Bug reports to that effect:
http://bugs.winehq.org/show_bug.cgi?id=32697 and http://www.codeweavers.com/support/tickets/browse/?ticket_id=931759
UPDATE: I've since tried this using CrossOver 12 as well. The installation goes much more smoothly (the .exe file works fine), and you basically don't need to do anything except click 'Next' a couple of time. The Equation editor still doesn't work though. There's a free 15 day trial version of CrossOver available at http://www.codeweavers.com/products/. If running Office 2003 is your goal there seems to be little difference between CrossOver and Wine. However, I ended up buying a copy of crossover anyway since at this stage of my life and career it's not that much money and by supporting crossovre you indirectly support wine.
Since I would guess at the lack of Office for Linux as the single most problematic issue facing those wishing to switch from Windows or Mac to Linux, and since it would be something attempted very early on in someone's experience of Linux, it doesn't hurt to show the steps in detail -- especially since there are a few stumbling stones.
The linux community like to suggest new adopters to run Word under Wine, or better yet, to use libre/openoffice. It's an open secret that there are issues though. Most casual users won't notice most of the time, but problems do exist.
In the particular case of Office 2003 under Wine, my main issue is that there's no way of installing Microsoft Equation Editor from what I can see, and it is a feature I do use when publishing together with other people (sweet, sweet TeX...). Another issue is that figures tend not to show up well or at all (complaints about memory -- most of our collaborative files are >5 Mb) when I use Word under Wine. These aren't issues when running in a virtual machine, which is the way I usually suffer through my bouts with Office.
An added head ache is this: http://wine.1045685.n5.nabble.com/Bug-26358-New-Office-2003-installer-crashes-immediately-td3414859.html and http://bugs.winehq.org/attachment.cgi?id=35449. Using any of the versions of Wine above I just can't install using the setuppro.exe. This bug report ( http://bugs.winehq.org/show_bug.cgi?id=31942) showed me the simple solution though: using pro11.msi instead.
Anyway, just be aware of the limitations -- you can't install office, then do wine control, "add/remove programs", and add e.g. Microsoft Equation Editor. Likewise, if you try to be smart and do a custom install, and choose advanced customization, the installation will fail and complain about missing CAB files (in the case of equation editor: 01561403.cab). I've also tried installing MathType 4, which shows up under Objects, but is reported as missing when selected.
Otherwise this works fine.
To install the official wheezy version of wine:
sudp dpkg --add-architecture i386 sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install wine wine-bin:i386 libwine-bin:i386 libwine:i386
You can also see the following posts on this blog for how to install/compile wine:
1.5.21 (using multiarch)
1.5.19 (using the dev.carbon-project.org rules)
1.5.5 (using the dev.carbon-project.org rules)
1.5.5 (downloading precompiled debs)
For this installation I've used Wine 1.5.19.
First set up cabextract and winetricks and install corefonts etc.
sudo apt-get install cabextract ttf-mscorefonts-installer wget http://winetricks.org/winetricks chmod +x winetricks ./winetricks corefonts fontfix
If you have Office 2003 as an OFFICE11.iso file (likely if you're at e.g. a university) then loop mount that file
In the directory where your iso file is:
sudo mkdir /media/OFFICE11 sudo mount -o loop OFFICE11 /media/OFFICE11mount: warning: /media/OFFICE11/ seems to be mounted read-only.wine msiexec /i /media/OFFICE11/pro11.msi
If you get any questions about Gecko or Mono, go ahead and let them install. Anyway, this launches the installation -- just do what you'd do under Windows, with the following caveats:
Important: You can't go back and install missing programs, so install all that you want from the beginning. Also, if you try to do advanced customisation and install Equation Editor (maybe other programs too) the installation will fail and complain about a missing CAB file. It hasn't always been so apparently.
Launch it as any other gnome or kde program, or from the terminal do
wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Microsoft\ Office/OFFICE11/WINWORD.EXE