LibreOffice is a free, open-source, cross-platform suite of office apps including software for creating spreadsheets, documents, and presentations. There are versions of LibreOffice available for Linux, Windows, OS X, and there’s even an early build for Android.
Now the folks behind LibreOffice have announced plans to bring the office suite to a new platform: the web.
Collabora and IceWarp are working on a web-based version of LibreOffice.
Work to make an online version of LibreOffice has actually been underway since 2011. But development has been largely stuck at the “proof of concept” phase. Now the Document Foundation says the goal is to make LibreOffice “into a state of the art cloud application, which will become the free alternative to proprietary solutions such as Google Docs and Office 365.”
Note that “free” in this case means free as in freedom or free speech, not free as in, you don’t have to pay money for it. You don’t have to pay a penny to use Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365, but you also cannot examine or modify the source code of those services the way you can with LibreOffice software.
LibreOffice Online will also be the first cloud-based office suite to use ODF (Open Document Format) as its native format.
If you want to host your own instance of LibreOffice on your own server, you should be able to do that. What’s a little less clear from the announcement is if there are plans to offer a true Google Docs competitor that you don’t have to set up on a private cloud, but which you can visit just by pointing your web browser to a URL.