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Document Foundation pledges Office 365 and Google Docs challenger

Free, open-source, independent cloud and mob collab suite coming

A hosted edition of LibreOffice is planned as a free and open alternative to Office 365 and Google Docs by year's end.

The suite would provide online editing and sharing of documents written using the free, open-source suite.

The Document Foundation said on Wednesday that LibreOffice contributor Collabora is working with collaboration specialist IceWarp to deliver web-based editing in the suite.

An HTML5 version of LibreOffice was first discussed in 2011 and saw development of a new rendering engine to work in properly in the browser.

Documents will be stored and managed in IceWarp server, the basis of that company’s online collaboration platform. IceWarp provides groupware, calendar and document management, IM, video and mobile synchronization via HTML5 web client.

Where the goal of such suites was once to take on Microsoft’s ubiquitous Office on the desktop now its targets are Office 365 and Google's free suite.

Document Foundation chairman Thorsten Behrens claimed in a statement that Libreoffice users would be able to switch seamlessly between desktop, mobile and cloud versions of the open-source suite “without leaving his free software of choice.”

The Foundation promised to deliver something any provider could implement, without restrictions in terms of document formats or the lock-in of vendor-provided cloud.

“The companies [Collabora and IceWarp] aim to restore fair competition to a market dominated by monopoly suppliers, as well as to drive innovation, compatibility and interoperability through open formats, across all platforms for everybody,” the Foundation said. ®

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