Open-Xchange to launch open-source, browser-based office suite

The new online office suite is being developed by a team of former OpenOffice developers, the company said

Collaboration software vendor Open-Xchange plans to launch an open-source, browser-based productivity suite called OX Documents.

The first application for the suite is OX Text, an in-browser word processing tool with editing capabilities for Microsoft Word .docx files and OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice .odt files, the Nuremberg, Germany, company announced on Wednesday.

OX Text doesn't mess up the formatting of documents loaded into the application, said Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange. XML-based documents can be read, edited and saved back to their original format at a level of quality and fidelity previously unavailable with browser-based text editors, according to the company.

"We are not breaking anything and are leaving everything in place," he said. OX Text can edit about 80 percent of a Word document's elements, and 100 percent of the document survives with the formatting preserved, he said.

OX Text allows multiple users to edit a document at the same time, but there are some things OX Text won't be able to do that can be done in Word. "We don't do headers or footnotes, no smart art and we don't have a formula editor," said Laguna. But functionality like header and footer support will be added later, he said.

Users will be able to add new content, format a table and make bullet lists, Laguna said. "We do what most people do when editing," he said, adding that changes will be pushed to the server right away and that a full version history of the changes will be available. The service will sport an SSL connection as default to make usage more secure, he said.

OX Text is the first application of OX Documents and will be available under the GNU General Public License 2 and the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 license from early April. This means the software is free to use for individuals and for businesses, but companies that want support from Open-Xchange will have to pay for it, the company said.

The software will also be available under commercial licenses that offer support-based subscriptions to telecom and mobile carriers, hosting companies and cloud providers among others, the company said.

Spreadsheet and presentation software as well as a second version of OX Documents are planned for later this year, Laguna said.

OX Documents is developed by "key members" of the original OpenOffice development team, said Laguna. These developers joined the Open-Xchange team to engineer a cloud-based office suite from scratch using HTML5 and JavaScript technology in early 2012. The suite with editing capabilities will therefore be available on a range of mobile platforms too, Laguna said. A preview of OX Documents was made available online.

The new cloud-based document suite will be available separately and as an extension of the OX App Suite, a Web-based personal desktop that provides tools for managing email documents, calendar and social network feeds, launched in February. Open-Xchange users are able to migrate to OX App Suite if they want.

At the moment, Open-Xchange has about 70 million users at about 80 service providers, Laguna said.

Commercial service providers will be able to offer OX Documents for about ¬0.10 (US$0.13) per user per year, said Laguna. "The numbers go down if you are bigger, and smaller companies probably have to pay a bit more," he said. Pricing will mostly depend on negotiations though, with the number of users, the duration of the contract and the amount of applications needed as important factors.

The 10 cents per user per year is the amount that has to be paid by service providers to offer the software freely to users. If service providers sell additional services on top of Open-Xchange, like more storage for example, Open-Xchange gets a revenue share of around 25 percent to 35 percent that is also negotiable.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags cloud computingopen sourceinternetsoftwareapplicationsOpen-XchangeSoftware as a serviceOffice suitesRafael Laguna

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?