The Document Foundation (TDF), which produces the leading open source office software suite LibreOffice, is on schedule for the release of its plan to offer a cloud version of its software next month. The team released the last update to its 3.4 build on Thursday and is now focused on developing version 3.5 further, but the …
As a business user I think this is wonderful news; they're really raising their standard a /lot/ (keep in mind: I never followed Libreoffice before the OpenOffice fall).
I do hope that they'll also manage to embed access to such cloud services into the office applications themselves; best of both worlds! For example; say people can share templates and such in the cloud; it will be very easy for users if they can access (search & open) those templates straight from within the office application itself.
And that's obviously not mentioning support to store documents onto an online storage medium as well.
The advantage you have when this is embedded in an application (IMO anyway) is that you get the best from both worlds as user. If required you can easily access, edit and re-publish online documents. Or work entirely online (from the "cloud"). BUT... Should your internet connection suddenly fail you can still continue working on stuff residing on your own computer; iow you're not depending on an always available Internet connection.
Alas.. I think this is good news and I hope they keep it up!
Sure; I'm already deeply involved with the 'competition' and simply can't afford to "just" move away (the time that takes alone would be a major investment for me). But that doesn't mean that I don't enthusiastically follow these developments. I'm definitely going to be checking out the upcoming releases again (no, not to check which one is "better", to check how well it works and what has changed, and how and if it could suit some of my customers / friends). IMO people should try that more often; keeping an open mind on these things.
I wouldn't get too excited just yet.
Libre Office like many open source projects doesn't have an architecture workstream. Whilst this isn't too much of a problem with standalone applications, it does become a problem with distributed systems and cloud implementations. Hence expect the first couple of 'cloud' iterations to be exploratory rather than definitive, as without an architecture workstream, there is no real avenue for input from the architectural community.
LO cloud will be indeed critical against the msft office monopoly.
There are some big issues right now with LO:
-Sharing/storage and opening files on the other end.
Which were mentioned on a canonical user study (point 1):
All this can be solved with the LO cloud service (if done correctly).
-No need to know how to download or install LO (done instantly in a browser.).
-Instantly share files.
-No lost documents, they’re always kept in the cloud.
-Even if user has msft office installed, he/she can edit the shared docs easily. No need to open them with msft office or install other offline suites.
-Can still use offline version of LO and share quickly on the web with anyone that has email.
And as you mentioned: the best of both worlds and offiline editing (if no online connection).
As a personal note, my Dad has quit the need for Msft office once he started using online suites like g-docs or zoho (even msft office web). He can also share without fear of the other end not being able to edit or view correctly the docs.
I think he will indeed love LO online (again, if executed correctly).
Finally getting there
I remember talking to someone when it was called Star Office and there were plans of putting it into the cloud or whatever "putting into the cloud" was called back then. It's taken a while but they're getting there eventually.
Bring on the Android version !
All I need next is a Mail app that links to the Calendar App so I don't have to retype meeting notices into a calendar from an email and I will quite happy :)
Have a look at Thunderbird (e-mail) with the Lightening (calendar) plugin. I use Lightening to display and modify my different Google calendars, since you can have calendar files stored on any network location (including the internet). You can convert a calendar event to an email invitation and I think you can have emailed invitations go to your calendar. It's all free so you might as well play with it.
Please direct me to the download page (or Android Market link) where I might obtain Thunderbird for Android.
LibreOffice for Android
If iPad didn't hammer in the last nail in the PC coffin, Android devices will liberate us from being shackled to our chairs & desks.
LibreOffice (LO) for Android will add features & choice. Long live exciting tech!
I want the sponsors of LO to advertise support & service for LO. It will bring them additional revenue & will be indirect advertising for LO.
Re: LibreOffice for Android
Agreed. We are now (almost) where I thought we would soon be 10-15 years ago.
- Free operating system that you can tinker with the code to and which works on everything.
- Free office suite that you can tinker with the code to and which works on everything (though Lotus/Wordperfect compatibility has shifted to Office compatibility now).
- Cheap, powerful devices that range from desktops to laptops to tablets to smartphones able to run the above.
- Worldwide, ubiquitous network and services.
- Virtually everyone from grannies to children having appropriate access to the devices and networks.
All we really need is a bit more government adoption but government IT really is one of those things we should stop throwing money and salesmen at and start throwing geeks at. The "open data" initiatives are a step in the right direction but we still throw billions away on making schools provide themselves with Microsoft software individually. Meanwhile, the kids are all sitting in class with smartphones, have iPads and laptops at home, and could use whatever the hell software you wanted.
To me, if I were a sub-teenager now, I'd be in utopia. Cheap devices that you can change the whole OS on, program on for free, even program for other devices on, and smartphones that you can aim your apps at and that ALL YOUR FRIENDS can then play (who, also, you can talk to at any time of the day or night no matter where they are, and can find new groups of friends in minutes with shared interests), and internet resources to help you do all the above, push it to people and even make money from it.
If I'd had that when I was that age, I *seriously* would never have left the bedroom. I think people underestimate just how much the world has changed recently. Sure, there are still lots of unsolved problems (securing a corporate network against such devices, preventing inappropriate usage, etc.) but for your average person, and your dedicated geek, the world is slowly creeping towards science fiction.
Imagine in your early PC days if someone had said "Oh yeah, and this entire office suite is free and runs exactly the same on this touchscreen device the size of a credit card that anyone can have at a reasonable price, that also happens to be a general purpose computer with an open OS on it and powerful enough to take just about anything you throw at it because we got stuck at about 2-3GHz and haven't really progressed past that yet." You'd have not touched it for being quite obvious vapourware back then.
Re: LibreOffice for Android
Have you seen Overskreen, a browser which floats in its own window in Android? I think Galaxy Note (Tab?) has something similar too, where you can have 2 apps open next to each other. Liberating us from full-screen apps is a prerequisite for liberating us from our PCs.
Re: LibreOffice for Android
Sorry, but I use a computer for 80 hours a week, for everything from work to gaming and have done for the last 15 years (and quite a bit before that too).
Full-screen apps are full-screen for a reason. Sure, at times you use multiple programs / tabs / whatever but mostly that's because it's tricky to align everything you need to see on one screen otherwise. Forcing us all into overlaid, multiple apps isn't progress. There's a reason that the "full-screen, almost all of the time" usage pattern stayed with us and it's not due to lack of multi-tasking (I can remember Lotus Suite, which let you have multiple apps tiled on a DOS screen and working on both - back in the very early 90's before Windows took off).
It's because we need to see as much as possible of what's relevant and as little as possible of what's not. I spend 99% of my time with dozens of apps, all full-screen, each with dozens of sub-tabs, each full-screen, which I switch between at will. Information transference between them is minimal and well-defined and SHOULDN'T require them both onscreen (explorer drag/drop is a pain compared to Copy, Switch, Paste). There's nothing wrong with basic desktop or windowing concepts, we just don't use them to their full capability because, in the end, we're human and they are not and so they can do a lot more than we can handle at once.
And my Samsung Android phone is no exception. The single-most annoying feature, on phones and PC's, is things popping up over others and stealing your focus (either mental or keyboard), and things running "in the background" because they want to run all the time when you don't want them to.
The closest I get to "multi-views" is when programming in Eclipse. One window with code, one with debug information, one with the program. All tiled onto a full-screen because they are ALL relevant. But one minimise command or task-switch and they ALL go away at once, because they are all related. And I have several programmed "full-screen" layouts for code-bashing or debugging, for example. Because some info is relevant at some times and not at others and at other times I want to make FULL use of my screen on the task at hand (e.g. full source code views when I don't have debug windows showing).
In office work? I can't remember the last time I used a "windowed" pane, certainly not for more than a minute or so to compare two ends of a document, etc. Put it this way, I've been using OpenOffice for years instead of MS Office and I don't think I've *ever* used that function in it!
This is a lesson that smartphones have learned. The first thing they can ditch is true multitasking because most people will want to play a game OR make a phone call OR play with their settings, not all at the same time. My girlfriend has the same phone and it drives her mad when she's phoning that it *doesn't* always just go to a simple phone interface (with hang-up) for the entire duration of the call. She doesn't care that she was playing Angry Birds when it rang, or that she might be approaching her limit on the number of texts, or that the GPS has turned off. None of that matters because it's a damn phone in a phone call and the ONLY important functions are phone-call-related at that point. And if you're going to have them, they better be full-bloody-screen so you can read the damn things.
You somehow think that the PC was only full-screen apps - it's not, except by choice. Go look at any typical users usage (one who's found the maximise / minimise buttons preferably, but I can name dozens who still only run one app at a time even if they don't maximise them), go look at professional usage, hell I can spend two minutes lining up a single window where I'd like it. Full-screen, on the focus of the task you are doing. Maybe, just maybe, a statusbar showing the available apps, important cross-application notifications, and a clock (because that is a general-purpose item to the usage of a computer). Now look at the top bar of an Android phone. Same.
There's a reason phones run full-screen. And it's got nothing to do with resource limits. It's to do with usage patterns. Even as far back as Windows CE and Palms this was true.
Liberating us from full-screen apps is just a feature that hardly anyone will use, certainly not effectively. I don't want to spend my life arranging my phone-windows and working out where window X went or got tiled to. It has a small screen - USE IT ALL. If I need to use another program for something else, I'll switch to it and switch back. I can only watch one thing at once, I can only read one line at once, my eyes are not independent and multi-tasking, they are incredibly fast single-tasking units.
Sure, it's "cool" to play YouTube while looking at Google Maps but you can ONLY look at one of them at a time, even if you can hear multiple ones at once. For ALL of the screenshots of that app, I can't find one that I could actually see the point of beyond having a full-screen switched system. Either watch the match or read the papers. You can't do both, and if you're reading the papers, you can STILL hear the match and switch to it if anything interesting happens.
Re: LibreOffice for Android
Except that Android is effectively owned and controlled by Google who are a giant just like Microsoft and Apple.
So there's not total freedom.
Re: LibreOffice for Android
I have to use two applications at once lots and lots and lots of the time. I read documents and write comments in other documents or emails. I copy lots of small chunks of information from one document to another - when doing it by eyeball is far quicker than copying and pasting. I enter information from an email into my calendar. Many of my colleagues use two screens, one for email and one for everything else, for just this reason.
I find the full-screen-only-ness of tablets a complete pain in the arse, which is why the Galaxy Tab work gave me will shortly be starting an exciting new career as a photo frame.
That will mean they can add 10 or so cloud users to their global user base of 7 desktop users. Progress indeed!
I reckon I've got 7 LO users just in my immediate family! Yeah I know you were exaggerating, but it looks to me like you haven't tried LO either at all, or at least recently - correct?
You really should. The latest 3.5 not only loads/saves (spit) docx but can even open that last MS bastion Visio.
Go on give it a go!
PS. What's all this about market share anyway? Who cares?
When they say cloud...
...do they mean browser-based as a 365 competitor, or cloudy back-end only with rich clients on each platform?
Errata About The Register
March 23, 2012
Errata About The Register
Filed under: Technology — italovignoli @ 13:02
It looks like the communication between myself and Iain did not work in the proper way yesterday evening (European time), because a couple of significant inaccuracies have crept in the text of the article:
1. The Document Foundation will probably announce a ROADMAP for LibreOffice OnLine sometimes in late April or early May. A ROADMAP and not a PRODUCT, and this should be absolutely clear. At the moment, there is no reason to expect a change in the previously announced release timeframe: “sometimes in 2013″.
2. The Android port is under way, but is the PORTING of the code to be around 80% (and not the CODING, which is still below 50%). The Android port is not a simple endeavor, and it will ask for a lot of CODING efforts once the PORTING has been completed. One of these efforts is a new touch interface, which is – by itself – a huge development effort. This is the reason why TDF will not be in the position of making ANY announcement about LibreOffice on Pads – including a roadmap – before 2013.
I hope this clarifies the issue.
not the cloud - YOUR cloud
When I hear "LibreOffice" + "Cloud" it makes me happy because the possibility here is that the software will enable anyone to run a LibreOffice "cloud server" on their OWN equipment. This is good. The benefits of cloud-hosted office productivity suite without having to hand your data to a third party.
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