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Google & Sun Planning Web Office

CmdrTaco posted about 9 years ago | from the i'll-believe-it-when-i-see-it dept.

Sun Microsystems 751

astrab writes "According to this post at Dirson's blog, Google and Sun Microsystems are to announce a new and kick-ass webtool: an Office Suite based on Sun's OpenOffice and accesible with your browser. Today at 10:30h (Pacific Time) two companies are holding a conference with more details, but Jonathan Schwartz (President of Sun Microsystems) claimed on Saturday on this post of his blog that "the world is about to change this week", predicting new ways to access software."

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Copyright Violation (1)

repruhsent (672799) | about 9 years ago | (#13711470)

I'm suing these fuckers. My anus has long been accessible through your web browser, and this is a blatant attempt to copy my innovative anal sex accessibility technology.

Google Conquers all (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 9 years ago | (#13711471)

[X] Google Earth
[X] Google Moon
[X] Google Sun

Looks like we live in a google universe.

Re:Google Conquers all (5, Funny)

famebait (450028) | about 9 years ago | (#13711483)

Yes I make mistakes. Don't we all?

I dno't.

Re:Google Conquers all (1)

Billy the Impaler (886238) | about 9 years ago | (#13711502)

Cue the /. Google-gasms... Will the software be free (like most of google's software)?

Re:Google Conquers all (1, Insightful)

the_Pnut (894120) | about 9 years ago | (#13711588)

What will be really interesting is how we have to save our files. with my Gmail account over 2.5 GBs right now, it would be pretty sweet if I could work on a school paper in the Linux engineering lab at school and then save (or email?) that file to my Gmail account, and access it from my Window's Computer at home.

Re:Google Conquers all (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711597)

Well gee, I wonder if that might be then entire fucking point of all this?

Good luck on those school papers, dipshit.

But Google will never rule the wastelands (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 9 years ago | (#13711593)

Not without the juice. Not without the gasoline.

-Eric

Re:Google Conquers all (1)

echomancer (198206) | about 9 years ago | (#13711600)

I'll buy into that theory when I see Google Freedonia!

Google is officially evil (0, Offtopic)

jxs2151 (554138) | about 9 years ago | (#13711475)

Google makes Taiwan a province of China in order to appease China and avoid being denied access to China's markets.

Google makes Taiwan a privince of China [taipeitimes.com]

Re:Google is officially evil (0)

Gilesx (525831) | about 9 years ago | (#13711525)

Dude, this is hardly unique to Google - look... a video game even did that too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_Manager#Chin ese_controversy

Microsoft most likely do it as well, as will every software manufacturer wanting to sell software within China.

What if there was a country in the future that didn't recognise Hawaii as a US state? What if the government demanded that software manufactured in that country had to be changed to recognise this in order to be sold in the US?

Making a separate Chinese version is not evil, it's just common business sense...

Re:Google is officially evil (0)

no reason to be here (218628) | about 9 years ago | (#13711565)

Google makes Taiwan a province of China in order to appease China and avoid being denied access to China's markets.

So does every other company that does business in China. Oh, and also, so does every country, even the democracy-lovin' USA. Well, not every country, but any country that wants to have normalized relations with China does.

Re:Google is officially evil (1)

pete-classic (75983) | about 9 years ago | (#13711572)

I don't see what you're talking about [google.com] .

Maybe they changed it back? Or maybe you have have an IP from APNIC to see it?

-Peter

Re:Google is officially evil (-1, Flamebait)

Grench (833454) | about 9 years ago | (#13711613)

Officially speaking, Taiwan *is* a province of China. They haven't declared full independence yet, even though most of the world (aside from China) recognises it as an independent country.

In fact, Taiwan is still officially known as the Republic of China - they even refer to themselves by that name.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan [wikipedia.org]

Microsoft's Worst Fear (3, Insightful)

Derkec (463377) | about 9 years ago | (#13711477)

Isn't this what Microsoft has been fearing? Isn't this exactly why they went out to kill Netscape?

Between Sun's passionate hatred of Microsoft and Google's competence, it's got to be a bad day over a Redmond.

Re:Microsoft's Worst Fear (5, Interesting)

Moby Cock (771358) | about 9 years ago | (#13711531)

Indeed it is a bad day at Redmond. However, let's be cautious. Google does have a knack for producing damned good products but this represents a new paradigm in how people use computers. It will be a daunting task to convince people to change. Expect a torrential outpouring of FUD from Microsoft and others as they try and keep their grip on selling software in the 'traditional' way.

It seems to me that Google's brand recognition will be a hugem benefit in this endeavour, and I, for one, look forward to seeing how well it is adopted. My fingers are crossed that it might be a success. I am very interested to see how such a service will be embraced by the public.

Re:Microsoft's Worst Fear (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 9 years ago | (#13711542)

We shall see.... if it's just a google-branded OpenOffice, I doubt it will make a dent.

I sure hope they prove me wrong but I don't see what else it could be.

Re:Microsoft's Worst Fear (1, Informative)

MPHellwig (847067) | about 9 years ago | (#13711552)

According to MS and SUN, they are friends now.
According to others, SUN doesn't take the extra effort to make there x64 hardware Windows imcompatible and MS won't do the extra effort to brake their OS more on SUN h/w then on the others.
That said, of course they would do anything in there power to at least equalize the software market a bit. It's easier to be competitive if the market is open.

Re:Microsoft's Worst Fear (5, Funny)

Alranor (472986) | about 9 years ago | (#13711647)

MS won't do the extra effort to brake their OS more on SUN h/w then on the others.

To be fair though, Microsoft don't seem to have to put any particular effort into making their OS break, it just kinda happens.

Re:Microsoft's Worst Fear (2, Insightful)

TheViffer (128272) | about 9 years ago | (#13711564)

Not really.

Microsoft will do what it normally does: give it away for virtually free until the competition is destroyed or forgotten.

Now I am not saying it will be successful, but don't put it past Microsoft to start bundling MS Works in with Vista with the option to "upgrade" it to the full MS Office via a monthly $9.99 subscription. What else do they have to do with Works?

I will also admit this tactic is getting harder for them to pull off (Money vs Quicken, Media player vs iTunes, etc), but that does not mean they will not try.

Re:Microsoft's Worst Fear (2, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | about 9 years ago | (#13711575)

I'm not so sure about that. Sure, they've been beaten to the punch, but you can bet that if this takes off then Microsoft will release their own version of the technology. The big difference will be that if you want to use Microsoft WebOffice you will need to pay, it might be per use or per month, but you *will* have to pay, and that kind of on-going revenue stream isn't so much Microsoft's worst nightmare as their wettest dream.

Oh, I did I mention that all your data will belong to Microsoft?

Wow (5, Funny)

Lisandro (799651) | about 9 years ago | (#13711478)

I live in another hemisphere and i can hear the guys at Microsoft developing an ulcer!

    Seriously, if this is true, things are going to get pretty interesting...

Re:Wow (3, Funny)

DingerX (847589) | about 9 years ago | (#13711511)

I wouldn't worry about it. Given how long Longhorn/Vista's taken, Microsoft Ulcer will be many years in development.
Meanwhile, Google Ulcer will rule all while still in beta!

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

KingSkippus (799657) | about 9 years ago | (#13711553)

They may be developing an ulcer, but as we established in the previous front page article [slashdot.org] , it would be due to H. Pylori, not stress...

Nevertheless, I agree. OpenOffice for the Web? Brilliant!

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711561)

Don't worry. Thanks to Nobel prize winning research, we now know that ulcers are caused by bacteria and can be quickly cured with a short course of antibiotics.

Re:Wow (1)

nothingcleverhere (897938) | about 9 years ago | (#13711620)

Define "interesting".

Good deal (4, Interesting)

codepunk (167897) | about 9 years ago | (#13711479)

Now if you really want to take a real bite out of MS then put a link to
it right on the front of the google home page.

But does it .. (3, Interesting)

karvind (833059) | about 9 years ago | (#13711486)

open Micro$oft Word and Powerpoint files ? And can it handle my 100 slide powerpoint file with zillions of pictures ? Will it handle complicated tables made by someone else in MS Office ? If not, why should I try this ? And is there any reason to believe that it will have more features than a full Staroffice installed on the desktop itself ?

Re:But does it .. (1)

Lisandro (799651) | about 9 years ago | (#13711528)

Well, i don't know about the rest of the suite, but in my experience, Openoffice [openoffice.org] does an excellent job of importing Word .doc files. I only once came across a document that opened with formating errors (it had some weird tables layouts), and even then, it was easily fixed.

    In fact, OO is my preferred way of opening broken .doc files, or .docs that for some reason Word refuses to open altogheter (version issues, etc).

Re:But does it .. (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | about 9 years ago | (#13711534)

Uhhh excuse me but since when does Microsoft Office software handle really large files without making trouble? I'd like to see MS setting the mark that high before I expect another company to reach it...

Read again (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | about 9 years ago | (#13711535)

They are allowing you to use staroffice through your browser, so I'd expect that it does the same staroffice does

What I'm wondering is how they're doing it. Perhaps they export the interface to a "ajax" thing, and they run staroffice in their servers? Upload your docs like you upload files, download them clicking a link, save them in your gmail account space?

Dunno. But I know who is going to HATE this. Office is one of the main Microsoft's revenue streams. This is going to HURT them a LOT.

Re:But does it .. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711577)

Ohhhh, you're asking the "tough" questions! Let me add those to my task list and make them my primary "action items". Of course I'll have to de-prioritize my current projects, unless advised of a status upgrade.

Wait I've got a better idea...DON'T FUCKING EVER ATTEMPT TO USE THIS PRODUCT.

Stupid fucking mother-fucker!

Re:But does it .. (1)

Low2000 (606536) | about 9 years ago | (#13711581)

Does it matter? Probably a little. But if 'Google Office'(name?) is avalible to everyone, everywhere, for free, you no longer have to worry about sending a document to some one who doesn't have access to the right document editor. Everyone accross everyplatform could potentialy open the file reguardless of what software they have installed. That is, of course, assuming they make this web based and not IE dependent. *shudders*

Why is your comment "interesting"? (2, Interesting)

MarkEst1973 (769601) | about 9 years ago | (#13711602)

Will this announcement or even the first several versions of a web office suite dethrone MS Office? Of course not!

Actually, though, the concept of versions becomes a little irrelevant, don't you think? I suspect they'll launch a version 1 as soon as they possibly can. The marketing types will hype up a version 2 and version 3, but the engineers will know better. They'll be able to incrementally update their software every day, if they so choose. Zillions of little changes will evolve this suite into something special.

As for MS Office compatibility... I assume that they will one day give users the ability to upload a .doc file and have it render well in their web office. This might be in version 1, because it is pretty damned important.

The world is changing alright. Schwartz's comment might be full of hubris, but he's right (though he might not be able to honestly take credit). Interactive web applications and ever increasing broadband will ultimately trump the desktop. If you don't believe this, then you don't appreciate deploying a webapp versus local installations.

I will be able to install this office suite by typing in a URL and hit ctrl-enter. When they update the software to version 2, 3, 4, and 5, I'll have each one instantly.

The desktop is (ultimately) doomed. It'll take a while, but webapps are the way to go for a large percentage of needs. Even Bill Gates knows this.

Re:But does it .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711637)

> If not, why should I try this ?

Because it's free, that you've got nothing to lose and that it may even be all you're hoping it to be?
I really don't understand people dismissing something that they haven't seen yet.

Re:But does it .. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 9 years ago | (#13711638)

That's not the point. The point is that millions of consumers will have access to a full-featured office suite, probably for free and without having to install ANYTHING.

Most consumers could care less whether or not the thing can read Microsoft Office documents. They just want to write a letter to aunt millie, maybe use the spreadsheet do a budget or keep a small 'database' in, etc.

Commoditization (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711487)

Commoditization's a bitch. Ain't it Mr. Bill?

Nothing to do... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711567)

"Poor" Bill will have nothing to do... except maybe swim around in his pools of money like Scrooge McDuck... What a horrible way to retire.

If only he had a young pretty wife to spend time with.

Ahhh, the beauty of humility. (5, Insightful)

mopslik (688435) | about 9 years ago | (#13711493)

"the world is about to change this week"

Yes, accessing applications on a remote server. That's certainly a new, world-changing idea.

Except that it isn't [webopedia.com] .

Re:Ahhh, the beauty of humility. (1)

middlemen (765373) | about 9 years ago | (#13711623)

"the world is about to change this week"

Entropy & George Bush at work!

Will be able to write a document without AdSense? (5, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | about 9 years ago | (#13711497)

Seriously, is there a business model for this or is it just a way to lessen Microsoft's dominance?

Re:Will be able to write a document without AdSens (4, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | about 9 years ago | (#13711604)

Seriously, is there a business model for this or is it just a way to lessen Microsoft's dominance?

If it lessens Microsoft's dominance, it's a working business model.

$.02 (4, Interesting)

sedyn (880034) | about 9 years ago | (#13711640)

Java's been a huge investment for Sun. Yet, not as profitable as they would like (considering it's ubiquity). Assuming that this client uses ads, and Java (it would make sence). They may finally earn a little back at the cost of the time taken to build the new office suite.

That being said, that wouldn't be the best strategy available from a monitary perspective. In this case, java would be considered a sunk cost. And I can't see any PHB's, even at sun, thinking otherwise.

So, the strategy is probably focused on promoting Operating System agnostism. And, if sun is lucky, get attention and prove (to the average person, not programmers and admins) that they are relevant. Hence, the potential for long term gain. In this case, breaking even on the investment is well worth it.

I don't think this is a game that Microsoft wants to play because no matter what the outcome they have to lose, with the exceptional case of this not catching on. But if google promotes it, at the very least, free office software should get attention no matter what.

This is just my 2 cents, but with exchange rates I think it only amounts to 1.

zz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711498)

lentil

Beginning of the end (1)

ashyanbhog (852510) | about 9 years ago | (#13711499)

Ok, now I know why M$ was getting cynical about Google. Open document format at Commonwealth and office suite that can be accessed via browser and read and write to that format.. with bandwidth getting cheaper by the day M$ will have to use all of the $$billions in bank to stay afloat....

Two Years Later (4, Insightful)

SenFo (761716) | about 9 years ago | (#13711504)

Thousands of IT people around the world are loosing their jobs as software and computer needs are all hosted in some remote location by application service providers. "We'd love to keep them around", said the CEO of a major Fortune 500 company, "but it's really not that difficult to reboot my little black box that gives me access to everything I need".

So I wonder how long until we can expect to see a similar service from Microsoft.

Release all your numbers and words? (2, Insightful)

KarmaBlackballed (222917) | about 9 years ago | (#13711607)

Web hosted office applications is cool for a few things but not cool for most things.

Do law offices want to create all their documents online, hosted God-knows-where and visible to unknown techs with access to the servers? This would probably be a negligent breach of confidentiality in many cases.

With the exception of Slashdot, most people normally write docs and spreadsheets for a limited audience and would be uncomfortable not knowing who was reading it.

I'll keep a local copy thank you. But if I am on the road and need to do a small non-confidential thing quick, I might consider an online office product.

Re:Release all your numbers and words? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 9 years ago | (#13711644)

Even so, a service like this used internally to a company would make sense.. All the employees logging in to a single server (or load balanced several machines for redundancy) wether they`re in the office or at home, and writing/storing their documents all in one place where they can be backed up easily.

Re:Two Years Later (1)

ari_j (90255) | about 9 years ago | (#13711626)

<sarcasm>

Thousands of IT people around the world are losing their jobs because they don't know the difference between lose and loose, and because they have job titles like Software and Computer Nerd.

</sarcasm>

The real test of AJAX, I guess. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711505)

In terms of things like clarity, ease of use, responsiveness, an office suite is probably the most anathemical thing to AJAX you could name. If they can write an office suite in AJAX, they can do anything in AJAX.

This assumes the web office is written in AJAX and not Java. If it's written in Java, expect trouble. I used Corel Wordperfect for Java, man. It wasn't a usable tool.

Also, to be quite frank, they're going to have to put some very serious interface cleanup work into this. StarOffice is really just not up to the level of quality in terms of user interface which Google's tools tend to follow.

Incidentally, is it just me or does it seem odd that they're targeting Word BEFORE Exchange?

Re:The real test of AJAX, I guess. (3, Interesting)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 9 years ago | (#13711566)

FWIW, if you want to try it out, it's available here:

http://www.somis.dundee.ac.uk/pub/corelindex.htm [dundee.ac.uk]

The past of web-based office suites...

Re:The real test of AJAX, I guess. (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 9 years ago | (#13711646)

Replying to myself...

Crashes in the latest JVM... "Applet crashed." is all I get.

Looks like you need whatever MS JVM shipped with Win95 OSR2...

Wow (5, Interesting)

Dogers (446369) | about 9 years ago | (#13711506)

I bet these guys [slashdot.org] feel stupid now ;)

You're assuming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711570)

They're not right. What if we get to the end of the week, this is all just stupid rumors, and Sun announces something totally different?

Excellent. Still waiting for ... (0)

SamSeaborn (724276) | about 9 years ago | (#13711510)

This is great news. No doubt Google Office will be great.

I think the "GBrower" should be a rich client (ala iTunes) that lets me browse the web and has all the G-apps built in, GOffice, GMail, Picasa, and so on.

Sam

Re:Excellent. Still waiting for ... (3, Funny)

generic-man (33649) | about 9 years ago | (#13711517)

Actually, I heard that Google has already ported the Linux kernel from C to JavaScript. As soon as the average user has enough CPU power to run it, we'll all be running Linux all the time!

Web-office.. (2, Interesting)

ekran (79740) | about 9 years ago | (#13711512)

I think I've heard of this idea before (putting office applications onto web) but it never took off back then probably because the speed of browsers/internet couldn't provide the quality most people wanted.

The idea is good though, imagine being able to sit at home, work or school working on the same documents at the same loctaion without having to worry about usb drives and moving datas.

I think I would be careful about storing sensitive or private data onto it as I really see this becoming a prime target for crackers.

I wonder what technology it will use (4, Interesting)

thammoud (193905) | about 9 years ago | (#13711516)

Javascript AJAX? Or is this Google's push of Java to the desktop?

Re:I wonder what technology it will use (1)

Phaser_Burn (920181) | about 9 years ago | (#13711548)

Will this even matter, most people's connection is still to slow to use it, and it is just asking for Hackers and google to read your documents and exploit the information within them. all google wants is to archive every single thought we have. I prefer my data on me.

Re:I wonder what technology it will use (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 9 years ago | (#13711585)

If its OpenOffice it will be like picasa won't it?
Just a google branded application with hooks and links into your gmail account and stuff.

The only difference between Office and picasa is the Sun angle, but linking with Sun allows for profitable support contracts for corporate customers who need it as well (picasa is a home run application and doesn't need real support).

Re:I wonder X or VNC (1)

free2 (851653) | about 9 years ago | (#13711603)

If they really plan to use openoffice and other open tools, then they will probably use VNC or X to do the remote stuff. Java VNC and java X do exist already.

Maybe NX (1)

codepunk (167897) | about 9 years ago | (#13711634)

Maybe NX or perhaps a ajax interface to OO running on the back end.

Blog (2, Insightful)

kevin_conaway (585204) | about 9 years ago | (#13711519)

According to this post at Dirson's blog..

Um, what? A post on some guys website, no some guys "blog" is now news? Who is this guy and why should we care what he has to say? His site is slashdotted.

Here's the blog entry for you........ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711617)

How did you buy software a couple decades ago (for those old enough to remember)?

You went to your local retailer (or back then, they sent a sales rep), you bought a box, with a manual, 20 floppy disks, and a heavy carton. As a software company, you had to pay for the distributor, pay for the cost of packaging, and you asked customers to pay for the products before they were used. The companies that had the most power in the industry were those that owned the "distribution" networks (which back then were store retailers and direct salesforces, if you can believe it).

The rise of PC software obviously changed that - the distribution network was no longer the physical distribution network, it was displaced by the logical distribution called Microsoft Windows. You used what came bundled into Windows, and got a new slug of functionality each time you upgraded. It was a good gig.

But now how do you "buy" software? You go to yahoo.com, or java.sun.com, or opentable.com, and you use what they offer - for free. Software as a service has done more than introduce a technical revolution in the delivery of software (no more upgrades, just hit the reload button). It's fundamentally changed the business model. (David Kirkpatrick has some good thoughts.)

The first thing the internet did was allow companies to bypass Microsoft's legendary distribution power. From eBay to Google to opentable.com, the rise of industry standards allowed services to emerge on an open network platform. From community services to dinner reservations, no one can possibly doubt the immense volume and value of innovation delivered through a browser. But the technology, frankly, was less valuable than the services themselves. I did say was.

Frankly, all of these services are trying to outrun Windows Vista and Office 12 - with which Microsoft will once again attempt to recover the distribution advantage, preloading Windows, Internet Explorer and Office with Microsoft content and services. They argue it's necessary to secure the platform, 3rd parties and government officials argue it's anti-competitive. You pick.

But there are a couple of trends running counter to this looming force - especially among consumers. The trend is away from the upgrade cycle that benefits this traditional notion of distribution. For example, when's the last time you upgraded your set top box? The answer's probably never, and suggests that at a certain level, convenience has more value to consumers than the hassle of upgrading. Or ask a teenager which they'd rather have, a new iPod Nano, or a new PC, I'll bet you money it's the former (underlying the global trend that suggests more of the world will experience the internet through handsets than PC's).

Or finally, as I did last week at a keynote, ask the audience which they'd rather give up - their browser, or all the rest of their desktop apps. (Unanimously, they'd all give up the latter without a blink.) All these trends show a slowing upgrade appetite calling into question the power of traditional distribution. In stark contrast to the value of volume, community and participation.

Now, I have been nothing if not tediously repetitive in stating my belief that volume begets value - best demonstrated by the rise of the free software movement (whose volume is derived from its price, its value from innovation, in all forms). The cost of reaching customers, traditionally the most expensive part of building a business, has largely been eliminated - resulting in massive, global participation. Value's literally everywhere the network travels, on every device it touches (and it's subsidizing some very interesting ideas.)

But value is returning to the desktop applications, and not simply through Windows Vista. But in the form of applications that are network service platforms. From the obvious, to music sharing clients and development tools, there's a resurgence of interest in resident software that executes on your desktop, yet connects to network services. Without a browser. Like Skype. Or QNext. Or Google Earth. And Java? OpenOffice and StarOffice?

If I were a betting man, I'd bet the world was about to change. And that what just happened in Massachusetts, when a state government made what was to me a very rational statement - we will pick an open standard to protect the right of our citizens to access data and services; we will then buy from vendors that support standards - will be a shot heard 'round the world.

Strap on your seatbelts. Volume and value are about to speak...

Not this online crap again... (5, Funny)

Digital Vomit (891734) | about 9 years ago | (#13711522)

An online office suite? This is going to be bigger than Microsoft Bob!

Compatibility (3, Interesting)

pureseth (917220) | about 9 years ago | (#13711523)

My question is how compatible will this software be with certain file formats? Will we be able to open or Word/Excel documents on this web office? And will it work across OS's..

I can only imagine how Gates is feeling..

furniture (4, Funny)

codepunk (167897) | about 9 years ago | (#13711524)

I imagine a great deal of furniture is gonna be abused today.

This is so much worse that MS Office (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711527)

Listen, I know there is some crazy love fest going on over Google because people are just *dying* to see MS knocked down a few rungs. Sure, Microsoft needs this, but the problem is with Google. You know what's 100x worse than proprietary formats? Proprietary hosted databases! Google is basically a huge proprietary hosted database application format, and they want to host everyone in the world on *their* platform. It's not "our" platform in the sense that Linux and the BSD's and other open source software create such a feeling.

How could it be different? Well, Google would distribute their web apps *including* source code as bundles that could be installed on "personal servers" (like on the thousands of dedicated server companies run by smaller, generally independent shops http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=dedicated+ser ver&btnG=Google+Search [google.com] ). Then, Google can provide services around those, but the core stack should be something that I can control where I host and control my own data!

Think of it this way. How many corporations are going to start to standardize on Gmail? Not my company, and I'm happy for that. People, please see through this nonsense. Maybe we really do need the "click to download source" clause in the GPL v3. Otherwise, people will gladly give up their freedom just to see some lame company with an incredible data center suck away all of their freedom and privacy. Google is completely evil.

If they wanted to be good, the proof would be in enabling other people by opening their software stack and allowing for a much more distributed architecture.

shortcuts (5, Interesting)

totuck (870615) | about 9 years ago | (#13711532)

One thing that makes many desktop aplications so productive is the use of keyboard shortcuts. That's one thing that web pages are lacking. Yeah, gMail has some minimal shortcuts, but web applications don't act the same way as desktop applications. It'd be great if there were a browser plug-in that user-approved web pages could interface with so that keyboard shorts would work with web-based server-side applications...like the new gOffice.

Re:shortcuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711598)

Disagreeing...while shortcuts are great do your parents use them? Your grandparents? The hot girl who is computer illiterate that you try to help all the time? No, they'are all mousers (sp?). They can't save, open close, or anything else without clicking, which is ideal for a web browser. For those of us too entwined with shortcuts we can probably use a few and get along. If anybody can make advanced keystroke shortcuts work it's Google, though, and depending on the client (java-ish) it shouldn't be too hard to make users believe the browser is barely involved (because it would be).

Just my two bits

The web browser is the new terminal. (2, Insightful)

echomancer (198206) | about 9 years ago | (#13711537)

First, we had terminals running applications from a centralized computer, then we had the idea that we should move apps off of the centralized computer onto workstations (certainly this was aided by the growth of the workstation/PC technology), and now we're moving our apps back to a distributed model where the web browser is the new terminal. Why is the world changing? Hasn't Sun's moto been "The network is the computer" for a while now????

I like this type of technology from an infrastructure standpoint because it means you don't have to maintain 500+workstations worth of software and patches anymore. Welcome to the future kids!

Re:The web browser is the new terminal. (1)

xtracto (837672) | about 9 years ago | (#13711599)

The new paradigm will is P2P computing where all the clients are servers and servers are clients so, each one of us will have a piece of all the information in an encripted and reduntand way (kind of freenet).

The applications will be run via web browser as you said but they will not relay in a bunch of centralized servers but in the whole structure of the network.

Well, if it is not, at least, it sounds cool :)

Google - OK. But Sun? (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | about 9 years ago | (#13711540)

Hmmm...where that leavs their support for OpenOffice?

Re:Google - OK. But Sun? (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 9 years ago | (#13711559)

Uhmm...leaves.

And specifically, I mean...why the "desktop" flavour should be so supported by Sun now...some of us unfortunatelly have slow net acces or don't have it at home at all...

I guess they can at least not call it gOffice (1)

Jugalator (259273) | about 9 years ago | (#13711544)

Funny coincidence [typepad.com] , too.

WTF for? (1)

freewaybear (906222) | about 9 years ago | (#13711549)

This sounds like this app is filing a need nobody has. Well, at least that I know about.

GreatNews (1)

TarrySingh (916400) | about 9 years ago | (#13711550)

when can we migrate...?? Huh. so I can throw away that 504 page Migration windows to Linux away, Just printed it.

It's probably going to suck. (-1, Flamebait)

manowarthegreat (884657) | about 9 years ago | (#13711562)

Seriously. I will never use a web based office program. The only reason it's getting support here is because SlashDot is fully of elitists who replace the "s" in Microsoft with a "$."

No kidding (3, Interesting)

AutopsyReport (856852) | about 9 years ago | (#13711568)

Over two years ago myself (an independent contractor) and a software company (which shall go unlinked and unnamed, and you know why) which produces critical software for airports around the world (Toronto, NY, Boston, Seattle, etc.) realized that a version of its desktop product may be more distributable -- and easier to manage -- if it were web-based. I ended up developing a web application which looked and acted little different than the desktop version. This was very cool, because as far as I'd known, I'd never seen anything like it. Every airport had their own database. It allowed clients the freedom of a deskstop app from home or work -- why stay late and enter data when you can log in from home and work on the exact same database? Of course, if the Internet was down, they could log things locally and batch upload once the connection came back. It was a beautiful system, and I think in a really small, unknown way, we pioneered a bit.

Now, before this time we had never considered the concept, but once we did, it really opened doors for possibilities. I remember thinking to myself it is only a matter of time before more people start doing this. And now, a few years later, here we are with Google and Sun claiming they will change the world with this. The are a little late in books, and not far enough into the project to claim the world will change. Nevertheless, it will be cool to see it done (if it works well).

Great! (5, Funny)

SPYvSPY (166790) | about 9 years ago | (#13711616)

Let's put "critical software for airports" on a remote server so airport employees can work from home! I can't see any problems with that idea at all!

Hyperoffice and MyWebOS (1)

Monoman (8745) | about 9 years ago | (#13711578)

I remember about 5 years ago seeing MyWebOS and HyperOffice. I thought they were great but of course they seemed to disappear. Well it looks like HyperOffice still lives ... Google for it.

This is the stuff that truly scares MS.

Will history repeat itself?

How is this new? (3, Informative)

CarlHall (858949) | about 9 years ago | (#13711589)

Lotus had this worked out in the late 90's with a product called eSuite (think Lotus SmartSuite written in Java for a thin client). eSuite was profitable but didn't make enough money for IBM after the assimilation so it was dropped as a product line.

already can have this now. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 years ago | (#13711590)

Linux, StarOffice, VNC. set up vnc to allow web connections.

each user that tries to connect to the web port get's the java viewer loaded, they log-in start using star office.

Ok it will not be as elegant as what they are coming up with, but it achieves the same goal web browser accessable office suite with storage on the server. (ok getting the files off might take some extra work.

WOW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711592)

Hasn't this been "coming" since '98, '99, '00, '01, '02, '03?

I think 2004 is when most gave up on the idea as a bad one that wouldn't work well in the long run...

the anti-phony (1)

jasongetsdown (890117) | about 9 years ago | (#13711594)

Why does everything Johnathen Franzen says ring so much truer than anything I've ever heard from a CEO. This guy actually seems intellectually invested in what he's saying. In fact, it doesn't look like the Sun marketing department looked at this at all! GASP!

Terrible Disruption in the FORCE (5, Funny)

putko (753330) | about 9 years ago | (#13711596)

I'm feeling a terrible disruption in the force --- it is as if a million chairs just got thrown out a window.

Capitalist at heart (4, Insightful)

fleener (140714) | about 9 years ago | (#13711601)

Sorry, I like to own software, or at least have free software that resides on my workstation without fear of intervention. Communal software I never really own -- that I use on a temporary "as long as Google feels like it" basis -- sounds a lot like a M$ rental plan. I don't hear Google announcing free-for-life software, nor anything coming close to a trustworthy privacy policy for all the data they collect about me. Google's Achilles heal is its disregard for privacy protections. I won't hand over my keys to the kingdom no matter what "we're not evil" unsubstantiated promises they tell me.

Dont Count on it changing the world yet. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711605)

Lets look at this from the reality side folks. How many companies are going to allow any data of any sort outside their environment? Not going to happen. How many companies will enforce security policies that all work done at home or on a Mobile device be done on the device itself? Probably Most. How many times will it take for data to be picked off from going back and forth from a portal before some MIS manager gets fired for allowing users to use that service. The MS haters of the world would use tin cans and string to avoid paying MS, but look at the Majority of Licensed Office users, It isnt the home consumer, Its the corporate, If you deal with a Multinational IS dept, You arent going to get a portal for documents through a Security committee, no matter how hard you try.

StarPortal (4, Informative)

martinicus (228041) | about 9 years ago | (#13711614)

Sun have had this technology for 5 years...it was called StarPortal, and then Sun One Web Top as Sun's marketing people renamed it to their latest buzzword compliant version. I bet the new version will be something like 'JWS' - Java Web System.

It is essentially a Java encapsulation of Star/Open Office accessible through a browser. Pretty cool stuff, but involved some hefty Java downloads (~100MB?) to get it started up. Once started up though, it was almost identical to using a native version of Star/Open Office.

Marty

This is gonna be great (5, Interesting)

beavis88 (25983) | about 9 years ago | (#13711624)

Now my office application experience can be just like the rest of my web experience -- slow, poorly designed, and ad-ridden! Yay!

Although I guess in fairness, MS Office has the first two items covered already.

Why haven't I seen a comment yet ... (2, Insightful)

inventor61 (919542) | about 9 years ago | (#13711632)

... about the fact that this sort of stunt requires decent, secure, low-latency bandwidth? The ASP wannabe's and the Layer 7 people always seem to forget "it's the wires, stupid" and that is the Achilles' Heel. I have faith that bandwidth is coming. The LECs (in the US) may end up being able to point to a revenue stream in order to finance the bonds they'll need to replace the twisted-pair infrasructure. It'll take hundreds of billions of dollars, but, it CAN happen. We NEED it to happen for all kinds of reasons. Partly to end our dependency on oil, partly to decentralize the population, partly to show the 'Net can be financed by something other than pr0n. Ironically, it's this sort of thing that will also drive LU/NT/Alcatel/JDSU stock back up. Too bad the revolution's coming 5 years too late.

Just wait (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711633)


till the security department finds out you have been uploading and composing confidential business documents to a third party advertising based company who reads the entire content, then links it to your profile to taget commericial pitches based on the content of your documents

you should get your coat and start clearing out your desk now
because if i ever found a memeber of staff using a service like this they would be out the door pretty rapid
keeping a hang on USB drives and laptops is enough headache as it is without stafdf members giving away our company documents to other businesses

Say "OpenDoc" (1)

RacerZero (848545) | about 9 years ago | (#13711635)

Its' been done already. Apple did it back in the early 90s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDoc [wikipedia.org] They could do it again, on the network, if Jobs hasn't thrown out the idea with his iPod reconstruction project.

OOo! Ahh! (2, Funny)

christian.elliott (892060) | about 9 years ago | (#13711639)

OOo! Oh wait... or is it OOoO?

Web based Open Office ain't news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13711642)

The equivalent service was being provided in the 1960's by several time-sharing services.

Nothing new here. Move along.

Yeah, that'll work. (1)

phutureboy (70690) | about 9 years ago | (#13711643)

I too will believe it when I see it.

I'm still working on this... (3, Interesting)

Dracolytch (714699) | about 9 years ago | (#13711645)

Why the hell would I want to surf to my word processor?

I can download one for free, if I wish, and it does not have advertising.
It starts faster, and will probably do more.
It does not require an internet connection to work.
It does not broadcast any document I work on over the Internet.

Granted, some of these are speculation on how the new suite would work, but it's speculation based on similar existing apps.

The most useful thing I can think of would to be able to download a copy to a local machine, which equates to some damn easy deployment of software.

~D
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