SoftMaker is offering its premium cross-platform office product for free to educational institutes and teachers. Students can also get a massive discount.
Note: SoftMaker is not an open source software.
There are many great FOSS and even proprietary office suites available for the Linux desktop. Whether you use LibreOffice, WPS, OpenOffice, Calligra, or ONLYOFFICE, you can always find something that suits your needs.
In fact, as Linux users, we are spoiled. Apart from native Microsoft Office support, we pretty much have access to all of the best office suites there are. We can even stick to Microsoft’s ecosystem via Microsoft Online if we so choose, and on top of that, we obviously have access to Google’s office suite.
But, unlike us Linux users, not everyone is as lucky as we are when it comes to choices: namely students. If you are a student, you are most likely locked into either Google or Microsoft’s offerings by your school, regardless of what your preference is.
Softmaker office products are now free for teachers and educational institutes
Since SoftMaker is not FOSS, I prefer to use LibreOffice. But given a choice between Microsoft Office and SoftMaker, I would choose SoftMaker any day, especially for school.
As a product, SoftMaker is both simpler than MS Office and more beautiful than LibreOffice (or any other FOSS office suite for that matter). It is intuitive, easy to configure, and easy work on.
This educational package will include their latest versions of the word processor TextMaker 2018, the spreadsheet application PlanMaker 2018, and the presentation application Presentations 2018. SoftMaker even claims to have full MS Office support, so transitioning to Softmaker shouldn’t be too difficult.
The only issue I have come across in my time using SoftMaker is the fact that it is proprietary. And now that it is free for schools all around the world, Microsoft and Google may have found a worthy opponent to the duopoly they have on the educational system.
Students also get a huge discount
This release does come with a small downside though. Even though the product is free for teachers and schools, students will still have to pay for the product. SoftMaker says that when purchased in bulk, “students receive the package for a small processing fee of only US$4.99/EUR 9.95 per license instead of the regular price of US$49.99/EUR 69.95.”
Now, that is a HUGE discount but is it enough to get a decent foothold in the market? Only time will tell.
Getting SoftMaker educational offer
You can order for the SoftMaker educational offer. When you place the order, you must prove your eligibility. You should see the acceptable supporting documents before you finalize the order.
If you are not eligible for the educational offer and don’t want to buy the SoftMaker premium version, you can also try the FreeOffice, the lite version of SoftMaker with limited features.
Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and if you are interested in trying SoftMaker for yourself, they offer a Windows, Mac, and Linux version.