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Open source cloud app suite launches to rival Google Docs and Office 365

20 Mar 2013
Open-Xchange OX Documents

Open-Xchange has launched OX Documents, a web-based productivity suite that will eventually include word processor, spreadsheet and presentations tools that can be accessed via a browser using multiple platforms.

Released as open source, the platform could prove a rival for Google Docs or Microsoft's Office 365 service, the latter of which provides access to Microsoft's browser-based Office Web Apps.

Initially, OX Documents comprises just OX Text, an in-browser word processor, but this will be joined later in 2013 by Presentation and Spreadsheet apps to complete the Suite.

OX Documents is available separately or as an extension to Open-Xchange's OX App Suite, a web platform offering email, calendar and contacts capabilities, plus file storage and collaboration.

The suite was developed by former members of the OpenOffice development team and intended as a web-based successor, using HTML5 and JavaScript to deliver a consistent user experience across a range of devices such as Apple's iPhone and iPad (pictured).

Consequently, it natively supports Microsoft Office and OpenOffice / LibreOffice file formats, with what the company calls non-destructive support to preserve document fidelity.

"A crucial factor in the development of OX Text was not to introduce yet another proprietary file format to further add to the productivity compatibility jungle," said Open-Xchange chief executive Rafael Laguna.

"It always keeps the original document format by not attempting to alter or convert non-compatible native formatting features. This means that when you reopen the document in Word it is formatted as originally intended," he added.

A major feature of OX Text is that multiple users can view and edit the same document simultaneously, allowing for structured collaboration, according to the firm.

OX Text will be available from early April under the GNU General Public License (GPL) v2, as well as well as under commercial licenses that enable service providers to provide it to end users as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud-hosted offering.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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