My search for a decent online word processor has led me to another potential solution: OpenGoo. OpenGoo is an open source web office suite that also has some characteristics off a project manager. Version 1.3 has just been released. It includes the following tools:
- Word Processor
- Task Lists
- E-mail client
- Web Links
A spreadsheet is reportedly in the works. OpenGoo is installed on an Apache server and requires PHP5 and MySQL 4.1 +. It also requires InnoDB support.
I had a great deal of difficulty getting OpenGoo up and running. First, I had to figure out how to enable InnoDB. If it is not enabled, you will need to edit etc/my.cnf deleting the line “skip-innodb,” then restart MySQL. If you are using a hosted account, your provider may not be willing to enable it for you. My second problem was that somehow OpenGoo does not play nice with the default Mod Security ruleset. I finally modified the Command Injection portion of the ruleset so that it no longer triggers my firewall.
Once all that was in place, installing OpenGoo was straightforward. You’ll need to create a database, upload the files, and browse to the opengoo/install directory. You will be prompted to fill in database information and create an admin account. Then, you are brought to a log in page. Once you log in, you are delivered to the Overview page:
Since this is part of a search for an online word processor, that is what I looked at first.
OpenGoo uses the FCKeditor that is commonly used as a text editor for the backend of many web based programs. The editor produces works with html files. It cannot open MS Word or Open Office files. It does work fairly well with word processors that can read and save html files. I was able to open and edit downloaded text files from OpenGoo with Word 04, the latest OpenOffice, TextEdit, and old versions of Pages (not versions 08 and 09) all on the Macintosh platform. In turn I was also able to create documents on my computer, save them as html, upload and work with them in OpenGoo.
I had better luck working with text across the various word processors than I had with eyeOS. I’m not sure that this was because it truly handles these files better, or because the documentation made it clearer what OpenGoo could or couldn’t work with. At least OpenGoo creates text filtes with a standard .html extension rather than .eyeos.
Like eyeOS, OpenGoo has a built in Presentation Editor called Slimey. Slimey is incredibly bare bones at Version 0.1. You cannot work with PowerPoint, Keynote, or Open Office files with it. I’m not sure how much further Slimey is going as it has almost been a year since it has been updated.
OpenGoo has a serviceable email client built in. Currently it only works with POP3 mail, but there are plans to develop the ability to work with IMAP and SSL giving it great flexibility. Once SSL capabilities are it may support Gmail.
Open Goo as a number of features that one might find in project management software. It has a calendar component that allows individual users to confirm whether or not they can attend an event. There is a task manager that allows individuals to create and assign tasks, prioritize, track their progress, tag, attach objects, and track time spent on the task.
The administrative interface provides group and user management along with access control.
It also allows you to enable and disable the various components, create workspaces, and more.
The installation requirements might make it impossible for many to set up. OpenGoo is clearly oriented toward the business environment. Some quick edits to the language files could change “companies” to classes or groups. There are a lot of features such as billing, that have no use in the school environment. It has good file upload and download tools that are a bit more obvious than those of eyeOS. While eyeOS is more attractive, OpenGoo generally has a more functional interface. While the word processor is a bit easier to use with regular word processors, it is still probably too difficult for student use. Access, group, and user control appears, at a quick glance, suitable for the K12 school environment. I think OpenGoo bears watching. I also plan on setting up accounts for my sons aged 10 and 13 to see how they respond to it.
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