ThinkFree is a company, which for the longest time, has offered their free online office suite, much like Google docs or Zoho Office. On April 7, things changed…
The folks at ThinkFree are now offering their desktop office suite for free, and happen to have a version for Linux. That version for Linux also happens to run on Ubuntu 8.04, and work well. It uses it’s own Java JRE, much like Lotus Symphony.
I will show you how it works, what it does, and how I got it running. See below!
First, register for an account (click sign-in to register). You can then access their online office for free, with 1 GB of online storage. This step is not necessary for the desktop office suite, but it is if you want to sync files, which is pretty cool. More on that later.
Next, download their office application. You will see links to download versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you are running Linux, download the Linux version, which will download a .sh file. The .sh file will be around 44.2 MB in size.
Open up the terminal. (Applications > Accessories > Terminal)
If you downloaded the file to your desktop, “cd” to it:
user@computer:~$ cd Desktop
Then, outside of the terminal, right click on the file on your desktop, and click on the permissions tab, and check the box that says “Run Program as Executable” or something similar.
Now, go back to the terminal, and type:
user@computer:~$ sudo sh ./TFO-3.5.0989.16-linux-en-gui-online.sh
Some text will display in the terminal, and you should then be able to install the application. Just follow the steps…
The next couple of screenshots will show each of the applications in action:
First, for the sign-in screen, also called ThinkFree Manager:
The ThinkFree manager allows you to sign in to your ThinkFree account and sync your documents. It loads itself as an item in the panel (see below screenshot, you may need to right-click and select “view image to see full image) where you can create a new document, go to your online office, or log out. It signifies if you are working with an internet connection to your online office. It’s the black box in the panel with a colored circle.
Up next, the word processor, called Write:
As you can see, it really is a fully-featured office suite. It also looks like Microsoft Office 2003, which is a nice feature for those looking to use it on a daily basis. Also, Microsoft Office 2007 office formats, the famous (imfamous?) OOXML format, is supported. PDF creation is also supported, although from what I can see, the ODF file format is not supported.
Note that the “ad” on the left side of the screen is not a revolving ad with different or annoying ads, it’s just a link to the main site to get more online storage.
Next, for the spreadsheet application, Calc:
Once again, you can see that ThinkFree office has lots of features as well.
Next, for the last application, Show, the presentation application:
Show also happens to be fully-featured, and has many options for making presentations.
ThinkFree Office is a very good application, and if you are interested in trying something other than OpenOffice or IBM’s Lotus Notes, certainly give this office suite a try. It’s connection to an online office workspace backs up your documents, and can then be accessed on any computer connected to the internet. While it’s true, you can use Google Docs (like me) or the Zoho online apps, but you cannot get the advanced functionality of a desktop application like you can with ThinkFree Office 3. Unfortunately, it does not support the Open Document Format, but it does offer saving to a .PDF, .SVG, or just about any Microsoft format. I will keep using it, and testing it, to see exactly what each of the programs can do. In the meanwhile, give it a try for yourself!