Edit: to everyone saying they also can't watch YouTube 1080p without lag/buffering/whatever: perhaps it's not perfect anywhere outside the third world, but I could imagine that there it would suck even more. It's just a comparison, not a research paper.
Of course, further steps can be taken as well, such as adaptive resolution and client-side rendering extrapolation. Personally I commend them on a bold strategy. At the very least, they will have contributed to the body of alternative web application architecture patterns.
RDP is heavily integrated into the OS, I'm not sure where it derives its advantage, but for example, dragging a window across the desktop (requiring massive region dirtying) is somehow almost flawless. For example it might be quite an easy affair to delegate compositing and blending to the client, such that the client has a full copy of the bitmaps being dragged around the screen. VNC is intentionally stupid by design and nothing like that (it hails from an era when a microcontroller was preferable for cost reasons compared to a computer in some hypothetical X terminal design - remember VNC is from the 90s).
There is a ton of stuff Libreoffice can do this in this department to produce a compelling solution, alpha quality "release early release often" editions shouldn't be used to form a long term judgement, especially when examples of better implementations already exist, and there is real money on the table to motivate further innovation.
This ownCloud service is bound to stay smallish until they embrace a true client side rendering approach.
Of course there is a limit but for the personal use it should not be a issue, for the enterprise use it still should not be issue because it has caching mechanism and server only renders changing tiles, and a 16 core machine easily can handle hundreds of simultaneous users which is cheaper to operate than buying license for the any other office suite per user and employing a IT worker to install that office suites and maintain company wide document sharing.
> This ownCloud service is bound to stay smallish until they embrace a true client side rendering approach.
there is already client side rendering solution in ownCloud called Documents and uses webodf, but it only satisfactory for the simple needs.
In France it's €30 for triple-play, €20 for Internet only, but less than 50% have access to optical fiber. For more than half it's still ADSL. It works great if you live close to the telephone exchange, otherwise it can be very slow.
My company (the one I started, hi) uses Office 365, and all three of us use Office 365's full office suite, the actual real desktop app one.
What we use Office 365's cloud stuff for is their Exchange cluster (oh God, so delicious), and for OneDrive for Business (ie, what used to be Sharepoint).
Browsers just aren't fast enough to handle web apps that large (not picking on Office 365's web apps, anything that big just sorta murders browsers), and I don't think they ever will be. This isn't something you can solve when your only tools are HTML, CSS, and JS.
The one thing they really need to work on, for me to be super happy, would be their Lync/Skype platform. Either overhaul the old Lync 2013 client that they did a quick Skype reskinning on, or provide a decent API that could be used with Office365, like what they have for on-prem instances with UCMA. Lately, I've been having better luck using the open-source Lync plugin for Pidgin than with the official Lync client - lots of weird things like presence not updating, contact lists getting borked, memory leaks with the client causing crashes, etc.
Its part of their complete rewrite of Skype (that started with the Windows 10 combined Skype/messaging app that is currently in semi-beta that came out with Threshold 2).
As of Skype for Business 2015, it's still SIP - S4B is more of a marketing maneuver than a real technical change. On the server side, applications built to integrate with Lync 2013 work seamlessly with S4B. The S4B client is just a reskin of the Lync 2013 client - it's a minor-minor revision number change, and still calls itself Lync 2013 on its About dialog.
Consumer Skype is still, to my knowledge, what it has always been.
However, Lync has been rebranded as Skype for Business. It's still Lync, and uses all of the same SIP-based protocols that it always has, since it was called Office Communicator.
I still haven't quite figured how they are going to mash the two together, or if they actually are going to. It is confusing having two completely different Skype clients on your desktop.
Now it's Skype and Skype for Business. S4B is a steaming heap compared to Skype in terms of features, and I think in the end consumers are going to end up confused and angry about this new Skype that doesn't have the features of the old one.
I have major problems with Lync/S4B's IM implementation. The most obvious are the lack of store-and-forward for messages to offline users and the poor to nonexistent support for persistent chat rooms (my solution: a "conference call" that's been going for weeks without anyone having turned on the audio). It's also very bad at handling changes in network connectivity, docking/undocking my laptop drops me from IM for at least a couple of minutes and often requires a restart of S4B.
I will agree that the softphone support is pretty good, but it's non-interoperable with our VoIP environment so it goes almost entirely unused. Unfortunately this has been the case everywhere I've worked except for one place that had WebEx and Cisco phones - those would get along with each-other sometimes if you were lucky, but it wasn't very reliable.
My point is that I've found the office communications landscape to be a terrible backwater of technology. I dislike Slack but I can see why it's taking off - most of the on-prem options for IM fail at basic IM features while adding VoIP/telepresence options that are non-interoperable and complex to implement and support. It says something that my employer has multiple FTEs dedicated to scheduling and setting up the videoteleconference rooms, because it takes a specialist just to make a call these days.
There are persistent chat rooms available (at least on-premise, if you install the extra server for them - not on Office365, though), but it's a little half-baked.
If we're piling on, there are some other kind of crummy limits, for a large enterprise IM platform. Sending an IM to a large number of recipients is pretty gimped (I believe the limit is in the 100-250 user range), because any chat between three or more users is bumped up into an AV conference. There's limitations on the number both of users who you can subscribe to presence updates, and how many other users can subscribe to your presence.
The client also seems to have some bad memory leaks. Particularly with any kind of extension that makes use of the COM API.
That may be because you only use a subset of Word features ? Have you tried the classic Wordpad ?
Honestly, it it easier for me to slam together an HTML document than it is to fiddle with a WYSIWYG word processor. It's got a higher chance of actually looking like what I want it to, as well.
Not having to endure emailed-round documents with multiple competing versions like "Report-Dec2015 Draft v5(FP,PL,KM) (2).doc" is worth the price of entry alone.
I feel sorry for those like the UK government who've been successfully lobbied by The Document Foundation into using open standards, and are now locked in to using one vendor - Collabora - and their proprietary fork of LibreOffice.
You could not be more locked in than when using the Office 365 suite. It may happen to have some nice feature for now, but there is nothing keeping them from pulling an IE all over again, and you will be completely locked in because of the proprietary format used.
And I'm not even against what Collabora are doing, I think it's very clever. It's an interesting way of hitting back at Microsoft by lobbying for open standards in order to create an alternative solution and a profitable business.
I just don't think LibreOffice stands up to MS Office as a product (yes, I've worked with both) for day-to-day use by normal humans.
Until there are other complete implementations, calling it an open format is pretty much a bad joke.
> I just don't think LibreOffice stands up to MS Office as a product
That may be so. But a government has many other requirements than the day to day use. They also, for example, have archiving requirements (with timelines measured in decades) that are hard enough to deal with without the risks incurred of locking documents into poorly documented formats only fully supported by a single vendor.
However that is really really aweful.
OOXML was designed, effectively, to be the easiest possible transition from the binary Office formats rather than being the best possible document standard, or even a good document standard. Direct quote from the proponents of the standard: "OpenXML was designed from the start to be capable of faithfully representing the pre-existing corpus of word-processing documents, presentations, and spreadsheets that are encoded in binary formats defined by Microsoft Corporation."
That doesn't make it a bad representation format for a vendor's proprietary office suite, but it does make it a bad standard.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standardization_of_Office_Open... is worth reading; the "standardization" process itself was effectively politics, not technology.
By contrast, there are multiple independent implementations of ODF.
All standardization processes are politics, pretty much by definition; defining a spec is technical, agreeing to a standard is political.
Not to say that the standardization of OOXML wasn't a particularly bad outcome, but "bad" vs. "good" is a different distinction than "politics" vs. "technical".
> By contrast, there are multiple independent implementations of ODF.
IIRC, OOXML is implemented by OOo/LO and Google Docs as well as Microsoft Office, the former two are independent implementations from the latter, if not also from each other. (I'm not sure any of those implementations are bug-free as compared to anything that has been standardized, much less fully compatible with each other -- ISTR even the Microsoft one early on had significant reported divergences from the standard.)
Little to no "defining" went on in the OOXML process, hence my use of the phrase "rubber-stamped". What little did take place seems to have been limited to adding more documentation for dangling references to undocumented bits, such as some of the "compatibility" options.
And no, there should be no "politics" in the agreement to a standard. The standard should be seeking the best solution to a problem, not the one best aligned with any particular party's best interests. No "I'll compromise on this if you compromise on that". And certainly no "let's make sure the people who would be inclined to say no don't get invited". OOXML wasn't just politics, it was dirty politics.
Yeah, defining a spec often happens outside of, and prior to standardization (refinement of the definition may or may not happen during a standardization process.) A standardization process with little defining can be bad or good, depending on why there is little defining.
> And no, there should be no "politics" in the agreement to a standard. The standard should be seeking the best solution to a problem
"Best" is subjective, and involves balancing concerns which different parties will weigh differently; producing a consensus on that is inherently a political process.
> OOXML wasn't just politics, it was dirty politics.
On this much, we agree.
1. That is a rather idealistic view of the world. Standards are typically set by committees comprised of multiple parties, and all entities have an agenda. Sometimes its self-interest, sometimes it's just something like "all things being equal, we prefer doing things this way", but it undoubtedly influences the outcome.
2. Regarding OOXML, maybe the actual problem could be stated as, "the vast majority of the world's official documentation is in a proprietary format and we want to make it open in a way that doesn't inconvenience the millions of users of the existing files, because otherwise nobody would use the new format." Regardless of whether there were dirty politics, what would the best solution to that look like?
Certainly; however, making any such change needs to come with arguments that convince others and drive towards consensus, rather than political machinations to manufacture consensus.
When someone proposes a change software project, they doubtless have some reason for proposing that change. However, projects don't typically pay attention to reasons like "we need this change to support our product", or "this makes our internal processes easier", or "without this change our business model collapses". And they certainly don't accept arguments like "if you ignore what's wrong with this patch, I'll [insert reciprocation here]". A change has to come with arguments for why it's the right thing for the project, not just why it's the right thing for the person proposing the patch.
> 2. Regarding OOXML, maybe the actual problem could be stated as, "the vast majority of the world's official documentation is in a proprietary format and we want to make it open in a way that doesn't inconvenience the millions of users of the existing files, because otherwise nobody would use the new format." Regardless of whether there were dirty politics, what would the best solution to that look like?
Treat the old binary document format and representation as the legacy format it was, without giving it a veneer of "standardization". Add features and capabilities to the existing ODF standard, rather than creating a new competing one; likewise, in the various sub-formats, pay attention to existing standards rather than inventing new ones. Migrate to that format as the native format, not just as an export mechanism. Discourage people from saving in the old binary formats. Provide the rendering engine and parsing code of the old office suite as an Open Source library to handle legacy documents. Provide migration tools that actually cross-check things like pagination with the legacy document renderer, to confirm the fidelity of the conversion; collaboratively improve those tools until they achieve maximum fidelity on all available documents. Then, people can migrate new or edited documents with reasonable fidelity, get perfect fidelity for historical documents, and interchange documents with no compatibility issues.
That would not necessarily serve the goals of any one office suite vendor, but it would help move the world's documents to an open, standard, interchangeable format.
While the solution you propose for 2) makes perfect technical sense, I'd say it steps too much into "inconveniencing millions of users" territory. Providing tools for migration and checking fidelity are big pain points because it does not fit into their usual workflow, which alone makes it highly unlikely to be adopted. If you wanted people to have minimum disruption, the new format would have to be a completely compliant reimplementation of the old one, and I'd guess it's inevitable that the new standard would look exactly like the old one simply because it's the path of least resistance.
As far as I can tell, there is no way to guarantee a 'secure' delivery of documents via email. SMTP might be used rather than SMTPS and you don't always know what servers handle the email when in transit.
> As far as I can tell, there is no way to guarantee a 'secure' delivery of documents via email.
Well, if neither of you forwards to an external account, gmail->gmail email should be pretty "secure" (against other adversaries than Google, those that have hacked one of your Google accounts, and those that Google cooperate with (if any)).
It's not clear by what you write if email@example.com is emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (And so should know that Google knows all the things), or if you meant that you both use Gmail - or if you use Google Apps, so you already give all your emails to Google, but not in a way that is transparent to the sender (however, if the sender doesn't use any kind of end-to-end encryption...).
Not meant as a nitpick -- just pointing out that for some values of "secure" using a single provider for email can be "more secure".
I suppose the "enterprise" alternative would be to have accounts in cross-trusted AD with client-certificates and use S/MIME for client-client end-to-end encryption. In which case (AFAIK) by default, there'd be the possibility of keeping an escrow key.
(The open alternative would probably be to just use Gnu Privacy Guard)
(Seriously: We use desktop versions of Office apps based on Office 365 but I have not discovered any collaboration features so far. Where are they hidden? Are they compliant with European data privacy and labor law?)
If several people open a document shared on OneDrive, that document is opened in a collaboration mode where you can see others working on it, similar to Google Drive.
A menu appears at the bottom of the screen showing who's editing that file. If you have Lync/Skype for Business, clicking on those names opens an IM to that person.
Re privacy, a quick search shows their cloud services are compliant with ISO 27018 as of February this year
(and no, I don't work for Microsoft!)
It looks like this Web based LibreOffice is all available from public git repos, so why are you calling it a proprietary fork?
I feel sorry you are so ignorant.
That didn't turn out to be a good idea. First of all, to actually open something in the web app, first I have to add it to OneDrive. I cannot add it to OneDrive without actually opening OneDrive on the web because it doesn't have a Linux client. Once I actually open something up, "Install X for your device" just kept popping up (it changed recently).
It's still nowhere near the desktop experience, but I hope it will before July (when my license expires).
Apps loading files off your disk is highly problematic, and these apps are ran at least partially server side (both Office365's and Google Doc's).
This is a feature, not a bug.
In India, almost all laptop manufacturers give the option of preloaded Ubuntu. Yet people choose to pay for Windows - for either Excel or Photoshop.
I would pay a large sum of money for a compatible spreadsheet. It is well worth doing a startup around.
Everything else - Word or PowerPoint already has reasonable substitutes. Even if it is as simple as a PDF doc.
But there is no substitute for Excel.
As an investment analyst for VC, I also need to make A LOT of powerpoint presentations. Not a lot of slides, but I need to convey complex points in a short amount of slides. This makes me push Powerpoint to its limits and it also comes with no REAL competition elsewhere, I've tried __every alternative__. Nothing comes close to the robustness of MS Office, unfortunately.
What do you think about that?
There's all sorts of debate above about office 365 (some reads more like slick advertising astro-turf - people really shouldn't bite at that stuff) but this could be great for many web based business automation apps. I can think of a few things I've done in the past this would have been great for. I see it's already being built in to Zafara and Roundcube.
Seriously, multiple down votes? I didn't even get to mentioning toe-jam.
There's a demo on the homepage that runs on Sandstorm.io, so you can
very easily self-host or use managed hosting via the Sandstorm framework (https://sandstorm.io).
EtherCalc (https://ethercalc.net/, not related to Etherpad) is an OSS
cloud spreadsheet app. Demo on homepage, also available on Sandstorm.
Sandstorm has several other office/productivity apps, and in my
opinion, is the clearest route to an effective OSS cloud office suite.
I am hopeful for LO Online, but tile-based rendering seems like a bad
choice. I have no doubt it will be packaged for Sandstorm at some
point, but Etherpad is looking much better as of now.
As an aside I use LO as sort of a middleware for document conversion via PyOO (start headless LO, convert/load/creat documents etc. via Python script). I think UNO is rather complicated to use at least I struggle everytime I try to read the documentation (possible that I'm too dumb). I hope LO as a service helps make this use case more interesting and thus leads to more documentation and PyOO like libraries.
I feel like there's some potential to get LO into more widespread use by improving/advertising the "headless LO" more.
Oh I'm building this webservice...yeah sure upload your files as Excel or Calcs...we can use that and create nice Calc documents from either one.
Powered by LO.
I gave Google Docs another go and I must say I was surprised at how much better it was from 3 or 4 years ago. It was good enough for me to consider using Google Drive; me and my team are now using it for everything and couldn't be happier. We actually ditched Dropbox in the process.
Box, Dropbox, Microsoft and other players in this segment of enterprise productivity software should be worried. I'm happy to pay for it and wouldn't run a company without it.
I think a LibreOffice SaaS would have a hard time competing on features with Google Docs, let alone price.
The thing they're offering up is a downloadable VM for you to play with. Something you could actually set up an in-office version of; something that people can use and report bugs on.
It just disabled some functionality.
I also find Google docs handy to use, even though I use markdown stored in the cloud for writing my own content, managing research notes, etc.
I like the idea of being able to self host cloud services but ownCloud and LibreOffice face stiff functionality competition.
It reminds me of all those hundreds of early 20th century battleships that suddenly became completely irrelevant when the Dreadnought came by.
[Edit: replaced nearly nonexistent with irrelevant to make my point clearer]
If you mean that we've moved from desktop office apps to cloud-based Office apps that's absolutely not true.
The numbers I've seen for Google Docs etc are insignificant compared to office workers using MS Office and the rest. People who think Cloud docs have "won" apparently don't share the sames experiences with 99% of office workers in enterprise/businesses/governments etc.
In startup-land and small web businesses yes, cloud docs do well, but those are insignificant numbers-wise to the millions upon millions of classic office workers.
LibreOffice might be irrelevant, but that's because not many care for a free/open source office suite that's not MS Office, not because we've moved to Cloud documents.
Even if "99% of office workers in enterprise/businesses/governments etc" do their work on the desktop, there's still some appeal to being able to get what you want where you want it. This is where LibreOffice is trailing badly (as is Google Docs).
That implies most companies are willing to trust their business secrets to the cloud. That isn't what I see happening, not in medium sized business or enterprises.
Quite a lot use salesforce.com and other services. It isn't the majority, but the cloud business is big and it's growing fast.
Try working with a 200 MB document in Google Docs or Onedrive .Do you really think people that have to work 8 hours a day on such documents can afford a web app being slow and unresponsive ? There will always be a place for native apps. Yes the web is getting better, but it certainly didn't deliver its promise when it comes to replacing desktop apps, or PC games or whatever.
Sure, you'll still need native systems for a few heavy functions (finance will keep on using excel for quite a while), but most of the use cases don't need a full-sized productivity suite.
Or that's what those that built them think.
Then they found out performance and latency make it a non starter, and those "10% of features" that people use from Word, Powerpoint etc, are not the same 10% of everybody, so minimal web based replacements wont cut it.
In short: Calling Google docs a "non-starter" seems like a difficult position to defend. It's already in use by millions of people, daily, and growth is high. There are plenty of folks, including businesses, who have opted not to install MS Office and instead use Docs for everything. Sure, there are plenty of situations where that doesn't work, but as the "web as a platform" advances, and as office products on the web advance, the reasons for sticking with installed apps will continue to decline.
There will continue to be need for installed applications for heavy users for a long time to come (nobody is suggesting serious video or audio editing online, yet, but image editing is already reasonably do-able). Text-based and number-based documents? Those are easy. The very first personal computers could do them pretty well (Visicalc and WordStar, among others), and the web as a platform is vastly more powerful than the Apple II, C64, or IBM PC, that ran those products. And, they're also very easy to work on over very slow connections; you download the whole doc and check in changes in the background. Effectively making all the work happen on the client-side. No big deal.
It's just the same thing as comparing nano to emacs/vim. Sure, they both superficially edit text, but that's where the comparison ends.
To argue that what is true today will remain true effectively forever is to ignore the entire history of computing. Desktop applications won't win in the end. Every time a credible web-based alternative has arisen, it has won and destroyed the old way of doing things. So much so that we forget old ways even existed. In a decade I'll be surprised if there is still a desktop version of Office even still in development. There will be web-based versions that work without Internet access, but there won't be a version you "install" on your client machine. I'd bet it'll be sooner for most people, but there will remain outliers for several years beyond which there is a good business case for sticking with Office installed on each users machine.
Copy paste? No, not without Flash. Calendar notifications that work when the browser is closed? Custom fonts? Vertical text? Software that doesn't rot? Accurate page layouts?
If these new functionalities were so good and browser integrations were so powerful, then phones wouldn't need app stores, GMail/Google Docs wouldn't have a mobile application, etc. I'm more than ready to bet that in a decade, there will still be a desktop version of Office.
What? Of course copy paste works, even with formatting. Or, at least it does on my machine. Spreadsheets are trickier, but there are ways to override the context menu to make it do-able. I assume Google docs can already do it. Haven't tried it specifically, but I don't remember not being able to...so pretty sure I have copied and pasted within a docs spreadsheet.
"Calendar notifications that work when the browser is closed?"
Why would your browser be closed? This is the future we're talking about. Your desktop and everything else will be in your browser. That's like complaining that notifications don't work when your computer is unplugged.
"Custom fonts? Vertical text?"
Already possible and covered by standards. Are you using IE10, or something?
"Software that doesn't rot?"
All of the app stores have hundreds of apps built on web technologies. Google has a mobile version, but does not have a desktop version. In fact, GMail (and moreso, Inbox) are much better evidence for the case I'm making (that the web will devour almost every class of software in a decade) than the case you're making (that office software like Word and Excel are uniquely immune to being devoured). Inbox is a better mail client than Outlook. And Docs will become a better doc suite than Office...or somebody else will build one that is (might even be Microsoft that builds it...if they're smart, it will be).
This is true, but it doesn't have to be one or the other. Office 365 lets you have full-strength desktop programs as well as web apps and smartphone apps, at one low price.
This may be why Office 365 seems to be growing faster than Google Docs, and why it has overtaken it, according to one survey. (1)
Of course, there are other considerations. First, most real businesses need something much more powerful than today's web apps. Second, Microsoft Office is a programmable platform with a huge range of third-party add-ons. Third, a lot of big companies have two decades of Office programming and Office documents. Even if they really want to move everything to the cloud, they're going to run hybrid and in-house cloud systems for a long time....
Any actual evidence for this in the Office suite space? Because I don't see it happening at all. It was an empty promise of 5-6 years ago, same as "Year of the Linux desktop" never came to be.
For mail and collaboration (Slack, Jira, Asana etc), sure, web solutions will prevail. After all those things are all about the social, collaborative features the web brings to the table.
Sales and marketing are often heavy Excel users from what I've seen. Even with the uptake of Salesforce (seems to be used more and more), you still have lots of Excel users. HR is usually a tiny bit of the company so I don't really find that interesting.
I mostly see a mix of things at best.
Take pagers, the concept (delivering messages) still exists, but the mass market for dedicated, dumb message receivers disappeared a long time ago, leaving only a few niches.
Any company doing a mass-market, native-only, offline-only office productivity suite is bound to fade into oblivion, unless it changes. And that's the point of my original post, LibreOffice is going exactly through that.
I'm afraid your point is still not clear. What's your metric for declaring a market irrelevant?
A conventional office suite is still the solution which is overwhelmingly dominating the market. Maybe look outside your own bubble and bias.
A lot of business will never give away there confidential documents in the hands of third party cloud hosts. (which is the sane approach).
So what's your criteria for calling that niche, irrelevant or even non-existent?
Bitglass also found that the share of companies using a cloud application for their productivity suite rose from 28% last year to 48% this year. Their report shows that Microsoft has successfully capitalized on the growth in cloud based productivity suite adoption rates to take the lead from Google.
It works just fine for me and I'm not going anywhere for now so this little part of the 'market' will be around for a while.
The ability to own and administer your files is severely under-rated.
> The ability to own and administer your files is severely under-rated.
Or severely over-rated depending who you ask :)
Give it some time.
Can you give something to back the claim?
The extension interface of Libre Office even lets me think that this would be technically a triviality to integrate.
Maybe with an open standard instead of a propriety and closed eco system,
with the freedom to choose whom you trust with your data, or to host it yourself.
I still crave for a really nice word processor, spreadsheet, and easy database app (in the style of Access). I've always found *Office a bit rough around the edges.
My partner recently brought home an iPad from work. Word failed to play well with other (MS Word) Office documents, so file exchange and formats are still a complete pain in the neck. I will be using plain text until something better comes along.
The word processor and spreadsheet are rudimentary and the OOXML compatibility is terrible.
My favourite new feature in LibreOffice is the Google Drive integration (a first-class feature in LO 5.1). Because sometimes I need a proper bloody word processor or to read an OOXML doc someone's sent me.
LO Online will be proper LO at the back end, so will be that word processor etc.
The current core market for office productivity suites are business, followed by consumer. And I'd bet only a very small minority of those are sticking with plain text files until something better comes along.
Didn't RTF coma along a couple of decades ago?
So I don't have high hopes for this thing.
This term has always reeked of over-euphamism to me. I'm not arguing that "third-world" is any better, but what do I call countries that aren't developing? Right now, "developing countries" is used both to refer to countries that are actually developing (Kenya, for example) and as a polite way of saying "poor countries" (e.g. Somalia).
Seems like we should have a term that doesn't confuse the two. When I hear "developing countries", I mentally substitute an image of the most impoverished areas of our world.
Sorry if off-topic...
The most basic thought is to begin at the lowest common denominator. What is it that all countries will agree to when placed into comparison. That is the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI). It contains Life expectancy at birth.
Education index: Mean years of schooling and Expected years of schooling.
A decent standard of living: GNI per capita (PPP US$).
Now from here you could rank GROSS DOMESTIC HAPPINESS, but that is a garbage index if you ask me as a political scientist and a champion of the free world. The top grossing country on that list is a country that imprisons and tortures.
But I gather it makes sense to triangulate the facts from the CIA World Factbook, Heritage Foundation Freedom Index which covers press freedom and the extent of freedom of speech, and a sprinkle of transparency thus the Corruptions Perception Index from Transparency International. Now whether you're east thinking or west thinking you might also want to include another sprinkle of Amnesty International and quantify or qualitatively add its reportings to the mix.
What you will find that the initial HDI gives a pretty darn clear and precise estimate of where you would want to live and where in the world could be deemed as "developing" as in not yet reached the top-end of the list.
This is a scientific endavour, and it is not meant to hurt anybody's feelings.
Also: You can downvote me or upvote me as much as you want. This is how the real world approached this problem.