small Windows partition just in case.

Full hard drive encryption is suppurted out of the box, you can set it up in the installation process. Email encryption is really easy to set up, all you need is Thunderbird and a plugin.

I would say: Go for it! :-)

  • First of all thank you, for taking the effort to answer my question. I think, I have to be more precisely. I want to use the default apps (noise for music, geary as mail-client), thats why I would choose elementary OS at all. So does Noise support iPod-synchronization and is there an pgp-encryption add-on for geary?
    – krouch
    Aug 13, 2015 at 10:25
  • Geary does not support pgp encryption yet (although it is planned since long time), Noise should support iPod synchronization, but again, I can't try it. Personally, I do not use many of the built-in apps (noise from time to time), but still love elementary for its incredible perfomance and great look. Aug 13, 2015 at 10:44
  • The geary part sounds at least promising ;) I like your proposal of freeCad btw. Do you occasionally know, how compatible it is towards AutoCAD files?
    – krouch
    Aug 13, 2015 at 10:51
  • Yeah I do :-) To wrap it up: Standard AutoCAD format is DWG, and it is not supported by FreeCAD, you will need a 3rd party software to convert it to a compatible format. However, AutoCAD can also export to other formats. If you save your AutoCAD file in DXF format, there will be no problem importing and editing it in FreeCAD, there is no real advantage in using DWG. From my experience, this always works better than using some other software to convert from DWG to another format. I would ask the author of the file to send it to you in DXF format (it is just a click of a button for them). Aug 13, 2015 at 11:02
  • However, as long as you have acess to a computer with windows and AutoCAD, it is a matter of seconds to convert the file to DXF. Check this site for further info: freecadweb.org/wiki/index.php?title=FreeCAD_and_DWG_Import Aug 13, 2015 at 11:04

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.