Sascha Nürnberger
Blog Post

Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft Office for Linux

Posted 19 Jun1 2019
Looking for Microsoft Office in Linux? Here are the best free and open source alternatives to Microsoft Office for Linux. Office Suites are a mandatory part of any operating system. It is difficult to imagine using a desktop OS without office software. While Windows has MS Office Suite and Mac OS X has its own iWork apart from lots of other Office Suites especially meant for these OS, Linux too has some arrows in its quiver.

Best desktop distros

In this article, I list the best Microsoft Office alternatives for Linux. Open source alternatives to Microsoft Office for Linux Before we see the MS Office alternatives, let’s first see what you look for in a decent office suite: I know that Microsoft Office offers a lot more than these three tools but in reality, you would be using these three tools most of the time. It’s not that open source office suites are restricted to have only these three products. Some of them offer additional tools as well but our focus would be on the above-mentioned tools.Let’s see what office suits for Linux have we got here:

Apache OpenOffice

Apache OpenOffice or simply OpenOffice has a history of name/owner change. It was born as Star Office in 1999 by Sun Microsystems which later renamed it as OpenOffice to pit it against MS Office as a free and open source alternative. When Oracle bought Sun in 2010, it discontinued the development of OpenOffice after a year. And finally it was Apache who supported it and it is now known as Apache OpenOffice. Apache OpenOffice is available for a number of platforms that includes Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Unix, BSD. It also includes support for MS Office files apart from its own OpenDocument format. The office suite contains the following applications: Writer, Calc, Impress, Base, Draw, Math.

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Feng Office

Feng Office was previously known as OpenGoo. It is not your regular office suite. It is entirely focused on being an online office suite like Google Docs. In other words, it’s an open source collaboration platform. There is no desktop version available so if you are looking to using it on a single Linux desktop, you are out of luck here. On the other hand, if you have a small business, an institution or some other organization, you may try to deploy it on the local server.

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Siag Office

Siag is an extremely lightweight office suite for Unix-Like systems that can be run on a 16 MB system. Since it is very light-weight, it lacks many of the features that are found in a standard office suite. But small is beautiful, ain’t it? It has all the necessary function of an office suite that could “just work” on lightweight Linux distributions. It comes by default in Damn Small Linux.

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Calligra Suite

Calligra, previously known as KOffice, is the default Office suite in KDE. It is available for Linux and FreeBSD system with support for Mac OS X and Windows. It was also launched for Android. but unfortunately, it’s not available for Android anymore. It has all the application needed for an office suite along with some extra applications such as Flow for flow charts and Plane for project management. Calligra has generated quite a noise after their recent developments and it may be seen as an alternative to LibreOffice.

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Relatively a new player in the market, ONLYOFFICE is an office suite more focused on the collaborative part. Enterprises (and even individuals) can deploy it on their own server to have a Google Docs like collaborative office suite. Don’t worry. You don’t have to bother about installing it on a server. There is a free and open source desktop version of ONLYOFFICE. You can even get .deb and .rpm binaries to easily install it on your desktop Linux system.

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When Oracle decided to discontinue the development of OpenOffice, it was The Document Foundation who forked it and gave us what is known as Libre-Office. Since then a number of Linux distributions have replaced OpenOffice for LibreOffice as their default office application. It is available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X which makes it easy to use in a cross-platform environment. Same as Apache OpenOffice, this too includes support for MS Office files apart from its own OpenDocument format. It also contains the same applications as Apache OpenOffice. You can also use LibreOffice as a collaborative platform using Collabora Online. Basically, LibreOffice is a complete package and undoubtedly the best Microsoft Office alternative for Linux, Windows and macOS.

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