What is ThinkFree Office Online?

April 21, 2006

Despite its name, ThinkFree Office is a proprietary office suite. Written in Java, it has found a niche on the Windows and Macintosh platforms, especially in China, Korea, and Japan. It comprises three applications: Write, a word processor; Calc, a spreadsheet; and Show, a presentation program; as well as a separate Setup program. It is available in both desktop and intranet server editions. Recently, its developers released a GNU/Linux version. Unfortunately, judging from the pre-release code that I reviewed, the results are subpar.

Running on GNU/Linux, ThinkFree Office performs far better than many people would expect a Java application to run. Imitating the interface of Microsoft Office 2003, it offers a stripped-down set of features suitable for light office use. However, the installation and configuration options seem unadapted to the operating system. In the end, the program does not live up to its marketing claims — especially those of Microsoft Office compatibility — and it compares poorly to the available alternatives


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