by Jon Brodkin - Mar 20, 2013 - arstechnica
Open source, Web-based office suite takes on Google Docs, LibreOffice
Maker of a Microsoft Exchange alternative
builds a new document creation tool.
The productivity software market has several recent success stories, despite the continued dominance of Microsoft Office. Google Docs built up a huge user base by providing a Web-based alternative to Microsoft. And LibreOffice, a descendant of OpenOffice, is providing a strong challenge on the desktop side.
Now there is an office suite that combines these browser-based and open source approaches into one. It's called OX Documents, and it comes courtesy of Open-Xchange, a company that previously built an alternative to the Microsoft Exchange e-mail server. OX Documents is in the early stages of development, with only a demo version of its word processor, OX Text, available beginning today.
A usable version of OX Text is scheduled to be released next month, with spreadsheet and presentation software coming later this year.
OX Text will also be released in early April under the GNU General Public License 2 and Creative Commons. Open-Xchange will make money by selling a supported version to businesses.
OX Text can edit documents from Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice. Open-Xchange CEO told the IDG News Service that 100 percent of Word documents' formatting is preserved and that OX Text can edit about 80 percent of a Word document's elements.
"A pioneering feature of OX Text is non-destructive support of Microsoft Office and OpenOffice or LibreOffice file formats,
" the company said today in an announcement. "XML-based documents can be seamlessly read, edited, and saved back to the original format at a level of quality and fidelity previously unavailable with browser-based text editors."
OX Text will also let multiple users view and edit documents simultaneously.
. The OX Documents preview page shows the suite running on desktops, phones, and tablets.
It's hard to imagine OX Documents taking significant share away from the existing incumbents. However, Open-Xchange claims to have 70 million users of its e-mail service through its network of service providers. OX Documents could well end up with a sizable number of users among Open-Xchange's customer base. OX Documents will be provided on its own or as part of the OX App Suite, combining e-mail, calendaring, and documents into one platform.arstechnicaIntroducing OX Textopen-xchange