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OpenOffice Could Soon Become Web-Based Apps

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the googling-it-up dept.


An anonymous reader writes "Via Linuxtoday.com, a message from the OpenOffice Dev mailing list in which a new company is introducing the GravityZoo OpenOffice porting project. The unusually named group aims to bring OpenOffice to the Internet as a series of online apps. 'When OpenOffice.org is GravityZood, it will become a suite of productivity applications that are always available, online, via a broad range of devices. It will be possible to share and collaborate in real-time, to switch from one device (e.g. a PC) to another (Mobile) device. There will also be no need to save data, because everything you produce is saved automatically on the network. There is no need to download, install or update, the latest version is just available and accessible from any GravityZoo enabled client.'"

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Slow Down There, Tiger (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 7 years ago | (#18814361)

OpenOffice Could Soon Become Web-Based Apps

GravityZoo is NOT, I repeat NOT converting OpenOffice into a webapp. I don't really want to detract from their idea, so I'll try to be succinct. Basically, GravityZoo has a special client that interacts with the application running on the server. The application on the server is always available, and autostores your data in a GravityZoo Object Storage database.

Supposedly, it's an actual conversion of the application to a networked form rather than a simple remote desktop concept. If I were to make a W.A.G. of the Day, I'd say they're probably going to bus the normal IPC communications over the network. Not revolutionary by itself, but possibly nice if they have a good framework.

Re:Slow Down There, Tiger (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | about 7 years ago | (#18814827)

So...uh...how is this not exactly like X?

More specifically, if I installed a chrooted nxserver [nomachine.com] , and then made a series of launch profiles that I handed out that launched openoffice rather than running anything specific, wouldn't that be the same?

Or is this like that, but also tacking on something like UNO/CORBA/SOAP/DCOM?

This topic seems to be one such that it may be worth mentioning jooreports. [sourceforge.net]

If your goal is to do version control on your content while keeping your layout separate this is probably ideal.

Re:Slow Down There, Tiger (1)

MindStalker (22827) | about 7 years ago | (#18815349)

This is my guess from the limited faqs
From what I can see it expands upon X in three ways.
1. It allows you to use it from any device without installing anything (besides a web browser I would assume).
2. It has a collaboration security model. So multiple people can be on the same session some can read some can read and write.
3. It uses less network bandwidth than X and heavily relies on browser cache.

Re:Slow Down There, Tiger (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18815623)

1. It allows you to use it from any device without installing anything (besides a web browser I would assume).

They explicitly say that you need a client and that it is currently only available for Windows.

3. It uses less network bandwidth than X and heavily relies on browser cache.

FreeNX uses less network bandwidth than X, but it doesn't use the browser cache.

Re:in few words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18817511)

Sun wants or tryies to kill W3C.

Re:Slow Down There, Tiger (1)

TheCoelacanth (1069408) | about 7 years ago | (#18818529)

3. It uses less network bandwidth than X and heavily relies on browser cache.

FreeNX uses less network bandwidth than X, but it doesn't use the browser cache.

NX still uses a cache, it just has its own.

Re:Slow Down There, Tiger (0, Troll)

2muchcoffeeman (573484) | about 7 years ago | (#18820653)

An interesting idea that ushers us back to the Age of Dumb Terminals. Can't exactly remember anything great about that age, though.

Mobile apps suck (2)

aquaepulse (990849) | about 7 years ago | (#18814371)

I have an Axim, and its great for a lot of things. Calendar, tasks, note taking, note recording, some light web surfing. But document creation. No. Even using Powerpoint on it is just horrendous. I have no faith that these apps with be nearly as enjoyable across devices that are not desktops.

ick sp! (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | about 7 years ago | (#18814399)

These guys seem cool and all, but dude, get a proofreader
"distributing Data, Information and Intelligence. A development that should not be dependent upon the whimp of a few very affluant and powerfull entities."
http://www.gravityzoo.com/developers/openSource.py [gravityzoo.com]

Re:ick sp! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18815107)

Sheesh, you'd think they could at least run OOo's spellcheck before posting!

Re:ick sp! (1)

griebels2 (998954) | about 7 years ago | (#18815739)

Why use a spelling checker if you can depend upon the affluant distributed yet powerful and informative intelligence of the Slashdot entity?

It has been corrected! Thank you!

Error 404 ClosedOffice (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 7 years ago | (#18814401)

I like the internet, I use it an awful lot, but for most uses I cannot see needing an Office package to be online.
It will be nice as a compliment though for those very rare occasions.

Re:Error 404 ClosedOffice (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 7 years ago | (#18815183)

"I like the internet, I use it an awful lot, but for most uses I cannot see needing an Office package to be online."

I'm with you...I'm a bit queasy about keeping any mail I use on Gmail...but, since Katrina forced me on the run awhile back, I've not been able to set down roots and set up my email server again yet.

However, in general, I just don't want a bunch of personal docs out there on a webserver, and I can't imagine a business with any kind of security concience would want to trust a web based office application with their work and possibly trade secrets.

I'm just kind of amazed that there is a market for these web based office applications. I mean, if you've got a computer with you....don't you generally have your document processing software with you too?

Re:Error 404 ClosedOffice (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 7 years ago | (#18816165)

what if your on some one else's machine? There are countless time before I bought a laptop where I wanted to access a document I had stored at home.

I use gmail to store all my mail, but I also download it all to my laptop. Online or off I have access to that data now. I hardly ever use a full "office" sweet at home. all I really need is done with a simple spreadsheet, and word processor. of those two I use about 10% of the features found in each. So I consider Open Office bloated for what I use, but have switched out of closed formats.

With Google write, you can save your data locally. So keep information on a thumb drive, use google write, spreadsheet to open that data anywhere.

You have secured your data, but have the option of not having to carry a laptop if you don't want to.

Re:Error 404 ClosedOffice (1)

misleb (129952) | about 7 years ago | (#18816357)

what if your on some one else's machine? There are countless time before I bought a laptop where I wanted to access a document I had stored at home.



Re:Error 404 ClosedOffice (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 7 years ago | (#18817697)

Better yet, what if you have no machine?
I can see this being a boon to those with less resources in the world. Cyber cafe, library, makes no nevermind. While you and I may not want our data on "teh intarweb" I can think of an entire class of computer user for whom this makes sense.

Re:Error 404 ClosedOffice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18819609)

I hardly ever use a full "office" sweet at home.

You must be anorexic if you can't finish off a whole sweet from the basket at your office's reception desk. I mean, how big can one piece of candy be?

I do agree with taking a handful of them home, though.

Re:Error 404 ClosedOffice (1, Interesting)

hobo sapiens (893427) | about 7 years ago | (#18816211)

Am I glad to see you guys. Two other people who think this is a lame idea.

First, can you imagine how much javascript code it would take to replicate OOo online? Ack! That's a lot of non-compiled code running on a multitude of platforms. So you are on your freeBSD / KDE box using Konqueror, happily typing away at your 65K "word" doc, and crash! Not fun. As someone who does a lot of AJAX development (w/prototype), I have to say I love ajax. But making an html document/javascript app (or whatever you want to call it) behave like a desktop app? The mere thought makes me shudder. Forget who would want to use it -- who would want to develop it?

Second, just as you said...besides a perceived cool factor, what is the point? Does anyone share documents so stinking much that eMailing them or sticking them on a pen drive won't suffice?

Then there are the privacy concerns you bring up.

No thanks.

Re:Error 404 ClosedOffice (1)

misleb (129952) | about 7 years ago | (#18816661)

Fortunately the company that is doing this "OpenOffice port" is not going to use the browser. Sounds like they're using something more like X11. So I suppose it could work. Although it is still of limited usefulness. You STILL need to download and install something. I'd almost rather have regular OpenOffice (or perhaps something more stripped down) that runs locally and (optionally) talks to a common data store like Amazon S3. No, it most likely wouldn't run on mobile devices, but who wants to compose a document on a mobile device anyway? And is having 'the latest version always available' really that important in the case of an office product? I mean, how often does a major new release come out anyway? Is it really so inconvenient to run an updater every now and then? Windows Update covers Office, doesn't it? Most of OS X application have updater built in and it works just great. Start the app up in the morning and it detects a newer version, downloads, and installs. Done in 30 seconds or less.


Re:Error 404 ClosedOffice (1)

Koutarou (38114) | about 7 years ago | (#18819121)

There's a case to be made for online application suites like this in an intranet context to enforce centralized document storage for compliance reasons (oh god, a SOX clone is coming to Japan - maybe its time to move to China).

Corporates (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 7 years ago | (#18817307)

I agree with you totally about the public internet, but in a business environment with local servers, 'hosted apps' makes a lot of sense.

It is a proprietary layer on top of OO code (5, Informative)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 7 years ago | (#18814421)

From www.gravityzoo.com: The GravityZoo Framework employs patent pending technology to achieve its goals. It can be divided into three major components, all fulfilling a special and important task:

Re:It is a proprietary layer on top of OO code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18814587)

Stallman will be suing them.

Re:It is a proprietary layer on top of OO code (4, Funny)

bky1701 (979071) | about 7 years ago | (#18814745)

Or they just used "patent pending" as a synonym for "good" without even realizing the phrase has a meaning, like so many people these days.

Re:It is a proprietary layer on top of OO code (1)

tempestdata (457317) | about 7 years ago | (#18815153)

well said. I guess what they are trying to imply by saying that there is a patent pending on their technology/mechanism (or that it is patented) is that its 'innovative', 'revolutionary' and that they cannot find it elsewhere.

Re:It is a proprietary layer on top of OO code (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | about 7 years ago | (#18815303)

Patent pending does not imply they won't keep the technology available to use on other projects. I know nothing about GravityZoo so they may or may not be "evil" in the sense of patent abuse, but just because they have applied for patents doesn't automatically mean they are.

Re:It is a proprietary layer on top of OO code (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18815497)

Most small companies cannot afford to battle big players in endless patent suits. The problem of the broken patent system is that you need patents to cover your arse from the big players who have the money to do so.

The whole RIM debacle actually is more an exception to the rule. Verizon v.s. Vonage is how the real game is played. If Vonage had filed for some trivial patents which were abused by Verizon, they could have counter sued and settled without ever going to court.

The current IBM seems to be good example of the ass-covering method applied to a big player. You sue me over some stupid patent infringment? Let's see, we've got a patent for this little shiny button in the left corner of yours and by the way, we also patented your arse. So still want to challenge us?

1st 1st (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18814423)

Damn, my first post ever. Can this be?

Licensing Unclear (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18814455)

As per "Open Source [gravityzoo.com] " at the GravityZoo website [gravityzoo.com] , [...]"this requires the involvement of a global community of Information Analysts, IT architects and Engineers from both the Open Source and Commercial environment. Open Source because to achieve an egalitarian development of tomorrow's information society requires the free flow of Data Information and Intelligence to those in need. Commercial because certain developments require upfront investments and thus risktaking, a step the Open Source community is not always willing or capable to take. In the latter case the risktaking should be rewarded by limiting the access on a for Pay basis.
It is therefore that The GravityZoo Company from day one decide to implement a Dual Licensing model.
More information about our Open Source projects and activities will be available at this page soon."

Until they clarify their licensing, I refuse to be interested, let alone excited.

There is also so far only a Windows client. They don't even have a beta for other platforms. So I'm not interested in that way, also.

Also: if it requires a special client, it is not (repeat not) a web-based app. I don't fucking care how it's delivered. The web is browsed with a web browser - see how that works?

Re:Licensing Unclear (1)

griebels2 (998954) | about 7 years ago | (#18816395)

Also: if it requires a special client, it is not (repeat not) a web-based app. I don't fucking care how it's delivered. The web is browsed with a web browser - see how that works?

GravityZoo never claimed to be a web app, it's just that Zonk needs to get his glasses realigned. There is a huge difference between bringing something to the browser and to "the net". The latter can be done with all kinds of technologies. GravityZoo is a much more generic approach than most standard client-server based technologies.

Most people those days seem to have forgotten the difference between the World Wide Web and the Internet. Even bittorent is considered a "Web 2.0" application, it even doesn't use the HTTP protocol, maybe except the first download of the application. So maybe we do not only need to get Zonks glasses realigned ;)

Wow, vaporware! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18814471)

I'm impressed by this letter to the OOo developers saying all the cool things this will do, at some point when it's released.

I'd like to take this time to announce my new patent-pending vaporware storage system, where you can download tomorrow's amazing software... tomorrow.

And there's this thing called VNC that seems to do the same thing (?)

But... (0, Flamebait)

krod4 (516423) | about 7 years ago | (#18814479)

Do anyone care? openoffice has about one third of the options of Microsoft Office... No serious user can be satisfied with openoffice. I tried looking at my Microsoft Office documents in openoffice, none of them looked right.. openoffice is obviously for nerds only.. those that really could use Microsoft Notepad, but wants something that takes longer time to load, and SEEMS to have more options...

Re:But... (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18814681)

Do anyone care? openoffice has about one third of the options of Microsoft Office... No serious user can be satisfied with openoffice.

You appear to be under the mistaken assumption that you are a serious user.

But anyone who would use any part of microsoft office but excel and perhaps outlook is by definition not a serious user.

Powerpoint has support only for crap low resolutions. Word is a pathetic joke in terms of layout and typesetting ability and publisher frankly is not noticeably better. Access? Don't fucking get me started.

If you want to do a presentation that anyone is going to care about, you're producing a video, not a powerpoint presentation. If you're trying to create a document for external release, like advertising or documentation, neither word nor publisher can help you. You must use something real, like Framemaker, InDesign, et cetera.

Office is a sad, pathetic Joke. OO.o does everything that office does well, but not as well as office does it in some cases. But in terms of casual use of an office suite, which is all office is good for anyway (again, with the exception of excel, IMO Microsoft's only worthwhile program period full stop) there is simply nothing significant missing from OO.o.

Anything office does that OO.o doesn't, office does a horrible job with.

Re:But... (0, Troll)

Schnoogs (1087081) | about 7 years ago | (#18814969)

So tired of the fanboys....you would have come off so much smarter if you had just said "Office costs too much" and left it at that.

Re:But... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18815275)

So tired of the fanboys....you would have come off so much smarter if you had just said "Office costs too much" and left it at that.

I don't care what some slashbots think of my level of intelligence. Some people will get more out of my comments than others. I'm okay with that.

The simple fact is that office doesn't cost too much for an actually useful application suite. But instead it's made up of a bunch of total crap. Word is fine for writing letters and such (Word -- write letters n' shit, yo) but useless for anything more, and publisher is just useless. It doesn't do anything significant that Word doesn't, it just has a different interface.

The fact that lots of people use office to turn out volumes of substandard work doesn't make it good software. It makes those people stupid.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18816459)

yes, word is fine for writing letters and such. This is its intended purpose, and for that purpose, it is better than OO.o. It is not inDesign or XPress or Framemaker, and if you try to use it as such, you will fall shrot, but as a program for producing documents, specifications, legal documents, etc. and at this it is great. It may not be the best of breed, I have not tried every word processor, but I have tried OO.o and word is much better. I agree that Excel simply can not be beaten. Microsoft has done this one right. Publsiher, I agree is atrocious. It is Pagemaker 5, at best. Outlook works. It has issues, but as far as a completely integrated calendar, schedule management and email client, it works. Access..... what can we say about Access.... if you are a database guy, you will hate it. Its non standard SQL implementation, seems to enforce bad habits, but if you are not a database guy, Access works. Its simple and can handle databases larger than the average person will ever have need of, all with visual design, query building and reporting tools. Its not fantastic, but it works, and for its target market, it works quite well. I won't go into Powerpoint because I think that all software of its type is worthless. If you want to have a meeting with me, I'll sit down and we can talk. If there are complicated issues, send me and email with bullet points and I will read it before I show up, Powerpoint presentions are nothing more than masterbatory exercises for those with way too much time. You can bash Microsoft for Windows, quite rightly, but Office is worth the money. It performs well in most circumstances. It is when people try to use it for things it was not designed for that things go bad. (like using word to design web pages, or to do typetting, or trying to use excel as a database, or even attempting to use Access as a networked database)

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18815377)

I'm sick of the M$ fanboys. If you don't understand the open source model don't post dumb comments here. Go and start a blog where you can boast about all the cool VB.Net hacks you've discovered. Sell some crapware. Do what you want.

Re:But... (2, Insightful)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 7 years ago | (#18815787)

"Access? Don't fucking get me started"....sigh, why not get started, you did on most of the others.

I'm no fan of Office or of OO.o. Both are tools and as such open to personal opinion for their good and bad traits. However, when you slam something give me an alternative Ican review, test, and try as comparison. I've done well received presentation with Powerpoint. Not many have the time to create "video", not does video work for a teaching or instructional medium.

Do you know of a better tool then powerpoint that is simple to use, costs little, allows high res images, and wont take forever to create a result? Not busting, that is a serious question. Same thing with Word or Publisher. Cite other tools and I'll taste test to see if I have the same view.

Telling me it sucsk is only half the job, tell me the better solution and why; that give more cred to the statements.

Re:But... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18816075)

Do you know of a better tool then powerpoint that is simple to use, costs little, allows high res images, and wont take forever to create a result? Not busting, that is a serious question.

To be honest, I haven't used Impress, but it doesn't seem to be much harder to use, and I know it supports higher resolutions.

In the interest of full disclosure, everything I know about Impress is second-hand. If I wanted to create a presentation I'd use Scala InfoChannel Designer (it being the easiest way I have to create video presentations.)

Same thing with Word or Publisher. Cite other tools and I'll taste test to see if I have the same view.

Word, again, is for writing letters and memos. OO.o Writer does everything that you SHOULD be doing with Word.

You can replace publisher with Scribus, which I've actually tested out a few times, replicating jobs I've done in InDesign. It's not quite as easy to use but InDesign is missing some extremely obvious features itself (like autonumbering of figures or indeed anything but pages, the ability to flow text into automatically created new pages with multiple master text frames, and a number of other basic items) so you probably wouldn't feel like you were missing anything anyway. For actual work, I use InDesign CS2 at the moment, which costs money. But Scribus is really quite good.

The one thing I'm missing in Free software land, actually, is a vector graphics program with decent EPS support so I can interoperate with Illustrator users. Also I have to say the printing system is ballocks. I have SERIOUS problems with printing being offset down the page and such. I'm not very impressed with CUPS, and I've been using it since it was relatively new. It's a huge pain in my ass. Not that the state of printing on Linux was all that hot before... It was surely worse.

Re:But... (1)

zsau (266209) | about 7 years ago | (#18819187)

Um. Apple uses CUPS in Mac OS X, so that sounds like it must be some sort of a configuration issue. It's certainly never happened to me. But, driver support is such that I've always used good ol' sneaker net for my printing. And when I have been able to almost get it to work, it's always seemed quite flaky. So I'll generally agree with you, but your problem must have some resolution...

Re:But... (1)

DarthChris (960471) | about 7 years ago | (#18816427)

You'll be amazed what you can get LaTeX to do with the right packages installed. It is about as complex as HTML, and of course free. I have seen perfectly good presentations made using it, as well.

I've seen a couple of people mention problems with getting directories to line up correctly, but there are complete distributions which have decent documentation on this sort of thing.

Re:But... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 7 years ago | (#18819647)

But in terms of casual use of an office suite, which is all office is good for anyway (again, with the exception of excel, IMO Microsoft's only worthwhile program period full stop) there is simply nothing significant missing from OO.o.

As a *nix user who loathes Microsoft in general and Office in particular, but who also owns a Tablet PC (which only really works well in Windows) and frequently takes notes in class, I have one word for you:


I couldn't care less about Word, PowerPoint, or even Excel (except in the rare occasion I have to make a bar chart with "whiskers," which OO.o Chart can't do), but my demo copy of OneNote is so wonderful I'm actually considering buying the student version of Office (which, if you knew me, would make you wonder if I'd been replaced by a pod person).

If only OO.o had an equivalent...

But... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18814481)

...will it run in Firefox?

Deja vu all over again... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18814483)

I seem to recall that Sun attempted to do this with Star Office a few years back.

They gave up on it after a while, most likely because (1.) it took more in the doing than they thought and (2.) the marketoplace didn't show the expected interest.

Why? (2, Insightful)

squoozer (730327) | about 7 years ago | (#18814489)

This has about a much chance of flying as your common or garden stone. Aside from the fact that the article appears to be fundamentally flawed who would really want this functionality? Networks are just too slow for this to really work well. Even dumb terminals have lag and they are generally connected via a high speed network with minimal hops. Factor in the Interweb and this is just another web 2.0 pipe dream. Why is there this obsession with putting everything on the network even when it's not suitable for it?

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | about 7 years ago | (#18815169)

Have you ever used Google Applications? Because I have and I have to say they enable collaborative editing in a way I have never experienced with bolt-on products. I'm not sure that the first iteration of this would accomplish that kind of ability, it seems more an alternative to Citrix, but I'm fairly confident if it's open source something similar will eventually be added.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18815321)

You probably have been living in a remote desert for some while now?

Latency can be a problem, but the trick is all about getting your applications as close to the user as possible. Google is doing this by building datacenters close to you.

Also, I've been using SSH and Terminal Server (the M$ thing) for years. If the latency is less than about 50 ms (round trip), it works almost like you are there.

people hate web apps (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | about 7 years ago | (#18814509)

When are all those idiotic web developers going to realize people HATE web apps. They have about 10% of the functionality of desktop apps, they need an internet connection to run, they take up TONS of resources on servers, they're glitchy, slow, unreliable, don't always work in other browsers than IE, are security nightmares, and might disappear any day along with your ability to edits the filetypes they make. Nobody likes web apps!!!!!

Re:people hate web apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18820027)

GravityZoo is not about web apps [gravityzoo.com] [GZF_techoverview_2_1_rc2.pdf]. There are many ways [gravityzoo.com] to start applications, even from a webpage.

"4.1. Web applications Web applications are essentially interactive web sites, supposed to implement the functionality of applications. Some early examples of web applications are ecommerce applications and web mail applications (think of Hotmail and more recently Gmail).The advantages of bringing applications to the Web are plenty: Web applications don't need to be installed on the computers. Users only need a compatible Web browser to use the application, there is usually no need to install extra software for a specific application. The Web application can easily be shared over the Internet, so it can be available worldwide at relatively low costs. However, there are also quite some limitations. Limitations, which have prevented the transformation of many of the most-commonly used productivity applications (like common Office Applications). What are these limitations?: web applications use a client-pull technology. The server-side can only wait for a request. Tools like JavaScript can ease the pain, but don't solve the deficiency entirely.Remark: the huge amount of Java Scripting is very tedious, time consuming and often exposes vital business logic to the client. web applications cannot act out of the context of the browser. This of course is a security measure, but at the same time a mayor limitation rendering web applications unsuiteable for direct communication with most peripherals of the common computer. web applications only support a small subset of commonly used user-interface functionality. Many advanced features are either not available or are nonrealizable."

Saved automatically on the network?? (1)

bobbonomo (997543) | about 7 years ago | (#18814573)

"Saved automatically on the network" On whose network? To me this says their network. Do you really want to save all those letters to clients or CVs or proposals for a contract on someone else's computer?

I bet this sounds great for people that make word processing packages. We all know who that is.

GravityZood_support@yahoogroups.com (2, Funny)

bozendoka (739643) | about 7 years ago | (#18814577)

I was GravityZood last year...it was horrible. The...the nightmares! I...my...my wife left me, my therapist committed suicide, my dog *SOB* I can't talk about it any more. Run! RUN! While you still can!

Overlords (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18814605)

I, for one, welcome our new web-based overlords.

Business plan (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 7 years ago | (#18814639)

  1. Put open source desktop app on server.
  2. Sell as web service.
  3. Profit!

Another great Web 2.0 concept.

Some days I think the Web peaked at HTML 3.2.

Re:Business plan (1)

earnest murderer (888716) | about 7 years ago | (#18816795)

Some days I think the Web peaked at HTML 3.2.

That's because it did. Everything since is at best a veneer. Useless animation, cute tricks, and advertising delivery platforms. I don't think there is a single site I visit that has a feature that actually benefits me that isn't trivial in Netscape 3.0.

The part that caught my eye was "patent pending', which my cynical self read as locking up OSS software into a for profit container. Not that they shouldn't get credit for doing something unique, but I'd wager what they're doing wouldn't be at all possible if OOo wasn't OSS software.

Nothing new here? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 7 years ago | (#18814657)

I can't see how this is different to what you can do already with FreeNX, except that FreeNX is available now, and this is vapourware.

Re:Nothing new here? (1)

griebels2 (998954) | about 7 years ago | (#18814831)

FreeNX is a "terminal based" solution. This means running your application on a server and getting your screen output over-the-wire. It's a cheap alternative to Citrix, Terminal Server and works a bit better than plain-old-X.

GravityZoo isn't based on "terminal technology", it's based on "distributed objects". A plain-old terminal based solution would never scale beyond a limited number of clients.

Re:Nothing new here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18815681)

It's clear that you haven't even visited their website. I wouldn't call a company that has been ranked by Red Herring as a top 200 company of the EMEA region vaporware. Damn trolls!

Sure this will work (4, Funny)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | about 7 years ago | (#18814711)

'When OpenOffice.org is GravityZood, it will become a suite of productivity applications that are always available, online, via a broad range of devices.
...and when that fails I hear there is good money to be found in verbing nouns.

Firefox (4, Funny)

Dan East (318230) | about 7 years ago | (#18814719)

What I'm looking forward to is a web-based version of Firefox.

Dan East

Re:Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18815195)

You joke, but apparently YouOS actually lets you do this. And there's always chrome://browser/content/browser.xul .

Re:Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18815577)

It's already online!

Great Idea, Ok not... (3, Interesting)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | about 7 years ago | (#18814777)

Ok, we all kind of understand that there will come a time when bandwidth allows profile concepts to be moved to a universally accessible secure location. But it will have to be a highly secured and trusted service or user created server service. (i.e. A home BSD box or even Windows Home Server for example for home users.)

However, I don't want my personal documents stored on their servers, and I know most business policies will not allow documents to be stored in this manner.

Also, why are they 'reinventing' the wheel with patented technology to do this? There are many known and secure remote app technologies that could be already put into place for something like this.

I'm open to ideas here, but I don't see how this is 'Open' or a good thing...

Google?? (1)

darkbeethoven (976422) | about 7 years ago | (#18814809)

What's the difference between this and what google is already doing? Except google's doing it for free.

Re:Google?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18814975)

The fact that Google's web apps are actually useful.

Anyone who has ever commented on Open Office saying that it is a great tool or something useful has never used the product before.

Re:Google?? (1)

xENoLocO (773565) | about 7 years ago | (#18815193)

Sounds like it to me... and it wouldn't suprise me. Makes me want to develop an "Open Slogan".

Open Source -- Innovating where others have already innovated before.
or maybe
Open Source -- We'll have that feature soon, too.

Open Source -- So many cooks that no one has been fed in years (except the cooks).

Just what the web needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18814933)

Just what we need, another damn Java Crapplet.

It's the new "service" paradigm that people are trying to push.

No need to buy office, just rent it online.

Pretty soon, it will be "no need to buy a computer, just rent it, and pay by the CPU hour"

Well, guess what folks, I for one have a problem with that model.

1. Bandwidth is not there yet, it will not be there for quite a while
2. I'm already paying for bandwidth, now they want to make me pay for something that I can use, and pay AGAIN for downloading it?
3. Service guarentees, if my computer crashes, it's my own damn fault, if the net becomes unusable, who's to blame, can I use the excuse the net ate my homework?
4. People can't code to save their lives in regular applications, now using a DISTRIBUTED model, that is supposed to make things equal, or BETTER? yeah, right.

I don't know why they even call these services. When I pay for other services, I get things done. This is just another case of the open-source 'I can do it too'.

mod dO7wn (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18815091)

The gay Niigers escape them by

Architecturally, it's possible. (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | about 7 years ago | (#18815147)

Although the title of this story is a little misleading, I should point out that it is possible for something like a web-based OpenOffice to come into existence.

OpenOffice is built using a retargetable GUI framework -- that's what allows it to work on both Windows and Linux without the need to resort to cheap and sleazy WINE tricks. So, theoretically at least, it's possible to build a front end to OpenOffice that targets the browser as a remote desktop.

Re:Architecturally, it's possible. (1)

jhfry (829244) | about 7 years ago | (#18817721)

Err... no... not really.

An html/css/javascript frontend could be written for it... POSSIBLY
The core code can support hundreds of users accessing it via a web interface... NOT LIKELY

I think it would be safe to say that this is far from a simple GUI replacement.

I like the idea of web based apps... but don't so much care for storing my data on a 3rd party's servers. I wish Google would create an apps appliance (I'm sure they will someday)... or even release their code so that I could freely install it on my own servers. 99% of my necessary tasks could be done entirely from within my browser!

Entire businesses could be run on dirt cheap webclient terminals connecting to a series of web servers hosted internally. A true network administrator's dream, assuming it worked more often than not.

Video Support in Impress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18815259)

I don't really see the utility of offering OpenOffice in various forms such as the web-frontend presumably discussed in the article (no I didn't RTFA). While OO.o appears to have most of the basics, some fundamental features are totally absent.

My personal pet peeve about openoffice is that it's almost impossible to play videos in a presentation. I spent a full day trying to instal the java media environment that is required to perform this task and never got even close. The workaround suggested by a document from the OO.o website was to use individual macros to play movies, but that was cumbersome and not really what I wanted to do.

I can appreciate that maybe the GravityZoo developers do not have this as their forte, but it seems like more work getting OO.o to a more polished state supersedes the goal of introducing web frontends (whose usefulness is questionable in the first place.

Can't do it (3, Funny)

ichthus (72442) | about 7 years ago | (#18815269)

I just can't use a product associated with the name "GravityZoo." GravityZoo sounds too much like GravityGlue... which sounds too much like CavityGlue... which sounds just a little too close to CavityJew... which reminds me of the dentist (sorry for the anti-Semitism -- I needed this for the joke to work. I love you guys. Shalom!) Anyhoo, so... the dentist. I don't like the dentist, and so, logically, I don't like GravityZoo. QED.

Re:Can't do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18815675)

"OpenOffice is built using a retargetable GUI framework [...]. So, theoretically at least, it's possible to build a front end to OpenOffice that targets the browser as a remote desktop."

I would choose a bold, blinking, one hundred point font for "theoretically" here. That retargetable GUI framework is so good that porting to Macintosh takes only x years, where x is what?

Re:Can't do it (Ob Seinfeld) (1)

gotem (678274) | about 7 years ago | (#18816811)

you anti-dentine
next time you will be saying they should go to special schools

Re:Can't do it (Ob Seinfeld) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18820015)

it's anti-dentite, DENTITE!, you cock-gumming faggot

Google Docs (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18815473)

Too little, too late. I'm pretty sure that Google Docs is using OpenOffice code for a large portion of Google Docs functionality. (Take a look at the Google spreadsheets help and also note the producer tag on its pdf output.)

That said, any spreadsheet application needs to be able to perform regression and factor analysis at a minimum to be useful to me. Google Docs has no such advanced statistical functionality, Excel is satisfactory, and SYSTAT is preferred. Fancy formatting be damned, it's actual functionality that matters to me. Hell, a CLI is all that is really required; I started with MINITAB and SAS on a monochrome VAX/VMS connected terminal about 15 years ago, it worked just fine and little, if anything, since has improved on it. I'm betting it would not be too hard to turn VMS apps into web services...

If SSI ever does web-based applications then colour me interested.

Sage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18815663)

So they're basically trying to reinvent X. Except X already works now, is tried and tested, and it doesn't need proprietary shit.

Promising but not there yet. (1)

moco (222985) | about 7 years ago | (#18816005)

Gravity Zoo is very promising, i can think of many applications that could be enhanced by it (OO included, imagine it in a corporate environment), but it is not there yet. It is between proof of concept and betas. Lots to be done before i can really think about including it in a production environment. Congratulations and best of luck to the Gravity Zoo people.

Common data store (2, Interesting)

misleb (129952) | about 7 years ago | (#18816787)

Ok, it seems to me that the single biggest draw for these online desktop-like apps is to have access to your files from anywhere. Assuming that is correct, they why aren't we seeing more traditional apps that are capable of drawing from a common network data store such as Amazone S3? I know Amazon provides an API. Seem like you could extend OpenOffice to talk to S3 (or similar) directly and you'd have your "documents just about anywhere" feature that everyone (on Slashdot) seems to think is so useful. Really, it is such a relatively simple solution considering compared to trying to coerce a web browser into doing things God never meant it to do.


The market is there, how about the players? (1)

conradov (1026760) | about 7 years ago | (#18817253)

There is absolutely a big market for this. That is what 37signals [37signals.com] and Google [google.com] , among others, are proving with their web apps.

The benefits of web office apps are many and great. I do not intend to discuss them here, since it is too long a topic. For instance, the same site links to a very interesting article on the subject [gravityzoo.com] .

What is holding this evolution of the systems right now are the genuine security and confidentiality concerns from managers and sysadmins. As many stated, most companies will not trust their data to servers that leave a minimum possibility for security breaches. That is what makes Google Apps (and the likes) not a viable option for many.

I do not yet clearly understand the goals of this project, but I hope they intend to make the resulting applications open source, and easy to install.

One project with that goal in mind is OpenGoo [opengoo.org] , with which I am involved. What the project intends is to form a community from existing open source project members to leverage their work in the pursuit of this ambitious goal that we believe can not be achieved by one single OS project alone.

Please contact me [methegeek.com] if you want to get involved or have any ideas or suggestions for the project.

Always available, online? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18817579)

Now that's an oxymoron if there ever was one.

Always online? Remote storage? No Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18818137)

I have a laptop and use OO. I like the ability to write when I don't have the internet. It uses less energy to do so, and doesn't mandate the connection. All my docs are local and backed up on other media.

Put simply, this offers no advantage to my current configuration, which everyone else in America worth a damn already has.

No thanks!

Re:Always online? Remote storage? No Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18818409)

If you had taken the effort to read the documentation available on their website you would know that GravityZoo provides the capability to even work offline and gives the choice to save your data locally!

Missing Option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18818853)

I prefer to dictate to Cowboy Neal.

How to hook the Slashdot crowd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18818919)

Congratulations to the guerrilla marketing exec that got a few thousand FOSS coders to look at a brand new product with no demo applications. Brilliant!
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