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Software

Portable OpenOffice.org 2.01 Released 234

VeryVito writes "Portableapps.com has released Portable OpenOffice.org 2.01 -- the complete office suite you can run from a USB drive for complete access to both your files and your office apps -- anywhere you go. More than just a neat idea, some say it's a perfect example of "the kind of innovation developers can make when they don't have to worry about selling as many licenses of their work as possible." I don't imagine we'll see a portable Microsoft Office suite any time soon."
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Portable OpenOffice.org 2.01 Released

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  • by putko ( 753330 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:39AM (#14391536) Homepage Journal
    If Microsoft runs an online service, then the browser (modified, perhaps) will be all that will be required to run Office on any computer (with internet connection).

    Any computer will have a browser (and connectivity), therefore MS Office will be omnipresent. You won't need to carry it around on a flash driver.

    • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:54AM (#14391627) Homepage Journal
      That presumes people are willing to run their business-critical apps on someone else's remote server. That looks good on paper every time someone proposes it, but Gmail is about the closest I've seen to it actually succeeding.

      I think it may be a while before someone edits CorpFinancialsAndCustomerList.doc at a rented terminal.

      • I don't think you have any experience dealing with executives from an IT standpoint. You'd be surprised. Execs will sit down and edit their documents wherever they damn well please, thank you very much.

        Besides, there's nothing fundamentally different between running "mission critical apps" from a losable, stealable, USB drive than an online service.
        • Besides, there's nothing fundamentally different between running "mission critical apps" from a losable, stealable, USB drive than an online service.

          Then let's conduct sensitive business meetings at the closest McDonalds, while we're at it.
          • I guess I wasn't clear.

            My contention was that neither the Internet nor USB drives were appropriate mediums for "mission critical" apps and documents.
          • Actually I have seen sensitive business meetings held in the local pub, the people involved were discussing the firing of some contractors. Any of the people in involved could have been there.

            "Systematically promoted to the place they can do the least harm" I believe is how Scott adams described it.

            Ho hum.
        • at all the security breaches and identity theft going on, if the twits are this cavelier about handling corp. information.

          I know the the attitude "I'm the [CEO|manager|owner] don't bother me with trivial details. *I* have important work to do".

          CEO's need to he held directly and personally resopnsible for the shortcomings of their company. After all, this is why they get the big bucks, right?
      • Which is exactly why in 10 years we will be running most of our software off of USB-key mini servers that serve as local web servers hosting a web service version of our favorite apps. They would auto-upgrade from a central server and offload some of the processing work where it makes sense. In a general sense, business PCs will become essentially a backplane for interconnecting these mini servers, with a ton of memory and a web browser.
      • I think it may be a while before someone edits CorpFinancialsAndCustomerList.doc at a rented terminal.

        Tell me about these CFO's you know who are putting security ahead of cost...
    • If Microsoft runs an online service
      Isn't that a pretty big 'if' at this point, still?

      then the browser (modified, perhaps) will be all that will be required to run Office on any computer
      I somehow doubt that M$ are going to put out an online version of Office that is accessible through Firefox/Seamonkey/Safari/Opera/Konqueror/etc. At the very least online Office would require the latest and greatest version of IE. If they do go the WebApp route, I wouldn't be surprised to find Redmond charging for special c
      • by gi-tux ( 309771 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @09:41AM (#14391871) Homepage
        They could easily get business to buy into it, too, by saying that it makes the WebApp service more secure.


        And then when you read the fine print, you see that there is a clause that says that Microsoft now owns all rights to any data that is produced in this application. And for it to truly be portable, the data would have to be stored on their server as well, so how could you argue with the fine print after you discover it. Your document would simply disappear if you started to argue with them. Because they own the server, the application, and control the data.

    • Any computer will have a browser (and connectivity), therefore MS Office will be omnipresent. You won't need to carry it around on a flash driver.

      Well, my company pretty much have that already via Citrix. It's amazing how often I need a document offline on my laptop though (I suppose we could all start using GPRS or the like, but we don't now). One of the nice things about an USB stick is that you can use just the stick, or stick + laptop for offline access. Now give me online access AND a good automatable
    • For many, the connectivity issue is a big if. There are a lot of places where you can't get a connection. And what about bandwidth requirements? Will dial-up users be out of luck? I'd rather carry the flash drive.
    • "If Microsoft runs an online service, then the browser (modified, perhaps) will be all that will be required to run Office on any computer (with internet connection)."

      And for those of us who find ourselves in a situation where we are at a computer without an internet connection are just plain screwed, right?

      Although the project already seems /.'d, I'd love to get ahold of this little gem. The USB drive slowly unthethers me from just one/or a handful of computers. Autonomy!
    • If Microsoft runs an online service, then the browser (modified, perhaps) will be all that will be required to run Office on any computer (with internet connection).

      Any computer will have a browser (and connectivity), therefore MS Office will be omnipresent. You won't need to carry it around on a flash driver.


      No, you won't need to carry around a usb key, but you might need a really long network cable to connect to the internet, since not everywhere has wireless (let alone free wireless). Plus, what happens
    • Given that MS has a vested interest in continuing to sell Windows licenses, and Office licenses, and Terminal Server licenses ... what you'd effectively have is Citrix. Except maybe replace the Citrix client with Internet Explorer.

      That's MS's vision of "portable apps." Run them from as many Windows boxes as you can afford to license!
  • Portable Firefox (Score:5, Informative)

    by bitkari ( 195639 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:40AM (#14391542) Homepage
    The perfect partner to Portable OpenOffice might just be Portable Firefox [portableapps.com].

    This is very useful for me as I'm otherwise forced to use IE on the university computers. Neat.

  • I use portableThunderbird [johnhaller.com] (thunderbird that runs from a USB drive) and it's great.
  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:42AM (#14391558)
    Office? We don't need no office, that is so 20th century. All we need now is a laptop, flash drive and a big umbrella.
  • let me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by raffe ( 28595 ) *
    be the first to say:
    THIS JUST ROCKS!
    Now I can:
    # Carry my web browser with all my favorite bookmarks
    # Carry my calendar with all my appointments
    # Carry my email client with all my contacts and settings
    # Carry my instant messenger and my buddy list
    # Carry my whole office suite along with my documents and presentations
    # Carry my antivirus program and other computer utilities
    # Carry all my important passwords and account information securely
    • My system on USB (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nichotin ( 794369 )
      Parent poster has a point. It is nice to have your own stuff on a usb drive. Pretty handy for school systems where you are not allowed to touch the local file system, but executables on usb drives can be run.
      I have taken this a step further, though. I have installed gentoo on my usb drive. It is very simple, just have all the usb support in the kernel, then make an initrd which makes the machine wait for a little while for usb mass storage devices to settle, before it tries to mount them as root ( "sleep 5
      • Pretty handy for school systems where you are not allowed to touch the local file system

        Perhaps so, but it's pretty lax security if they have them set up that way. Any large installation of computers worth its salt will have access to USB mass storage devices (and in fact, any removable media) disabled from a regular desktop.

        • Once windows has booted maybe, but a LARGE percentage of networks don't block boot devices on their machines from being selected and active before a kernel boots.
    • Great!

      Now I can conveniently, at the same time, lose (and have a stranger find)

      # all my favorite bookmarks
      # all my appointments
      # all my contacts and settings
      # my buddy list
      # my documents and presentations
      # my important passwords and account information

      Fun, isn't it ?
    • http://www.gdargaud.net/Hack/Windows.html

      With a little work you can even rig yourself a portable cygwin [gdargaud.net] which allows you a real unix environment anywhere you go. That way you can have firefox in X with multiple desktops and proper middle button behavior, with a shell and everything
    • DOS apps only required one directory to install. You could run them from floppy disks.

      And then, came Windows... and the registry.
  • by RacerZero ( 848545 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:45AM (#14391570) Homepage
    Remember those application cartridges for the PC Jr. Yea yea laugh it up I had one. And all those other quasi computers with application cartridges?

    Sure this is better but it has been done before.
    • I think I have a couple of those laying around somewhere. This isn't really the same thing, though - as far as I know those were ROMs, whereas the USB drive can be changed. So, when you find a bug and it's fixed in a later version, it's easy to correct it without finding a new cartridge or something. Also your USB drive can store data.

      I see the connection you're making but I don't agree it's the same thing. It's FAR better.
  • Big achievment? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:46AM (#14391574)
    The full suite is 144 MB installed. it is only portable if you have more than a 128 MB stick.
    • To be fair, the price of the USB sticks is falling all the time. You can get a pair of 512mb on the high street for about £40-50 now.
    • That's simply outrageous!! How dare the set such ridiculously high hardware requirements! Why, I'm sure that because of this, at least half of all readers who would have been will to try this out are now not even going to bother. The fools!
    • Re:Big achievment? (Score:2, Informative)

      by pixelite ( 20946 )
      when they say portable, i dont think they meant in the sense that it is small, but more along the lines that everything will stay on your media (usb memory): the application, the data, user preferences. That way you can take it with you to any computer, always having all of it with you, thus making it portable. Besides 1GB usb mem isn't that expensive.
    • I haven't yet downloaded POO.o yet, and I haven't used any of these "portable apps" either, but are they just regular Windows binaries? Can they be UPXed [sourceforge.net] if not already?

      Firefox, for instance, shrinks down from 7MB to a nice 1.5MB on my horribly space-limited computer here at work.

      • And the JARs are compressed to max with 7zip. That brings it from 206MB to 144MB.
      • Compressed executables? Boy, that takes me back a bit - the name LZEXE seems to come to mind. Didn't those go out of fashion? I remember reading an article on how it was a dangerous idea because virus scanners wouldn't spot compressed viruses.
        • Apparently, the new virus scanners can parse the files. In several instances, packed EXEs have set off erroneous red flags as viruses themselves. McAffee used to trip over certain files, though it has since been fixed.

          While not *that* common, I have noticed that a number of projects pack their files since the speed-penalty is rather negligible, and the download/storage savings is a benefit.
    • Down from 206MB (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CritterNYC ( 190163 )
      It's at 144MB down from 206MB with nothing left out. The JARs are compressed to max with 7zip. The DLLs and EXEs are UPXed. We're working on recompressing the included PNGs (which may buy us another 5MB or so) and a few other things along those lines.
  • Translation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by estoll ( 443779 )
    From the article:
    "This is exactly the kind of innovation developers can make when they don't have to worry about selling as many licenses of their work as possible"

    Translation:
    "This is exactly the kind of innovation developers can make when they don't have to worry about how many people find their software useful."
    • Re:Translation (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I can see that your comment could be modded "funny", but "insightful"?

      For the mod who thought the comment was insightful: the comment should be translated as

      "This is exactly the kind of innovation developers can make when they don't mind if people copy their software."

      Please mod me "obvious".
  • <pedant>
    How'd they get OpenOffice.org 2.1 (dropping the leading zero) when the rest of us only have 2.0.1?

    Remember, folks, those periods are separators and not decimals.
    </pedant>

  • Can they do a portable slashdot-proof web server?
  • Windows Only? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hakubi_Washu ( 594267 ) <(robert.kosten) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @09:02AM (#14391662) Homepage
    Well, I understand most people use Windows, but i use Linux, so I'd need my "portable" apps to be multisystem, either by being truly compatible or including both compiles. When will such a thing surface? Browser, email, calendar, office... These "portable" apps (OOo, FF, TB, etc.) are nice, but in the end, a small suite, coded in Java or as a bootable system (though that's inconvenient), is more likely to be of use to me...
    • I've been thinking about that jsut recently and I think a better (though probably expensive) option might be to have the apps running on a PDA with Linux on it and then hook the pda up to the PC via USB/Bluetooth/WiFi/Ethernet and use VNC to access the apps.

      It might not be the quickest way to run the apps, but PDAs are getting faster over time, so it gradually becoems more feasible.
      • But that would either require VNC on the host (and I have never seen anybody but me have that installed) or using the webclient, which is a pain in the ass and kind of defeats the purpose... The PDA will have problems accessing the net (Windows is crap as router, really), your apps are limited to the PDAs processing capacity, etc. In the end, just using the PDA seems a lot easier :-)
        • hmm I think there might be some merit in using a pda as a small server.
          for example I have a small website hosted on a linux box I made it as an unofficial resource for a course i was studying last year. now i think that if i could set it up on the pda it'd be
          1)quiet
          2)cheap to run
          3)as it is battery backed It'd always be up when the power came back online.
          to be honest cpu power isn't such an issue for me i have a couple of xscale pda's that will run upto 520 Mhz native is 400Mhz
          but here i am writing this on a
        • But that would either require VNC on the host (and I have never seen anybody but me have that installed) or using the webclient, which is a pain in the ass and kind of defeats the purpose

          Not if you had a "Portable VNC Client" that the host can read off the PDA (just make the PDA look like a USB mass storage device) and you'd probably only need that for windows, as if you on a *nix box you could just use X.

          The PDA will have problems accessing the net (Windows is crap as router, really)

          I think that's always g
    • So why not make the USB drive bootable? Have like a bare minimum copy of Linux on it with drivers for net and printers and have OOo loaded on it. Insert drive, restart and viola, your office on any x86 machine.
  • "I don't imagine we'll see a portable Microsoft Office suite any time soon."

    why not?
    • Because that would make it really easy to pass around copies of the installation. If the whole install was encapsulated in a single folder, it's a trivial matter to duplicate it to another USB stick.

      Currently, MS Office is a mess of registry settings, DLLs in every thinkable system directory, etc, etc. Criminy, just try to back up office by simply burning the Program Files subdir to disk. I doubt it'd work so well once you copy it back after a format of your disk. You really need the Office install disks as
    • I think it's possible only if Microsoft distributes the USB device or licenses the USB device so that the software is tied to the USB hardware (of which will be quickly hacked and promptly distributed to the masses)

      Even so, that will only be good for Windows only operating systems.
  • by Wubby ( 56755 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @09:06AM (#14391680) Homepage Journal
    OK, did anyone else notice that the author of this peice, VeryVito, uses himself as a reference. The "some say" link is to his own blog. Come on, if your going to plug yourself, be open about it!

    Oh, and the portable apps site seems to be 403. Slashdotted, maybe?
  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @09:09AM (#14391694) Homepage
    As the links seems dead now:

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/portableoo/ [sourceforge.net]
  • would this work from a pda or pda phone?
    with wireless built in I could see it working as a nifty little server.
    What could you put in one gig?
    If you could run apache on CE now that could be fun and quiet very quiet.
    actually ahem
    http://www.rainer-keuchel.de/software.html [rainer-keuchel.de]
    looks like you can

    just a thought
  • by bpuli ( 654182 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @09:22AM (#14391750) Homepage
    it is already on every PC out there.
  • IE at my workplace sucks more than usual because all the settings are locked down & we can't change so much as the default start page.

    Portable Firefox was a godsend, initially running off a flash drive, and then moving onto a USB hard drive, which subsequently received all the rest of the portable apps. OOo is a bit slow to start, but it's nice to have the ODF support available.

    Now if somebody could just create an extension so I could use the same profile for both my home Linux FF and work XP FF, I'

  • Integration (Score:2, Interesting)

    by robyannetta ( 820243 ) *
    I'd like to see the Firefox team and the OpenOffice.org team get together and collaborate on integration of the two.

    That may truly give Microsoft's Office a run for its money.

    Comments?

  • The perfect portable "app" is the USB version of DSL. http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ [damnsmalllinux.org] You can buy the drive with everything preinstalled directly from them.
  • Why just an office suite? I'm waiting for the bootable 1GB thumbdrive with a mini-distro of Slackware, please. Oh, maybe I could just make it myself? Let me go back to my workshop for awhile. Meanwhile you can read this link back to another /. post [slashdot.org].
  • Once again, another poor, innocent server melted down by a slashdotting...

    Google cache of home page is here: http://google.com/search?q=cache:4xtQ3HrcVacJ:port ableapps.com/+&hl=en&client=firefox-a [google.com]
  • by el_womble ( 779715 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @10:00AM (#14392012) Homepage
    Why can't I get from WalMart or Amazon a portable, opensource office suite on a USB key?

    Sell it for $5 more than the cheapest equivalent capacity stick, or about the same as a branded stick and let the profits go to the developers.

    $50 for 512MB portable office is cheap, especially if all a noob has to do to install it is plug it into a USB slot and double click the application. My poorly wired consumer brain is reluctant to shell out for software on a CD, if only becuase they're slow and you know their practically free to make. I'd probably buy an office on a stick because I know if I didn't like the software at least I'd still have something that I still have some use for.

  • by CritterNYC ( 190163 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @10:05AM (#14392046) Homepage
    Sorry about the 403, the site didn't handle a full Slashdotting as well as hoped (being on a shared web server, it was slamming the PHP resources). It's actually run on the Drupal open source content management system (Apache+mySQL+PHP). I'm working on having my host get it back up.

    Until then, you can view the Google Cache of the older Portable OpenOffice release [216.239.51.104] and get the new release from the SourceForge Portable OpenOffice.org project page
  • If portable OO can be this small, why isn't that the regular version of OO? Fewer features?

    I don't use much beyond the basic functionality of OO anyway. Maybe I should just use the portable version on my home PC
  • Is it super-extra-hard to write a Windows app that doesn't require the registry and DLLs placed everywhere? Or is that merely the result of developers just using framework that ties their apps to 87 different locations on the filesystem?

    I really miss the good ol' days of MacOS apps where you could just copy the stupid App folder (and in some cases JUST the app) and get a complete working copy.
  • by xoip ( 920266 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @11:01AM (#14392492) Homepage
    Ok...anyone who uses a usb key has a cd rom drive. Save the money on the hardware and burn a few CD's of Open Office. Better yet, buy a printed them from me:). Carry it with you Give it to your friends and family. Just get it out there.
    btw...If you want professionally printed OO 1.1.4 in bulk, I've got'em.
  • I still cant get 2.0 to work on FreeBSD - the cursor ignores the arrow keys! My bug reports seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
  • When I looked for TFA just now, I realized that these roll-your-own "I'm slashdotted" pages just don't make sense on today's internet. Would someone please petition the W3C to expand the HTTP standard to include a
    "409: Site Temporarily Unavailable: Blame Slashdot"
    page?

    TIA,

  • We don't need a "portable Microsoft Office". It's on every freakin' PC you might find yourself using that's otherwise out of your control anyway.
  • More portable apps! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr_Whoopass ( 164559 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @01:09PM (#14393600)
    There are a lot more applications that work from a USB key that don't advertise that fact. I will share with you what I currently use on my 1gb USB key and the locations you can download them. Most of these are freeware or relatively cheap shareware. Please help the authors continue their work if you use any of these and make a small donation at their sites if available.

    Audacity - http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
    This one will run from your key, but it does write to the registry which portable apps should not do. Then again, they don't advertise this as a portable app. Once you use it on a machine and configure it, it will remember your settings on that machine of course. Handy if you are locked down at work from installing software but you need it occasionally.

    Bulk Rename Utility - http://www.jimwillsher.co.uk/Site/Software/Softwar e_Intro.php [jimwillsher.co.uk]
    a utility which allows the rapid renaming of files and folders, based upon flexible selection criteria. Download the zip version for portability.

    FeedReader - http://www.feedreader.com/ [feedreader.com]
    This project is currently dead, but it works from USB wonderfully.

    FoxitReader - http://www.foxitsoftware.com/bbs/index.php [foxitsoftware.com]
    A PDF reader that works very quickly (kind of like Adobe used to about 6 years ago).

    Miranda - http://www.miranda-im.org/ [miranda-im.org]
    A powerful and flexible multiprotocol IM client with loads of plugins. Download the zip version for portability.

    mIRC - http://www.mirc.com/ [mirc.com]
    Everyones favorite IRC app. Has always been portable.

    PortableFileZilla - http://portableapps.com/ [portableapps.com]
    Portable FileZilla is the popular FileZilla FTP client packaged as a portable app, so you can take your server list and settings with you.

    PortableFirefox - http://portableapps.com/ [portableapps.com]
    Portable Firefox is the popular Mozilla Firefox web browser packaged as a portable app, so you can take your bookmarks, extensions and saved passwords with you.

    PortableNVU - http://portableapps.com/ [portableapps.com]
    Portable NVU is the easy-to-use NVU web editor packaged as a portable app, so you can edit your website on the go.

    PortableOpenOffice - http://portableapps.com/ [portableapps.com]
    Portable OpenOffice.org is the popular OpenOffice.org office suite -- including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing package and database -- packaged as a portable app

    PortableSunbird - http://portableapps.com/ [portableapps.com]
    Portable Sunbird is the handy Mozilla Sunbird calendar and task manager packaged as a portable app, so you can take your calendar and to do list with you.

    PortableThunderbird - http://portableapps.com/ [portableapps.com]
    Portable Thunderbird is the popular Mozilla Thunderbird email client packaged as a portable app, so you can take your email, address book and account settings with you.

    Snippy - http://www.bhelpuri.net/Snippy/ [bhelpuri.net]
    Snippy is a small utility that captures an area of your screen to your clipboard to paste into other applications.

    AleJenJes Countdown Timer - http://www.gonebowlin.com/freeware.html [gonebowlin.com]
    It is a simple countdown timer where you enter the starting time in hours, minutes & seconds and it counts down to zero. Not needed often, but handy as can be for those few instances you do need one.

    Unit Conversion Utility - http://www.jimwillsher.co.uk/Site/Software/UCU_Int ro.html [jimwillsher.co.uk]
    Unit Conversion U

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