ODF Collaborative Web Editing

Look out, World! The desktop office suite and Google Docs and such are soon to be obsolete because there’s a fully FLOSS web application coming soon. Check out the beta. It’s trivial to install. Just unzip in the root of the PHP-capable web server and permit writing to the directory, “owncloud”. You can put the data directory outside the Document Root to increase security. It also needs a password and username for a MySQL database.

Current “cloud” offerings have this little problem with standards…
“Organizations looking for open standard based ODF formats are out of luck. This lack of support of ODF has created a huge demand (need) for an online editor which allows users to create and edit documents in ODF format.”

Here’s OwnCloud running on my Beast:
Owncloud_screenshot
OK, it lacks features and charm but RMS will probably love this because it’s FLOSS anyone can run on their own server or desktop.

see ownCloud Documents: Pure open source, open standard based Google Docs, iWork, Office 365 competitor.

A neat feature is that they have clients for OwnCloud that run on Android/Linux, GNU/Linux, MacOS or That Other OS to sync local files (documents and images…) with OwnCloud. This would be great for The Little Woman except that she’s using a BlackBerry… Maybe she will drop it seriously. It already has few good dings. 😉

UPDATE By running two browsers and two identities, I was able to share files back and forth. There were a few seconds of lag but it worked. I could see both cursors and what both users were typing from two viewpoints. I just put the two users in the same group, “friends” and clicked share with friends. I had to check “share with link”. I don’t know why, but that works. I could upload any kind of file but the editor only works with *.odt. It’s a bit rough in spots but this thing is usable for many purposes. It even has a calendar. Searching didn’t work for me. It kept wanting to index stuff and never found anything… Overall it’s still decent as a beta. There is a “stable” release at Install. They even have packages for Debian GNU/Linux!

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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14 Responses to ODF Collaborative Web Editing

  1. Dr Loser says:

    Any ideas on O_EXCL yet, oiaohm?

  2. Dr Loser says:

    Not that the argument, from Posix through shadow volumes through “golly gosh, there are several possible interactions here! It’s all Microsoft’s fault!” needs elaborating at this point, oioaohm, but I will elaborate in any case:

    Sections inside a OOXML document can be individually protected and encrypted

    Quite possibly so. Care to share a single instance where this has been even a temporary issue, let alone a persistent one?

    You’ve got nothing, have you? Not a single link.

    The whole idea is preposterous. But, let’s tune in to your tin-foil hat wavelength. Let’s assume it’s not preposterous.

    Mind if you explain how “ODF Collaborative Web Edting” — remember, this is Robert’s hooray hooray some sort of mostly useless catch-up collaborative document sharing over the Web post — avoids these non-existent issues that you are pulling out of thin air?

    I’ll leave That Exploit Guy to deal with the rest of your gibberish. He’s demolished every pathetic little guess you’ve come up with so far.

  3. That Exploit Guy says:

    Remember you claimed Author controls IRM this is in mostly false. Network Admin controls IRM and can force IRM settings on end users.
    Wrong. Try having the correct line next time when you “cite” something.
    Sections inside a OOXML document can be individually protected and encrypted.
    Are you trying to tell me that you can protect content that hasn’t even been created yet? This is not to mention your argument is based on the utterly absurd notion that “people forget what documents they have enabled protection on”. My request is simple: demonstrate that IRM does, in a reasonably realistic scenario, interfere with the plugin, then I’ll concede that you have a point. All you are doing right now is spinning more and more yarn that does not pertain to the subject matter in any shape of form, and you are simply wasting my time by asking me to read it.
    So I can take it you have never worked in government departments
    The moment a government department hires you despite you can’t read or write properly is the moment Santa Claus comes to town.
    And Santa Claus is still nowhere to be found.

  4. Dr Loser says:

    Have you figured out what O_EXCL is designed for yet, oiaohm?

    Just a friendly prompt. Once you’ve explained what you actually meant to say when you got that little Posix detail hopelessly wrong, we can perhaps continue with this interesting discussion.

    Just to help you out, it applies to file descriptors. Not file handles.

    Best to get the level of abstraction agreed upon before we descend into the minutiae of technical discussion, I feel.

  5. oiaohm says:

    That Exploit Guy think for one min you said the clue to the problem. Does not operate in same context.

    Remember you claimed Author controls IRM this is in mostly false. Network Admin controls IRM and can force IRM settings on end users.

    http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/restrict-certain-parts-of-a-document-RZ001117927.aspx?section=13

    Sections inside a OOXML document can be individually protected and encrypted. In fact the shocking thing here is with meta data encryption what ever is in the meta data remains encrypted to word plugins.

    Its a simple problem of authority. Plugin lower context does not give it rights to view all data displayed to user.

    That Exploit Guy this is the weak point in the product you are pushing. So I can take it you have never worked in government departments or equal with mandoray enabled IRM policies.

    There is a fun bug in IRM that can in fact show it self with sharepoint as well. When it makes a new encode/decode key there is a delay between the first documents with it uploaded to sharepoint to when the key to decode is provided to other uses accessing document on sharepoint.

    What is the server in the middle of this mess. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/dd448611.aspx

    Yes way to get killed shut down that server.
    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/security/en-US/7db99075-defc-48af-8db5-f97c2064aa63/cannot-access-irm-encrypted-excel-file
    So everything encrypted using IRM magically becomes unreadable if you shut down one server and it does not have replication.

    This is why everything when doing what you are doing can get completely screwed up.

    That Exploit Guy this is also why when you say author is in charge. With a IRM encrypted I can alter who can access it by altering the Active Directory Rights Management Services. I don’t have to care if I am the author or not. If I am the admin I can alter who can access documents even take the right away from its author.

    See the problem here you don’t understand this section of Microsoft. That Exploit Guy what you pointed to does go south.

    One of the bug bares of MS Word/Excel….. is once you activate IRM and it encrypted and linked to ADS everything gets horible really quickly. Yes you email a IRM encrypted document to someone outside and they cannot read it. Keying updates happen as people edit a IRM encrypted document. These are not designed for cooperative usage.

    Author may not have rights to turn IRM off.

    That Exploit Guy really its just a case of you not knowing the weakness. Yes IRM in word can ruin a business particularly when using its encrypted forms.

  6. That Exploit Guy says:

    I did not say it was deliberate people forget that documents they have enabled protection on.
    Then the most obviously way to resolve the alleged issue is to switch the protection off. I forget things all the time as well, but that doesn’t exactly mean the end of the world, now does it?
    Next nice flag that url you just copied from a protected document is transferred as encrypted.
    Again, you have completely failed to realise the fact that OT does not work in the same context as IRM. Also, show – don’t tell. You want the world to acknowledge you have a case, demonstrate that you do.
    It current name is CodexWord.
    Which I have currently installed on my machine. Humour me with your expertise, by all means.

  7. oiaohm says:

    I hate dyslexia I types RMI instead of IRM.

  8. oiaohm says:

    That Exploit Guy the license database with the decrypt key of the encrypted sections of a RMI protected document is stored in local machines database. That may not be synced up to the RMI server yet. Hello fun RMI that is encrypting things is not thinking that word is being used cooperative so not sharing the data you need.

    Yes the plugin you are pointing to is missing managing something critical. I guess you had forgot RMI encrypts sections of documents then saves them to disc encrypted.

  9. oiaohm says:

    That Exploit Guy I did not say it was deliberate people forget what documents they have enabled protection on. Due to some of the IRM protection options also protect against plugins snooping.

    That Exploit Guy you say that IRM is set by author. It can also be set by group policy.

    –Prevent users from changing permission on rights managed content– Nice litte group Policy flag. This now means user cannot change documents that they create from what the Admin set up on their account.

    –DRMEncryptProperty– Next nice flag that url you just copied from a protected document is transferred as encrypted. Yes this makes the metadata inside IRM document encrypted. This now comes very hard to cooperative share.

    It is not called coword any more Exploit Guy. It current name is CodexWord. Coword is a no longer product.

    No exploit guy you are not understanding that the issue here it becomes very hard to cooperatively share when the meta data and other sections of the file the plugging in trying to get information on is encrypted and off limits. Yes encrypted in copy paste.

  10. That Exploit Guy says:

    That Exploit Guy can fail to be transferred because they are dependant on local approval keys.
    Interesting. Care to demonstrate?
    Yes the local copy of word displays the change everyone else sees nothing because the plugin was not informed of the change for security reasons
    I see you looked up OT-related material on the Internet. Shame that you still fail to understand why the algorithm does not have anything to do with IRM. Furthermore, IRM has to be set up by the document author in order to have any effect on a document, so even if we assume that your assertion is valid (it isn’t), you are still owing an explanation as to why anyone would deliberately use the feature just to impede collaborative inputs when the document is obviously meant for collaborative inputs.
    That Exploit Guy. The reason why its a hack is there is not enough information passed to the plugin abi to make everything function properly.
    Are you sure? For CoWord? Again, show me why.

  11. oiaohm says:

    That Exploit Guy I recommend you read on Microsoft document copy protection.

    That Exploit Guy can fail to be transferred because they are dependant on local approval keys.
    http://office.microsoft.com/en-001/powerpoint-help/information-rights-management-in-office-2010-HA010354260.aspx

    The fun of IRM. Cooperative editing since its not built into word itself it not build to work perfectly when IRM decides to block an operation from being copied by the addon let the fun begin. Yes the local copy of word displays the change everyone else sees nothing because the plugin was not informed of the change for security reasons.

    One or two IRM protected documents copying bits from and hell breaks lose.

    –The API facilitating MS Word add-ons has been around for longer than you have discovered the Internet,–

    Not possible I have been on the Internet before MS Word existed. Secuirty limitations around those plugin abi’s exist.

    I was on the Internet in the 1980’s.

    Yes I have read papers on operational transformation. The problem is not operational transformation its the rights todo it. Addon does not have unlimited rights.

    Using a plugin abi does not mean its not a hack. That Exploit Guy. The reason why its a hack is there is not enough information passed to the plugin abi to make everything function properly. Like you cannot block the insert of a IRM protected document that cannot be replicated by a plugin. You cannot force a plugin to be informed of a protected document insert either.

    Yes it can go horribly wrong.

  12. That Exploit Guy says:

    Since its hacked into word and it just replicates changes.
    The API facilitating MS Word add-ons has been around for longer than you have discovered the Internet, oiaohm. Whom are you kidding?
    items locally that are local dependant the complete thing screws up
    Then I recommend you to read a paper or two on operational transformation before making things up. There is no “local dependent” stuff (file, etc.) at the level the algorithm operates.

  13. oiaohm says:

    That Exploit Guy not the same. coWord is like abiword. Except http://www.linutop.com/news/2009/02/09/collaborative-editing-with-abiword/

    abiword I can use any existing jabber server to start sharing documents. This include gtalk.

    CodoxWord fails perfectly by the way. I guess you have never used it alot. That Exploit Guy. Since its hacked into word and it just replicates changes. Someone includes items locally that are local dependant the complete thing screws up.

    Biggest cause of CodoxWord failures is MS Office secure content protection.

    That Exploit Guy WebODF that owncloud is using does more than just word documents. It does spreadsheets and presentation in Collaborative_editing as well.

    Welcome to the world of in-stream solutions.

    We are seeing javascript implement audio codecs as well. So it does not matter what OS your computer is running and what native codecs you have installs. As long as you can run javascript you are in business.

    webodf is a project to develop a full office suite in javascript.

  14. That Exploit Guy says:

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