No download needed: OpenOffice beta available as Web app

But it's only open to the first 15,000 registrants who sign up

Interested in trying out the free OpenOffice.org 2.0 office suite without having to install it on your computer?

Now's your chance.

That option became possible Tuesday when OpenOffice.org and online application vendor Ulteo launched a beta project that hosts OpenOffice.org 2.0 on Ulteo's Online Desktop infrastructure, giving users online access to the applications and up to 1GB of related data storage.

In an announcement, the two groups said the project will be open to 15,000 beta users who will be able to access the applications using a Web browser on Windows, Linux or Mac OS X.

Beta users will also have access to the project's instant collaboration features, which will allow participants to invite other users to join them online in working on a document together in real time. Users can send invitations to others via e-mail, allowing access to documents in either read-only or full edit mode through a clickable link in the message.

"Now everyone can use OpenOffice.org from any connected PC, anytime, anywhere," Florian Effenberger, marketing project co-lead of OpenOffice.org, said in a statement. "You even can work together on documents online and collaborate with others. This especially is an interesting option for trainers and workgroups."

"Ulteo is very proud to deliver OpenOffice.org to the community in a new, useful and exciting way: online and designed for collaboration," Thierry Koehrlen, CEO of Ulteo, said in a statement. "We expect that it will ... spread OpenOffice.org to even more users now that it is simpler than ever to try and use it in a couple of clicks."

Users can register for the beta program at Ulteo's Web site.

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