Office Suite Alternatives to Microsoft

Posted on 2015-01-07
Last Modified: 2015-01-18

We have been told that Microsoft is No longer offering a "Out Right Purchase" of Office for Terminal Servers.
We don't want to have to Pay $7,000 a Year for a Product we only upgrade every 6 - 8 Years. (Subscription will cost between $42,000 and $56,000 over that time!)

What Options to we have?
Is there a Free or Paid Version of Software that will Run on Windows Terminal Server that has simular Capabilities to Microsoft Office?

We Mainly Use
Outlook (Exchange Accounts)

Question by:p-plater
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 40537054
the 2 first one i would think of are:

SoftMaker’s FreeOffice


Expert Comment

ID: 40537056
try looking at the option of office 365, if thats not good, some of the free office alternatives are;
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 40537057
Striker007, i'm glad to see my 2 options as the 2 first software choices in your link.

and you are also right for 365. expensive but still a good option, and it is Microsoft.
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Author Comment

ID: 40537063
365 is what they are telling us we have to upgrade to.

Do either of those Products Run on Terminal Server? - The Requirements don't state that they do.
Also they don't have and Email Capabilities.

Has any one had experience with any of these on a Terminal Server?
Or an Email Client on Terminal Server?

Expert Comment

ID: 40537069
365 is a good option if it falls in your budget....

if you are not techincal then it will be better to go with office 365, other products will work, but will require troubleshooting...
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40537073
I think your analysis is incorrect.

People using 8 year old Office on Windows 8.1 sometimes find issues. So being cheap and waiting 8 years often causes more issues and costs more money than you save.

If you purchase a subscription, you will always get the newest version.

Windows 10 is out in a few months. What of Office 2003 or 2007 then.

You are measuring apples and oranges.
LVL 78

Expert Comment

ID: 40537083
Office365 has a desktop version that needs to be installed on the TS,
Each office365 has the right to install/activate  on 5 systems.

And will be valid so long as the subscription is being paid.

The issue as you referenced, your setup is such that it relies on outlook to which exchange/ad pushes ......

One option deals with trying to leverage your server/os/application licensing to lower your subscription costs.  Presumably in a large organization as yours,you are using volume licensing to possibly include ................
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 40537105
So at the end, the decision for any software should come down more to how well it fits your enteprise needs. You might consider installing two or more office suites to allow users the opportunity to find the tool that works best for them, but for organizations that share a lot of files, you’re likely better off standardizing with a single suite.

Microsoft being the most popular productivity suites available versus free alternative.
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 40537113
365 is what they are telling us we have to upgrade to.

Do either of those Products Run on Terminal Server? - The Requirements don't state that they do.
Also they don't have and Email Capabilities.

Has any one had experience with any of these on a Terminal Server?
Or an Email Client on Terminal Server?
Microsoft only recently announced support for Office 365 in a Terminal Server environment using a new featured called shared computer activation. This does however require the more expensive Office 365 ProPlus version, and your Terminal Servers must also be running at minimum 2008 R2.

You'll need to do some reading on the new shared computer activation feature if you want to look at going down this route. See here:

Deployment steps can be found here:

Have you looked at Volume Licensing (which is also a one-time fee)? Try the Volume Licensing Buyer's Guide for Office for rough pricing which can be found here:
LVL 12

Accepted Solution

Alan3285 earned 500 total points
ID: 40537162

About 90% of our staff use Libre Office (Version right now I believe) - totally free and open source.

We also have in installed on TS and it works fine there too (about 10 total users, I would guess maybe concurrently only five, but not sure with 4GB RAM - I think it is WS2008R2 but I can't check from here to be sure).

Never had any complaints or issues that are related to the actual software (as opposed to users not knowing how to do something, and that would have been the same on any office suite).

We did have to configure the SYSUSERCONFIG environment variable.  I found a reference to that here (maybe where we picked it up from in the first place!) and I see that link also has another link to using Libre Office in a corporate / enterprise environment, so there might be other things that we had to do.



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