Ok! If you had a good budget to build a cloud infrastructure to support small teams (2-5 people) collaborating on projects, with a special focus on academic writing projects, what would you recommend?

I'm thinking Linux-based cloud stuff, so I have in mind:
* nextcloud
* Jitsi
* matrix

and...? Any recommendations?

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Hi, all -- Thanks for the suggestions, ideas, and comments on my question about a FOSS Academic Linux cloud stack.

I wrote up a blog post compiling all the suggestions. I hope I did your comments justice.


Update: I tried Nextcloud Talk video chat today. I was pretty sure it wouldn't work on the virtual machine (2GB ram).

It worked flawlessly for myself and a co-author. I think it's a winner.

@robertwgehl Sounds good. For more technical fields there are also collaborative writing tools based on LaTex and a Jupyter Notebook might be an option.

If you mean company with team, this maybe an option.

This list gives some more writing tool options.

@robertwgehl Might not even need jitsu/matrix if Nextcloud Talk fits the bill, but that might be a matter of taste/preference. Collabora if you want in-browser office-y stuff. Not sure how much planning is involved, but the Deck app in Nextcloud might help.

Something like Gitea if versioning outside of Nextcloud is desirable.

I'm not sure what your group's writing workflow looks like (or whether you already have one to begin with). Can you elaborate?

@doenietzomoeilijk I have my own workflow, but I find that group work varies based on each person. I personally don't like using Google Docs-style browser writing, but I will do it if my collaborator wants to. I would prefer sharing versions of Libreoffice ODTs.

@robertwgehl right, so Libreoffice for offline, Collabora for viewing (and if need be, editing, and if need be, editing with several people at the same time) those ODTs when they're stored in Nextcloud.

@doenietzomoeilijk Basically, I'm just planning on a sort of lab/sandbox to get away from proprietary software or the surveillance companies. So, something flexible, something that someone used to Word or Google Docs can learn quickly.

Sharelatex might also be useful in an academic environment

@robertwgehl If chat federation is not a must-have I can recommend RocketChat. We've been using that for a number of years now and for a small team it's easy to set up and manage and sufficiently feature rich. Only slight concern is that you need to either run your own push notification service (if you want push and don't want to use a 3rd party for that). RC does offer a light integration with your Jitsi which offers a nice convenience.

@robertwgehl nextcloud does chat + group video calls, kanban project boards, document hosting + live collaborative editing (with collabora online)

@VickyRampin @robertwgehl I have almost this exact stack deployed.

we switched from nextcloud talk to matrix+jitsi because the client apps and behaviour never fit properly with other people on the team.

I definitely suggest installing the collabora server though. a killer app for people used to the 'google docs' experience.

@robertwgehl I’d suggest #XMPP instead of Matrix (which is what Jitsi uses anyway)..

Server is a bit better on resources…

Now you can use #Movim on top of XMPP to get a Facebook replacement 👍

@robertwgehl maybe I would add to this list overleaf[¹] if you use LaTeX. And a wiki to share common knowledge, but I don't have any suggestion here.

You could take a look at this to get inspiration about what you could need:


@robertwgehl i have spun up and run all three of those on both local and cloud servers. Id say on balance nextcloud is prolly your best use case match. Its a bit overkill as it has so many app options, but I found for a small collab group it ticked all the boxes and like element/matrix had solid apps easy enough for the less technically inclined to hop right in. I will note you need a couple next apps on a phone to do what element does. But web based, rather intuitive experience.

@robertwgehl and specifically where nextcloud sounds better than matrix for you is the granularity of file access and version control

@robertwgehl It might be useful to have a wiki type thing? I've used Bookstack which is kinda similar to Confluence. It's simpler but it does the job

@robertwgehl Perhaps Mattermost or Rocketchat as the open, self-hosted Slack alternative?

@robertwgehl perhaps Rocket.Chat instead of Matrix/Element (that latter is federated and that's cool, but I find even geeks often find the UX a bit confusing). Also maybe and . Also note that with things like @cloudron you don't even need a good budget so really easily install (and keep updated) over 100 app. DM for a referral if interested :) (see also coming soon from @uniteddiversity )

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