Is Linux Mint the best distro? It may be the only distro

What is the best Linux distro? There are tons of articles, YouTube videos, and social media posts dedicated to this subject. Ubuntu, Elementary, Pop!_OS, and Zorin OS are a few that can consistently be found in best of lists.

Another one that is usually number one or two on many lists is Linux Mint. This distro has three user interfaces that are similar to Windows: Cinnamon, XFCE, and MATE. These are some reasons why these versions of the operating system are considered to be the best distro:

  • Users can play DVDs on computers running one of these without having to install additional software.
  • They don’t have annoying update warnings that most operating systems flash before their users’ eyes
  • It also comes with unique applications that other distros don’t have and runs some applications a little better.
    • Warpinator, for example, allows users to share documents with other Linux Mint users on the same network.
    • An example of an application that works better is Insync. This application, that syncs Google and Microsoft accounts with different desktop operating systems, will run on almost any Linux distro. However, installing it places an indicator in the Linux Mint menubar that tells if the application is up-to-date, still syncing, or if there is an error. The only other distro that this indicator installs on is Ubuntu.

However, I have another reason why I consider it to be the best distro. It is the most important reason (at least for my situation).

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OnlyOffice a collaboration tool for all users

Many Linux users may believe they only have one choice when it comes to an office suite. LibreOffice is the only one they know about. It also is an office suite that those who are new to Linux can try on Windows or Mac before switching.

OnlyOffice is another office suite that works equally on these operating systems. It consists of three application that are common to any office suite: word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation. Like LibreOffice, the applications work offline. They have the features to create and edit professional documents, but they are not as powerful as LibreOffice’s applications.

OnlyOffice also doesn’t work on 32-bit systems or ARM processors, like LibreOffice can.

OnlyOffice is an office suite that works on Windows, Mac OS, and just about every Linux distro. Here version 6.0.2 is shown on Linux Mint 20.

However, OnlyOffice is a much better tool for collaborating with others. Linux users can collaborate with colleagues using Mac or Windows computers through the editors, seeing changes as someone else types them. LibreOffice users can’t work on documents with other LibreOffice users like this.

The reason why is that it is more than a set of applications that can be installed on an operating system. The applications also have versions that can be accessed through the cloud. Individuals and organizations can access them by signing up for OnlyOffice accounts or by installing them on servers they control.

These server applications can be accessed through any Web browser, on any operating system. The online version of OnlyOffice offers more applications than the three that can be installed on desktops. Click here to learn more about OnlyOffice.

The office suite that can be installed on operating systems, known as desktop-editors, can connect to those OnlyOffice accounts. They also can connect to ownCloud and Nextcloud accounts. Users can access documents stored in these accounts and work on them with others inside the desktop editors.

OnlyOffice is only available on computers with Intel or AMD processors, but users can install it on just about any computer built in the past 20 years, with just about any operating systems. It also is available through the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Operating systems

There are multiple versions of the desktop editors. The current version is 6.0.2, and it works on most operating systems. Older versions are also available. Several of them can be downloaded from the desktop-editors download page.

Windows

The page has two downloads. One is for 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. There is also one for older versions of Windows.

Version 6.0.2 is available for Windows 7 and later. For those who still have Windows XP or Vista, OnlyOffice has an up-to-date version of the suite. Version 4.8.7 that was updated in November 2020 is available

Mac OS

Version 6.0.2 is available for 10.11 and later.

Linux

For Linux, there are several different ways to install OnlyOffice. The office suite can be installed on just about Linux distro that is running on a computer with an Intel or AMD processor that is 64-bit.

Snap and Flathub

Most Linux distros have access to the Snap Store or Flathub Store. One or both of them is preinstalled on several of them. It is also easy to install either one by entering a few commands in a Terminal application on distros that don’t come with them.

Ubuntu, Zorin, and several Ubuntu-based operating systems sponsored by Canonical, the organization behind Ubuntu, come with Snap as part of their software centers. Zorin, Linux Mint, and Elementary OS are a few distros with FlatHub preinstalled.

  • Click here to learn how to install Flathub on various operating systems. Most distros not on this list have pages explaining what commands will install Flathub. For example, here it is how to install it on Manjaro.
  • Click here to learn how to install the Snap Store.

The Snap and Flathub stores have the latest version of the desktop editors, currently version 6.0.2. The Snap store also contains version 5.4 that can be installed on servers.

Packages

In addition to these two stores, DEB and RPM packages can be downloaded and installed from the OnlyOffice desktop editor page. There are two versions for DEB, which what Debian and Ubuntu-based systems use. One version is for Debian 8 and Ubuntu 14.04 and later. The other is for Debian 7 and Ubuntu 12.04.

The third package is for CentOS 7 and other systems that use the RPM package manager.

AppImage

OnlyOffice is also offered in the AppImage format. An AppImage is different from the other formats discussed above because it does not need to be installed to be run. There is no need to install a package or install an entire store before installing an application.

Version 5.6.4, an older version of the suite, is available as an AppImage.

Here are the steps for setting up the OnlyOffice AppImage:

  1. Download OnlyOffice by clicking the download for the AppImage on this page.
  2. After it is downloaded, go to the folder where it is stored.
  3. Right-click on the application icon.
  4. Click Properties.
  5. In the window that appears, click the Permissions tab.
  6. In the Permissions tab, click all the Access drop-down menus and select Read and Write in the menus that appear.
  7. Put a check in the Execute checkbox.
  8. Close the window.
  9. Double-click the icon to launch the application.

This is one of the easiest ways to run OnlyOffice. The application works best when it is installed directly on the drive the operating system is installed on. It is more difficult to change the permissions when the application is downloaded to a USB stick or other external drive.

Preinstalled

OnlyOffice comes preinstalled on several different distros:

Conclusion

While OnlyOffice doesn’t have as many features as LibreOffice, one of the most popular cross-platform suites on the market, it does collaboration much better. It gives Linux users, Mac users, and Windows users the capability to collaborate with each other on documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Users can’t do this in LibreOffice.

OnlyOffice works offline as well. It is available on just about any operating system that can run on a 64-bit Inter or AMD processor.