In my first entry about ONLYOFFICE, which is both a software-as-a-service offering you can purchase for individuals or teams and software you can install on your Linux system via traditional package or Docker containers, a key piece of the puzzle was missing.
That piece was the "document server," which allows users to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations through the web browser in real time.
As of April 20, ONLYOFFICE is offering Document Server 3.0 to make that happen.
Also announced that day are Mail Server 1.0, and Community Server 8.5.0.
And according to the blog post, you can get it all in one bundle.
How could I have missed ONLYOFFICE? If not for this How to Forge article on installing it, I would have never known that it existed as a hosted alternative to Google Docs/Spreadsheets or that you can self-host the software, though I'm not sure how functional the roll-your-own version is at this point.
The air leaves the balloon when I see this line:
*Online Document Editors aren't included into the Community Server solution and will be available soon as a separate installation, however now you can download the previous version.
Without the "online document editors," what's left?
I certainly want to try ONLYOFFICE on their hosted service. The world is crying out for collaborative tools that aren't controlled by Google/Apple/Microsoft.
At my day job, we've been using Slack to collaborate and mostly cut down on email. Probably half the attraction is that Slack is not part of a massive corporate entity.
Any of the biggies -- Google, Microsoft, Apple -- could have done what Slack is doing. They still could. It's pretty simple. And that's one of the main reasons why Slack is so compelling. I expect Slack to do much more as time goes on. I also expect somebody big to make an offer to buy Slack outright.
Like Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, Slack is a hosted service. It has to stay that way to monetize. Or so it seems.
Companies like mine are happy to use hosted services. We are deep in Google (Docs/Drive/Mail). A large part of the attraction is not having to host, troubleshoot or maintain the software or the servers. Many companies large and small don't think of IT as part of their core business and would rather farm it out to Google, Amazon or Microsoft (and often all three). Or it comes down to cost. The cloud can be cheaper. Or at least those costs are consistent.
But there are other people, entities and companies that desperately want to host and run their own services and keep everything under local control.
Just because it's a cloud world doesn't mean we don't want our own cloud (even if OwnCloud isn't quite the way to do it).
If ONLYOFFICE lives up to the hype, it could be a player for those who want to collaborate using web-based apps while retaining total control over their work.