October 16, 2007

O3Spaces 2.2: A step closer to open source

Author: Dmitri Popov

O3Spaces is a proprietary integrated collaboration and document management application for workgroups and businesses. Almost a year after its launch, the company behind the software has released version 2.2 beta. While the new version doesn't offer any earth-shattering new features, O3Spaces 2.2 sports a wealth of improvements aimed at solidifying its position as a viable alternative to Microsoft SharePoint.

Among O3Spaces' improvements are better lock management, which provides users with more fine-tuned control of the check-in and check-out process. Improved searching and sorting capabilities allow you to quickly find and sort data in Documents, Users, Groups, and other overviews.

The new version features better template management for more efficient administration and distribution of document templates. According to Rob Mentink, CEO of O3Spaces, "The template management module is a really innovative feature. It allows a workplace administrator to add document templates to a menu in OpenOffice.org based on Workplace roles and permissions. This means that document templates can be versioned centrally, and users have all the relevant templates at their fingertips." The Template management module isn't available in the beta version of O3Spaces 2.2, but it will be included in the final release of the software, which is due in four to six weeks.

O2Spaces 2.2 provides anonymous access that allows you to link the content of a Workspace to external wiki systems and Web sites. The new version supports multiple simultaneous uploads, and you don't have to wait until uploads are finished to resume your work. The OpenOffice.org Assistant, which acts as a link between the office suite and O3Spaces, sports a few tweaks as well. Now you can connect to a workspace as well as create new workspaces directly from within OpenOffice.org. On the Web interface front, O3Spaces offers better loading and rendering performance and a few GUI improvements.

More importantly, however, O3Spaces is now available as a Community Edition (CE) version. Since the beginning, the company behind O3Spaces has promised to release an open source version of the software, and according to Mentink the CE version is a "step in this direction." While version 2.2 remains closed source, it's available free of charge and can manage up to 10 users.


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