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Build your own office suite in the cloud for free with LibreOffice

LibreOffice online is a completely free and open source service provided directly to us by The Document Foundation. Thanks to it we will be able to use the office suite, hosted in the cloud, from anywhere. Unlike other similar platforms, which we can start up very easily simply by having control over any server (either Windows or Linux), in the case of LibreOffice Online things are different, since The Document Foundation does not provide any binary, no embedded system and no file system, in order to get this suite up and running.

Given the complexity of this online platform, The Document Foundation recommends use only LibreOffice Online on a personal level or development, never in business environments. And, if the use in companies is detected (by the number of simultaneous connections), it will show a warning message in which it will warn of the possible dangers.

Although TDF does not provide its own binaries to get the suite up and running on any system, there are several ways to do it. The recommended thing would be to compile the code ourselves, assemble it and start it up. But, since this is generally a very complicated task, we are going to see how to start the suite using other packages prepared by third parties.

Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE)

The online version of LibreOffice has been developed mainly by an external company called “Collabora”. This company has been responsible for migrating the code of the office suite so that it could work in the cloud. And, therefore, it is one of the first that offers us the possibility of using the suite in the cloud in a simple way.

Collabora Online Development Edition is the main project that allows us to build our own suite in the cloud directly using the binaries developed by this company. In addition to being able to mount the suite in the cloud (something that we can do for free, as long as we have the knowledge), we will also be able to request a trial version to test it, and even buy a Collabora Online license to have advantages such as, for example, extended official support, automatic security updates and much more.

We are going to see how we can set up our own LibreOffice in the cloud for free. Thanks to Collabora, we can do it in several different ways:

  • Univention App Center. This method allows us to launch the office suite directly using a NextCloud or ownCloud configuration together with the office suite in the cloud. In this way, we will be able to set up our own personal Google Drive and use it not only to edit documents, but also to store all kinds of files. These configurations can be found ready to use in VMware or VirtualBox, as well as for advanced virtualization platforms such as ESX and KVM.
  • Docker. We will also find a Docker image with Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE). This will allow us to set up our own office suite in the cloud to use it at home, on a personal level, however we want. We simply have to execute, within Docker, the command “docker pull collaborate/code” to download the container and start it up.
  • Linux packages. If we use a Linux distro, Collabora also provides us with a series of already compiled and configured packages with which we can build our own suite in the cloud. These binaries are prepared for Ubuntu and Debian as well as for CentOS and OpenSUSE, as well as for any distro based on any of them.

Finally, if we are very advanced users with a high level of knowledge, we will also be able to launch the office suite in the cloud directly using its source code.

Kopano

If we have never heard of this platform, Kopano is a set of open source collaborative software applications. This platform allows us to set up our own mail and calendar client in the cloud to be able to work more efficiently. And, in addition, it has a series of binaries ready to be able to install our own office suite in the cloud based on LibreOffice on Linux.

Here we can find all the necessary packages to be able to launch the office suite on our computer. Of course, we must bear in mind that the Kopano packages were updated for the last time in 2018, and are designed for both Debian 8 and 9 and Ubuntu 16.04. Therefore, it is an obsolete version that, although it may work, will not do so with the expected security and stability standards, neither for personal nor, much less, professional use.

official docker

If neither of the two previous options convinces us, The Document Foundation also offers us the possibility of launching this suite starting from an official Docker container. To use it, it is necessary to have the Hyper-V virtualization layer enabled on our computer. In addition, we will have to install Docker on both Windows and macOS or Linux, depending on the operating system we use.

We simply have to execute the “docker pull libreoffice/online” command within Docker to download and launch it on our computer. Of course, we must take into account that this official package has not been updated for two years, since for The Document Foundation, LibreOffice Online is not one of its priorities. Therefore, not only will we be using an unupdated version, but we are also unlikely to see new updates to this container.

Other Docker packages

In addition to the official Docker package that we have seen, and the package that Collabora Online offers us to set up our own LibreOffice in the cloud, we can also use other Docker containers specially created, configured and maintained to facilitate the implementation of this suite. .

  • LinuxServer.io. A package that comes configured with everything you need to get up and running in the cloud. It has important security settings and regular feature and security updates.
  • esystemstech. Another package that we can install within our Docker instance to be able to start using The Document Foundation cloud on any system. You are now ready and configured to be able to access your tools from the network.
  • xcgd. This container is designed to be used on any remote server to which we do not have access or have a monitor or keyboard. We will simply connect to it remotely and we will be able to use the programs of the suite.

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