In case you haven’t tried it yet, the recently released OpenOffice 3.0 suite of free, open source productivity applications has a lot of improvements over previous versions, especially for Mac users. Recently, I’ve been working with the free, online-hosted versions of the applications available through Ulteo. Many users of Zoho’s and Google’s online hosted applications should look into these, as the features are different, and in some cases go beyond what Google and Zoho provide.
Ulteo offers tiered subscriptions for using the applications but there is a free option that comes with 1GB of online storage space for your documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more.
I signed up for an Ulteo account in less than two minutes, and was able to work right away in Writer, which is OpenOffice 3′s word processor. In addition to Writer, you can work with spreadhseets, databases, presentations and more. You can also easily collaborate with remote users within the applications.
OpenOffice’s spreadsheet Calc, in particular, is much more robust than Google’s and Zoho’s spreadsheet offerings. It adheres closely to Office software standards in its interface, and works online in Ulteo just as it does in the offline version. You’ll find many features found in Excel, and good graphics capabilities.
Performance is reasonably snappy in the applications, although I’d reach for an offline word processor before an online one for a bit of added speed. Still, online collaboration may be attractive enough to you to go with slightly less speed than you get offline.
Ulteo isn’t the only player delivering OpenOffice online. Zooos is pursuing a similar strategy, as covered here. However, Zooos’ applications are previews for now.
Ulteo also has a new offering out, which I’m planning to try, and Kristin covered it here on OStatic today. It’s called the Open Virtual Desktop. Kristin says: “Instead of existing in Ulteo’s server environment and under Ulteo’s control, this software can be installed on a company’s server, customized to the company’s needs, and integrated with Active Directory/LDAP so that employees can access their online desktops from anywhere. There isn’t any client software required.” With it, users can take advantage of Windows and Linux desktops in tandem. I plan to do a review of it shortly, but in the meantime check out Kristin’s thoughts.