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LibreOffice has done it. They have made the full transition from a speculative branch of popular alternative office software Apache OpenOffice to genuine competitor. Their recent announcement that LibreOffice would be joining the swelling ranks of cloud based office software was met with excitement – there appears to be a massive amount of goodwill toward LibreOffice, and their growing ability to challenge Microsoft continues attract interest.
It isn’t ready just yet. It should be ready by the end of the year. It was originally conceived way back in 2011, alongside announcements for Android and iOS versions – both of which are also yet to appear, with the iOS version potentially never appearing. However, if you want – nay, demand LibreOffice in your browser before the end of the year, MakeUseOf has you covered. Read on, friend!
If you haven’t come across RollApp yet, it’s certainly worth a look. RollApp builds a cloud based virtual platform, allowing you to run applications within your web browser. Applications behave exactly how their desktop counterparts do, albeit with minute time differences, depending on your Internet connection.
- LibreOffice Writer: com/app/lowriter
- LibreOffice Calc: com/app/localc
- LibreOffice Draw: com/app/lodraw
- LibreOffice Impress: com/app/loimpress
It is ridiculously easy – seriously. You’ll have to sign up to save your files – use one of the offered social accounts, your email, or a throwaway 10 Minute Mail account if you’re comfortable you’ll never forget your password. RollApp also offers a pretty solid roster of apps including GIMP, GanttProject, Notepad++, FreeCAD, and more. You can even skip LibreOffice and head for Calligra Words, Sheets, Plan, and Stage, if you like.
RollApp offers use of LibreOffice 4.1.3. This is several versions back from the current (and best) LibreOffice 4.4.X release, but for a free service, who is complaining?
Using a Linux Server
N.B: I haven’t tested this method, but have watched others complete the tutorial.
It is possible to use a Linux server to launch LibreOffice within a web browser. The Document Foundation wiki explains how you can run LibreOffice in your browser. The following video also demonstrates the workaround up and running in a Mozilla browser – though unfortunately there is no sound:
To get this working on a Windows machine, you’ll need to download a virtual machine, a Linux distro, a cloud server package, recompile the LibreOffice source files, upload – and off you go. I mean, yes, this works, but is it really worth it when there are so many other solutions you could use, the one mentioned above included?
How Does It Compare?
Both of these solutions are worthwhile if you really need LibreOffice in your browser. But realistically they are novel workarounds for a non-issue – I mean seriously, why not either wait until the end of the year, or just use one of the already established cloud office packages? Both Microsoft Office and Google Drive are excellent cloud office solutions you can access from any computer with an Internet connection, from any operating system.
I’m sure the outcome of LibreOffice Online/Browser/”insert final name here” will be an excellent addition to the cloud office solutions spectrum, but right now you’re still better off heading to one of the established names. Considering the integration of Google Docs with Android devices and Office Online integration with the desktop version, LibreOffice is going up against extremely strong, well established competition – so kudos to The Document Foundation, as I know many people will welcome their addition, and many will likely make the switch.
Bleh. If you must, use the RollApp solution. It is fast, handy, and importantly works easily. There isn’t too much messing around. Avoid the 2nd solution unless you really want to learn how the solution works, or have a penchant for ridiculous solutions to problems that aren’t real. Use Google Docs, or Office Online, or search the Chrome Web Store for one of the other Office applications – there are plenty of them.
As I mentioned, I am looking forward to LibreOffice in browser form – it’s just not quite here yet. What makes you eager to use LibreOffice online?