The service is in beta currently but you can sign up for it already on the official website. You may use it using a web browser, download clients for Windows, Mac or Linux desktop machines, or for Android. An iOS client is in the making currently and will be made available as well soon.
Open 365 offers two main features that you can make use of. First, it enables you to synchronize files between devices you use and the cloud.
Second, it allows you to view, edit and create documents in the cloud using the technology provided by the Open Source Office suite LibreOffice Online for that.
You can sign up for the service on the official website currently but the makers plan to release repositories that you can install on servers you have control over to create a self-hosted version of Open365 that you have more control over.
When you sign up for the service you get an email address automatically assigned to you that you use to sign in to the web service and the sync clients, and for mail.
You do get 20 Gigabyte of storage as well right now which is more than what many other file synchronization services offer at the time of writing.
It is unclear however if the 20 Gigabyte are only available during the beta period.
The web service loads the “Hub” view on start automatically. It lists all libraries that you own and that are shared with you by default.
A click on a folder opens the contents directly on the web, a click on files either in one of the editors if the file format is supported, or offered for download if it is not.
The focus is on documents but support goes beyond typical document formats such as docx, xls or pptx. Open365 supports an image viewer that supports all common image formats, and a media player to play audio and video content.
Libraries or individual files can be shared or deleted online, and you may upload new files directly to the web interface using your web browser of choice.
One interesting feature is the ability to create new libraries on the Web, and here specifically the option to encrypt content so that it can only be accessed if the right password is supplied. The password is not linked to the account password.
As far as sharing is concerned, you can share files or libraries with individual users or user groups, and get full control over shared links and permissions online as well.
Document editing and creation
This works for the most part as you would expect it to work. You can load any Office document with a double-click on the web interface, and Open365 will load it in the associated editor.
You can read the document right away there, print it, or start to edit it. If you have used LibreOffice Online or offline before, you will feel right at home, but even if you have not, you will have little issues using Open365 to edit documents.
Open365 saves edits automatically in intervals, but you may use save options to to do manually at any time. Edited documents may be saved online or to the local device instead, and you may export them to the same document format or a different compatible format.
The loading time of documents is a bit slow online right now which means that you will have to wait a couple of seconds before it is displayed in the editor.
Open365 Sync Client
The sync client works for the most part as you would expect it to work. You can use drag and drop to add folders that you want to sync with the cloud, or use the built-in folder browser instead for that.
Folders are turned into libraries automatically when you add them to the sync client. You may change the name of the library and enable encryption before you hit the ok button to start the synchronization.
Options are provided to configure the sync process and other features of the desktop client. You open the options with a right-click on the icon in the system tray.
The settings allow you to set download and upload speed limits, disable http syncing, or configure what the service should do when you remove a library from a local directory or when a library is not found on the server.
Open365 Promo Video
Open365 is an alternative to Office 365 and Google Docs. It is free and open source, and ships both with file sync and document viewing, editing and creation options on the Internet.
The option to install Open365 on your own server may make it interesting to users who want or need to keep full control of documents, and cannot or don’t want to use Office 365 or Google Docs because of this.