Linux users are not a homogeneous group. Everyone has different needs and wants. There are those who embraced free software as part of a political ideology, some who use it for economic reasons (although if they could, they would be Mac users), others because it is imposed on them and, finally, those of us who use it because it seems better to us.
This difference causes some readers to take offense when we recommend Microsoft products (For some reason, Google does not seem to bother them as much, although its monopolistic practices leave Microsoft's worst moments reduced to unimportant shenanigans). According to them, we should be the parish newspaper of the Free Software religion and only talk about "heretics" to lash out at them.
My opinion is that we should celebrate that there are alternatives, and let everyone decide what they want to use.
I am a huge admirer of The Document Foundation's work and its efforts to give users back control of their documents. As a blogger I have been writing about LibreOffice since they were spun off from OpenOffice, and I use this office suite from the moment an update to a pre-release version of Ubuntu removed OpenOffice and installed it.
But At the time of writing, I like the best to use the online version of Office from Microsoft Edge.
Of course I know the privacy implications. You would never use it to write something you don't want to share with the NSA or the FBI. However, when it comes to creating or viewing the documents that ordinary users usually work with, it seems to me the best option.
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Why am I talking about the combination of Microsoft 365 and Edge?
La online version of Office it works with any browser, but much better in Chrome than in Firefox. However, on Chrome-based browsers other than Edge, you have to install additional plugins to do things like copy and paste from the mouse
Although Edge for Linux It is in the testing phase, both the Dev version and the beta version (a little more stable) it works smoothly. You just have to download the package in DEB or RPM format and install it with your distribution's package manager. The installation process will add a repository that will keep the browser up to date.
What is Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 is the company's response to the number of users that switched to Google Docs and Workspaces. They are basically versions of your most common applications to use in the cloud. In many cases for free.
The applications included are:
- OneNote (Hierarchical Multimedia Notes)
- Sway (Creation of content and other documents with strong visual impact)
- Outlook (Contacts)
- OneDrive (Cloud Storage)
Why does it seem like a good alternative?
First I like the fact that it is multi-device. The mobile application thas optical character recognition functionality. For someone as short-sighted as I am, the possibility of taking a photo of a menu or poster and being able to enlarge the typography to read it is essential. OCR works with both Word and Excel, this makes it ideal for updating price lists from paper.
It is also great to be able to work while traveling on the outline of a document and finish it on your computer when you arrive.
Regarding the web version, although I am quite a good typist, my thoughts tend to go faster than my fingers so errors often occur.
In this regard, The editor makes it easy to spot typos, grammatical errors and, if that matters to you, discriminating language or sensitive geopolitical references. It also allows you to control whether you are clear, concise or are plagiarizing Internet content.
Confinement due to the pandemic made collaborative remote work fashionable. And con Microsoft 365 it is possible to edit in real time any document with another person
Although OneDrive, the cloud storage service, does not have a native client for Linux (As much as GNOME Online Accounts promises that it can be used) using Rsync it is possible to integrate it into the file manager of our distribution as if it were just another connected disk.