The Top 5 Open-Source Microsoft 365 Alternatives for Linux

It’s a well-known fact that Microsoft 365 is the default productivity solution for many companies and its range of features is truly impressive. It includes such functionalities as document editing, real-time collaboration, file sharing, project management, email, calendaring, and video conferencing. In other words, Microsoft 365 provides both personal and corporate users with all the essential applications that allow them to get their work done effortlessly and quickly.

However, the subscription model and cost of this software as well as its security standards and policies are not appropriate for everyone, and some companies start looking for more affordable solutions.

In this article, we have put together some best open-source Microsoft 365 alternatives that offer a vast array of productivity features and can be deployed on a Linux machine.

1. Zimbra Collaboration

Zimbra Collaboration is an open-source web-based application platform that can be deployed both as an on-premises private cloud or as an off-premises public cloud service. By default, it includes an email server and web client.

Zimbra Collaboration Suite
Zimbra Collaboration Suite

Designed for enterprise deployment with the purpose of integrating a variety of collaboration tools, this software offers an innovative messaging experience that helps boost your productivity.

Zimbra offers advanced email, calendaring, and collaboration capabilities, and has the advantage of being simple to deploy and use. In fact, the Zimbra project incorporates several open-source projects under one roof and also offers audio and video conferencing for better communication and a complete file-sharing system for convenient file management.

If you integrate Zimbra Docs, you will be able to create, edit and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations right inside the Zimbra web client and share them with other users in real-time.

Zimbra Advantages:

  • Integration with Slack, Dropbox, and Zoom.
  • Modern, responsive user interface.
  • Mobile synchronization.
  • Highest compatibility with the existing desktop email clients.

[ You might also like: Setting Up Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) on RHEL/CentOS 7/8 ]

2. Twake

Twake is an open-source digital workplace and a collaboration platform with a focus on increasing productivity and organizational efficiency within both small and big teams. This solution offers a wide range of collaborative tools and apps including text messaging, group channels, task management, calendaring, real-time document co-authoring, and video conferencing.

Twake-Collaboration-Platform
Twake-Collaboration-Platform

Twake allows users to keep all their documents and data in one place, create and manage projects using a single interface and integrate various collaborative tools. At the moment, you can connect more than 1500 third-party apps to your platform, including ONLYOFFICE, Google Drive, Slack, Twitter, etc. If you have enough knowledge and expertise, you can even develop your own plugin for any application you need using the public API.

When it comes to communication, this software has all the essential features. You can create individual discussion channels for external users and interact with them even if they don’t use Twake. Traditional text messaging in group and personal chats is also available.

If you need collaborative features, Twake makes it possible to create, edit and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real-time. The good news is that it is compatible with Microsoft Office and Google Docs files and also supports ODF formats, which is great for Linux users.

Twake Advantages:

  • Data encryption.
  • More than 1,500 available integrations.
  • Desktop apps.

3. EGroupware

EGroupware is an open-source web-based suite that includes a number of useful productivity apps, such as calendaring, contact management, CRM, tasks, emails, project management as well as an online file server. These basic features come with a chat messaging tool, a video conferencing client, and remote desktop modules for effective collaboration and teamwork.

EGroupware Groupware Software
EGroupware Groupware Software

EGroupware allows users to keep all information and files in one centralized location with access via any desktop browser, regardless of the operating system. There are no specialized mobile applications but the existing mobile version runs quite smoothly on any smartphone or tablet.

If you integrate Collabora Online, you will be able to edit and co-author text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with other people from your team online. The file-sharing feature not only makes it possible to share files internally but also involves external parties (for example, partners, customers, or employees). The built-in collection of document templates allows you to simplify your tasks and get your work done quickly.

EGroupware Advantages:

  • Cross-device synchronization.
  • A wide range of configuration and settings options.
  • Versatility.
  • Mobile version.

4. Nextcloud Hub

Nextcloud Hub is an open-source content collaboration platform that is designed for active online interaction without risks and data leaks. The built-in calendar, contacts, email, and other productivity features allow you to get your work done easily. The basic functionality can be significantly increased via integrating a huge amount of third-party apps available on the official marketplace.

Nextcloud Hub - Content Collaboration Platform
Nextcloud Hub – Content Collaboration Platform

Nextcloud Hub is an ideal choice for security-oriented users and teams because it guarantees the highest level of data safety due to a vast array of advanced features and algorithms, such as file access control, encryption, authentication protection, and sophisticated ransomware recovery capabilities.

The platform also makes it possible to share and collaborate on documents, send and receive emails and organize video chats. With Nextcloud Flow, the built-in automation tool, you can improve team collaboration workflows by facilitating most of your repetitive tasks.

If you need an online office suite, you can integrate either ONLYOFFICE Docs or Collabora Online. In any case, you will get all the benefits of real-time document collaboration with file versioning, restore, and retention control.

Nextcloud Hub Advantages:

  • High security.
  • Official marketplace with plenty of third-party apps.
  • Very easy to use.
  • Desktop and mobile applications.

5. ONLYOFFICE Workspace

ONLYOFFICE Workspace is an open-source collaborative office that comes with a set of productivity apps for efficient team management. This self-hosted software makes it possible to organize a secure working environment for teams and companies of any size.

ONLYOFFICE Workspace
ONLYOFFICE Workspace

ONLYOFFICE Workspace includes collaborative online editors for text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations integrated with a productivity platform. The office suite is fully compatible with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files and also supports other popular formats (for example, ODF).

In a nutshell, the combined solution is designed for controlling all business processes and allows users to manage and share files, monitor projects, send and receive emails, create customer databases, issue invoices, plan events, etc.

ONLYOFFICE Workspace’s file management system is quite flexible because you can connect third-party storage, such as Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, and kDrive. Other integration options for different purposes (for example, Twilio, DocuSign, Bitly) are also available.

When it comes to document co-authoring, ONLYOFFICE Workspace has all the required features that you would probably like to see in a collaborative office suite. You can share documents with various access permissions (full access, read-only, form filling, commenting, and reviewing), make use of two different co-editing modes, restore previous versions of a document and leave comments for other users.

ONLYOFFICE Workspace Advantages:

  • Highest Microsoft Office compatibility.
  • Free desktop and mobile apps (Android and iOS).
  • Three levels of encryption: at rest, in transit, end-to-end.
  • Cloud version (free tariff plan for teams with up to 4 users).

These are the top 5 open-source alternatives to Microsoft 365 for Linux. The main idea of this article is to highlight the key benefits of each solution so that you can opt for the right software depending on your needs. Do you know any other alternatives that are worth mentioning? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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1 thought on “The Top 5 Open-Source Microsoft 365 Alternatives for Linux”

  1. Thanks for the inclusion in the Top5 and the very good short description of EGroupware.

    Well done, thank you Sergey!

    We also see EGroupware as an alternative to Microsoft 365. By putting together different components and because we are only a small team, the integration/continuous interface is not the same as with Microsoft, but we offer the users, but also especially the operators/admins of EGroupware a lot more possibilities. This all wants to be discovered!

    I have one correction:
    You can integrate Collabora Online, not Collabora Office.

    Collabora Office is the desktop version (of LibreOffice + long-term support) and Collabora Online is the online version of LibreOffice(Online).

    Here are the relevant links:
    Collabora Office: https://www.collaboraoffice.com/solutions/collabora-office/
    Collabora Online: https://www.collaboraoffice.com/collabora-online/
    Our website for this: https://www.egroupware.org/en/online-office
    References in our forum to the integration page and my (old) lecture: https://help.egroupware.org/t/de-uk-collabora-neue-integrationsseite-new-integration-page/74715

    I would like to add a few points, which mostly go beyond the Microsoft 365 offer:

    One can integrate other web applications (under certain conditions). Like we did with Rocket.Chat or Apache Guacamole (Remote Desktop): https://help.egroupware.org/t/uk-kielux-2020-jitsi-and-apache-guacamole-in-egroupware-video-and-presentation-slides/75298

    You can develop your own application on the basis of EGroupware and use functions such as user administration, document generation, file storage, sending mail, … with it. There are users who create their business software with it.

    With the upcoming version 21.1, EGroupware will get a Kanban board (in the EPL version) and other great functions: https://help.egroupware.org/t/uk-presentation-video-and-slides-lecture-grazer-linux-tage-2021-new-in-egroupware-21-1/75878

    EGroupware can be installed as Community-Edition On-Premises or elsewhere. The professional version with some more business functions can also be operated by yourself and we also offer this version as SaaS (from Germany): https://www.egroupware.org/en/pricing

    The versions and the operating location can be changed.

    If anyone is interested in writing a larger article on EGroupware, I will gladly support you: [email protected]

    Some flyers can be downloaded here: https://www.egroupware.org/en/community

    For further help and questions please visit our community forum: https://help.egroupware.org

    So far for the moment…

    Many greetings
    Stefan
    EGroupware Community Manager

    Reply

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