Mac OpenOffice Sans X

by Volker Weber


NeoOffice/J is one of the open source development projects that are a part of NeoOffice/J's primary goal is eliminating's dependency on X11 using Java technologies.

Simon Phipps comments on his weblog and on

Patrick has avoided needing either X11 or extensive Aqua programming by using core Java technology and leveraging its existing integration into Aqua. As a porting strategy I think that's pretty smart. This release adds printing, which for me was the missing link. There's still plenty of work to be done, but it's very cool.

This program is a case-study in the power of the open source method. With neither Sun nor Apple in a position business-wise to work on a Mac version of, the fact that all the source code was freely usable allowed capable and committed developers to 'do their own thing' and meet a community need. Traditional approaches to software would have left the idea to wither - this approach, through the energy of a few software engineers, lets many flowers bloom.

On a slightly related subject: Groove does not have a Mac client. Nor will it have next year.


Now this is worth a look at - thanks for the posting. I had looked at NeoOffice some time ago, but without printing, it really wasn't sooo useful.

Have you installed it - if so, any comments - or is the screenshot copied from somewhere else?

John Keys, 2003-10-14

Screenshot is from their site. Have not installed it.

Volker Weber, 2003-10-14

A really smart move, and the feedback so far seems to indicate that NeoOffice is remarkably usable for a prototype!

Just goes to show how powerful open source is... and more shame on Sun for not pushing its office apps / derivatives for Mac users.

Ben Poole, 2003-10-14

Ben, you may have overlooked who Simon is. This post and the comments there are an interesting read.

Volker Weber, 2003-10-14

Oh I know he works for Sun, and appreciate he's enthusiastic about OpenOffice / NeoOffice, I was just talking generally about Sun's usual approach: Wintel and *nix distros, and that's your lot.

Another large company's silence in this area also makes me think that Apple must have something up their sleeve in the office suite area... ;-)

Ben Poole, 2003-10-14

I was referring to Simon's statement about Sun executives who like and use the Mac. But I have to agree - Apple has something up their sleeve. Word would be easy, but Excel is not.

Volker Weber, 2003-10-14

It's definitely good seen some progress – OOo for OS X allways seems to be some kind of 'unloved stepchild'. But even the NeoOffice version still _looks_ like sh**, though ... ;-) Let's hope, the official Aqua port will be making serious progress sooner than planned!

Chris, 2003-10-15

Chris, agreed. OOo has its roots in StarWriter, developed out of German software maker StarDivision in the early nineties. It was available initially on Windows and OS/2 and aped many features of MS Office. There were a number of things more powerful but overall it was a MSO copy. Portability was made possible via a huge C++ library. OOo today is still quite monolythic and before we see a rewrite in 2.0 it should remain so.

Volker Weber, 2003-10-15

Chris - the 'official' Aqua port is now essentially down to just Ed Peterlin, it really needs some help. OO.o is one of those projects that has hundreds of admirers but very few workers. My hope is that NeoOffice/J will get it in front of enough Mac developers to recruit at least a little help...

Simon Phipps, 2003-10-15

Simon, my impression is that there are all but a few developers on the Mac platform. it is used by a lot of people, but not developed for. Apple's secrecy about their own direction is also discouraging for people who lean towards developing something. Look what happened after The Steve pulled Safari out of his hat.

Volker Weber, 2003-10-15

A little off topic, but actually, although I am a great fan of OOo and of the Open Source idea, I think the most important thing is open cross-platform data compatibility.

I wouldn't have a problem in Apple producing some super whizz-bang new office suite, (and OOo being neglected), if the data was being stored in an published format so that other applications on other platforms could at the least import it without problems. OOo has made a good start by using an open XML format - it would be great to see Apple (for one) pick this up and run with it, especially as they doen't seem to be supporting OOo development. Conversely, I would be very unlikely to move to a new Apple office product if it uses yet another proprietary data standard...

John Keys, 2003-10-16

Agreed; an excellent point. I still have some old Mac floppies with ClarsiWorks format files on them. Lord knows how I'm going to sort those out!

Ben Poole, 2003-10-16

John, not off topic at all.

This is indeed the most important consideration. Apple's recent track record is both encouraging and discouraging. Keynote does use an open file format, but it does not use OpenOffice's one.

Volker Weber, 2003-10-16

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