Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft’s stance for decades was that community creation and sharing of communal code (later to be known as free and open source software) represented a direct attack on their business. Their battle with Linux stretches back many years. Back in 2001, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously tarnished Linux “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches”. Microsoft also initiated its “Get the Facts” marketing campaign from mid-2003, which specifically criticized Linux server usage, total cost of ownership, security, indemnification and reliability. The campaign was widely criticized for spreading misinformation.

However, in recent years, there has been a partial shift by Microsoft to embrace the open source software paradigm. For example, some of their code is open sourced. Examples include Visual Studio Code, .NET Framework, Atom, and PowerShell. They have also made investments in Linux development, server technology and organizations including the Linux Foundation and Open Source Initiative. They have made acquisitions such as Xamarin to help mobile app development, and GitHub a hugely popular code repository for open source developers. And they have partnered with Canonical, the developers of the popular Ubuntu distro. But many developers remain hugely sceptical about Microsoft and their apparent shift to embrace open source.

This series looks at the best free and open source alternatives to products and services offered by Microsoft.

Microsoft OneDriveMicrosoft OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) is a file hosting service and synchronization service operated by Microsoft as part of its web version of Office. Users can upload Microsoft Office documents to OneDrive. Here’s our recommended free and open source alternatives to OneDrive.

Our recommendation is NextCloud, an open source service that lets you store files, photos, videos, calendar, contacts, and more. You can host it on your own server or use a recommended provider.

Nextcloud
Click image for full size

What makes NextCloud really stand out is that it’s expandable with hundreds of apps, offers good security with two-factor authentication, and makes it easy to access, sync, and share your data.

Another option that gets our firm recommendation is CryptPad. This is a realtime collaborative editor, spreadsheet and presentation creator alongside encrypted storage. CryptPad is an open technology that you can run on your own machines. It doesn’t rely on a central point of authority.

Cryptpad

We also support Syncthing, a popular continuous file synchronization program. It synchronizes files between two or more computers in real time, safely protected from prying eyes. It’s easy to use, offers good security for your valuable data, and tries to minimise user interaction.


Nextcloud is written in PHP and JavaScript. CryptPad is written in JavaScript.

Learn PHP with our recommended free PHP books and free PHP tutorials. Learn JavaScript with our recommended free JavaScript books and free JavaScript tutorials.

Syncthing is written in Go. Learn this language with our recommended free Go books and free Go tutorials.


All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Microsoft's Products and Services
Microsoft BingBing offers search services, including web, video, image and map search products. It's developed using ASP.NET.
Microsoft DynamicsDynamics 365 is a product line of enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management intelligent business applications.
Microsoft GitHubGitHub is a distributed version control and source code management functionality service. It includes non-Git elements.
Microsoft OfficeOffice is a family of client software, server software, and services. Microsoft has promoted Office 365 as the primary means of obtaining Office.
Microsoft OneDriveOneDrive is a file hosting service and synchronization service. Users can upload Microsoft Office documents to OneDrive.
Microsoft OneNoteOneNote is a note-taking program for free-form information gathering and collaboration. It gathers users’ notes, drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries.
Microsoft OutlookOutlook is a personal information manager that's primarily an email client. It includes calendaring, task managing, contact managing, note-taking, journal logging, and web browsing.
Microsoft ProjectProject lets you develop schedules, assign resources, track progress, manage budget, and more. It's part of the Microsoft Office enterprise project management product.
Microsoft PublisherPublisher is a desktop publishing application with focus on page layout and design. Use text, photos and links to make professional publications personal.
Microsoft SwiftKeySwiftKey is a virtual keyboard app for Android. SwiftKey learns from previous typed text and outputs predictions based on currently inputted text and what it has learned.
Microsoft To DoTo Do is a cloud-based task management application. It allows users to manage their tasks from a smartphone, tablet and computer.
Microsoft VisioVisio is a diagramming and vector graphics application. Database modeling in Visio revolves around a Database Model Diagram (DMD).
Microsoft YammerYammer is a social-networking platform for organizations. It’s a closed platform sometimes described as Facebook for businesses.
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