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Native KOffice for Mac OS X 335

Posted by michael
from the microsoft-office-not-good-enough-for-you dept.
bsharitt writes "A preliminary version of KOffice has been built natively on Mac OS X. It looks like a lot of the hard part is over, and now a lot of cleaning up and bug fixes stand between Mac OS X and a free full featured office suite." There's also a story on the dot.
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Native KOffice for Mac OS X

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  • OpenOffice.org (Score:5, Informative)

    by Valegor (693552) * on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:00PM (#7863835)
    There already is free full-featured office suite that runs on Mac OS X. Openoffice.org has run on Mac for a couple releases now. Having used both open office and Koffice(koffice on Linux, openoffice on Linux and Windows), I find openoffice to be more versatile. It is all a matter of opinion though
    • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hanji (626246) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:08PM (#7863891)
      Yes, OOo is a `` free full-featured office suite that runs on Mac OS X''. However, the important difference is that this port of KOffice runs natively on OS X - it does not require you to be running an X11 server.

      For some people, that may not be a big deal, but most of us on OS X hate to have to use X11, and would *much* rather use native apps if we can at all avoid X11. It's not that it's bad, it's just that it's an inconvenience and doesn't blend in well with the rest of the environment.
      • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Valegor (693552) *
        Unfortunately I posted that before reading the fine print on OpenOffice's website about having to load X Server. I admittingly have never tried to use openoffice on Mac. Ok, even more honestly I haven't been able to use a mac more than 10 minutes without wanting to throw it out a window. I am curious about OS X so it does bother me that I get so annoyed by it.
      • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:5, Interesting)

        by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:58PM (#7864210) Homepage Journal
        While this version of KOffice does, indeed, not require X11, I hesitate to agree that it is a "native" port. A quick look at the buttons, scrollbars, etc, suggests that this version of KOffice does not use the OS X widgets. In other words, this is as native as, say, Mozilla, rather than, say, Camino.

        Which is odd because I thought the QT for Mac was supposed to use the OS X native widgets.

        I don't want to suggest this means it's useless. Obviously, having an application you can place anywhere in the file system, double click to run, associate with files (with a file, as the default for a type of file where the file isn't associated, and used for Open With...), etc, is infinitely better than an X11 version, but, well, I suspect most of those with MS Office or even AppleWorks will probably stick with their proprietary apps for now. Which is a shame.

        • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:5, Informative)

          by Natalie's Hot Grits (241348) on Friday January 02, 2004 @08:34PM (#7864722) Homepage
          Yes, but this is BETA. The main goal of this project is to get KOffice working on MacOS X using native file and print dialogues, and desktop themes, and other features that would allow KOffice to integrate well with the Mac OS X Desktop.

          The reason this is possible is because QT/Mac was released under the GPL, and so KOffice can be ported using the native QT Themes provided on the OS X platform. All the work is pretty much done for them via QT. Now they just need to get them to play well together.
        • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Native to me does not mean native widgets. Native to me means "if I download this, it will run smoothly without parts of another operating system installed for emulation (or X11)." Once this is running smoothly, it will satisfy my criteria for "native."
        • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:5, Informative)

          by fault0 (514452) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @12:37AM (#7865652) Homepage Journal
          > Which is odd because I thought the QT for Mac was supposed to use the OS X native widgets.

          It is using Native widgets and such, but:

          - the Qt version in use is BETA
          - they just made the native widget style code work two days ago. Very little work has been put in that direction yet.
        • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:3, Interesting)

          by asm0deu5 (637735)
          I'm yet to see a Qt/Mac app that doesn't look like ass. Though I've only tried a couple (LyX, Psi, and some game), all the "native" widgets were bad emulations that fit in worse than a Java Swing application, and in some cases didn't really work.
    • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ir0b0t (727703)
      OpenOffice [openoffice.org] is the best! I use it in my office every day to produce tons of heavily formatted documents. It saved me. I'm never going back to Microsoft Office. Koffice was not as useful as OpenOffice when I tried to switch before. Why not just concentrate on making OpenOffice better and better?
      • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:4, Interesting)

        by aergern (127031) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:16PM (#7863948)
        Well, since there is a project underway to develop a QT interface for OO then OO/QT will compile natively on OSX and all is well. KOffice never seemed to deal well with MS Office docs as far as saving them correctly but OO rocks..and with a QT UI for OO then QT/Mac will be the God sent for OSX users. :)
        • As I understand it, once they get a QT interface they still have to hack it to remove the X deps, much in the same way that KDE had to be hacked to run natively on OSX. So, 2 steps away from working, much further from 'rocks'.

          • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:5, Interesting)

            by WatertonMan (550706) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:32PM (#7864034)
            I'm not sure what you mean by "KDE had to be hacked to run natively on OSX." So far as I know KDE doesn't run "natively" on OSX. Unless you mean the KDE that is part of Fink and runs under X11. I'm not sure what dependencies were there. I know Fink still doesn't have the latest version of Gnome running yet. (Although I believe DarwinPorts does) So I admittedly am not familiar with other low-level features.

            The port of Konquerer and KOffice is using the native QT/Mac port. This is great for two reasons. For one it helps find bugs and missing features in QT/Mac. That'll make porting future projects easier and make using QT/Mac for cross platform development better. Secondly it will enable a lot of fairly good programs to run native.

            I agree that KOffice isn't that great, although it holds promise. But having it native is a big deal. Open Office might be more powerful, but because it is an X11 app, it really doesn't have an Aqua look and feel. Further cutting and pasting of graphics or drag and drop don't work. That's a rather large failing with Open Office. (I also think Open Office is weak compared to MS Office and further Apple is expected by some to be releasing its office suite this winter or spring)

            I'd kind of like to have a native Konquerer, if only to deal with directories with lots of files. Something the Finder doesn't deal well with. Using it to organize my web directories would be very nice as well...

          • Well if X11 has to be running, but the interface is AQUA/QT/Carbon and feels like a native then thats half the battle. My OSX OO experience would be so much better if the Menu was on the top bar of the screen and there was a real seperate OO icon in the dock. And lets keep things in perspective here. Free office suite that reads and writes MS OFFICE Files.
        • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:5, Informative)

          by geoffspear (692508) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:39PM (#7864083) Homepage
          Projected OS X native availability of OpenOffice.org 2.0 is currently Q1 2006. - from porting.openoffice.org [openoffice.org]. I'm not holding my breath.
      • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jafac (1449) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:49PM (#7864150) Homepage
        "Why not just concentrate on making OpenOffice better and better?"

        Because we're all much better off when three or four teams of talented programmers compete with eachother to make ALL of their solutions better and better.

        With your logic, one could just as easily say; "Microsoft Office is the best! I use it in my office every day to produce tons of heavily formatted documentss. It saved me. I'm never going back to Open Office. KOffice was not as useful as Microsoft Office when I tried to switch before. Why not just concentrate on making Microsoft Office better and better?"

        see?
        • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ir0b0t (727703)
          There would be nothing wrong with how you altered the statement if MS Office were open source. Since MS isn't open source, non-programmer type folks who work daily with a word processor on heavily formatted documents have limited choices if they care about trying to implement open source in a professional office. OO is the sole open source application that currently stands up to the proprietary competition. It would be great if it could be improved further.
          • It will be. But competition necessarily forces improvement. Unless there is *only* a single evolutionary path (I doubt it) in office suites (which would also imply that we might as well adopt Microsoft Office since it too *has* to be on the same path) then having 3 Office programs (MS, KDE, and Sun) means you can optimize the three to different needs.

            Right? They can attack different needs. Not *everyone needs a 20mb Word program (MS Word), or a 300mb Office program (OpenOffice). Some of us like 3mb Word pr
          • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Brandybuck (704397)
            OO is the sole open source application that currently stands up to the proprietary competition. It would be great if it could be improved further.

            Fine, go improve it. Improve it to your heart's content. Be happy, be free.

            But don't tell others they can't go improve other open source office tools.
        • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:4, Interesting)

          by samdaone (736750) <samdaone@hotmail.com> on Friday January 02, 2004 @08:47PM (#7864792) Journal
          People also look at the price. For poor people like me price is still a big factor in what influences my decisions to run what software.
    • Re:OpenOffice.org (Score:2, Interesting)

      by JDWTopGuy (209256)
      I'm not dissing KOffice/OpenOffice, nor QT/Mac, but I'd like to see a native (as in Cocoa) free word processor for OS X. I believe the AbiWord people are planning something like this, although I could be wrong.

      By the way, I think X11 on OS X rules, in fact I use rxvt instead of Terminal.app because Terminal.app makes a slug look fast. (I'm still on Jaguar, is it any better in Panther?)
  • But no, a version that requires you to load an X server doesn't count.

    Congratulations to everyone who's worked on this.

    • Please enlighten me, why do they insist on calling it Mac OS X if it doesn't even include a X server...

      /greger

      • by angst_ridden_hipster (23104) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:54PM (#7864182) Homepage Journal
        I know you're joking, but(*) ...

        In any case, the latest two versions of OS X *do* include an X server (Xfree variant). You can run it in rootless mode, which is quite functional and nice.

        (*) in the event you're not, we'd have to start with ancient history, when Mac OS was sold for clone systems, when the NeXTStep version of Mac OS was called OS 8, and ... er ... well, other things too far lost in the haze of Steve-induced fog to recall.
      • by HeghmoH (13204) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:59PM (#7864221) Homepage Journal
        It does. But it's optional, since none of the programs that an average user will ever see need it, and not installed by default. And even if it were acceptable to make the user dig out their OS CDs and install another piece of software just to use an office program, it's X11, which means it takes a certain amount of expertise to use it. Apple has made it as simple as possible, but in this case, when the unstoppable force met the immovable object, the immovable X server won the usability battle.

        As for the name (I'm hoping your post was sarcastic on that point, but you never know) X is the roman numeral for 10. Mac OS X came after Mac OS 9.
      • The X Mac OS X is a roman numeral ten. Mac OS X is pronounced "Mac OS Ten." If you have been calling Mac OS X "Mac OS Ex," stop, because that is *not* how it is pronounced.

        Just for complete clarity, the X in X server, and X-free86, etc. is *not* a roman numeral, and *is* pronounced "Ex."
    • by VValdo (10446) on Friday January 02, 2004 @08:33PM (#7864716)
      Since partially completed ports apparently count, I recommend checking out the developer Aqua release of OpenOffice.org, Neoffice [neoffice.org]. Downloads of a test binary have been here [neooffice.org] for awhile.

      Moreover, just yesterday, lead developer Dan Williams posted this state-of-the-port message [openoffice.org] on what still needs to be done to have a complete port of OO.o in Aqua:

      All in all, these aren't problems that require all that much technical expertise, just a lot of trial and error, and a bunch of debugging. A lot of the issues that we have had for a long time, like the widgets and menus and the event loop, are actually solved; we simply need to convert our old hacks over to the new frameworks or clean up the code as it is. We can of course do this, but as always it requires more manpower.

      So? Volunteers?

      W
  • looks nice... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alienhazard (660628)
    it looks nice but why would they use kde toolbar icons if they're porting it to OSX?
    • Because iconography takes time and money
    • Re:looks nice... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by baryon351 (626717)
      They very may well do, in time. I suppose the question to ask back would be "why would you edit ANY icons if you're just trying to get an app working". That's the state KOffice is in for now, it's like a kid who showed up at a party without getting changed from his school uniform, and yeah, we're all laughing, but the hard work's done and he's travelled there - he has some neat threads upstairs and just needs to have a shower & change and he'll be mingling with the crowd like everyone else.

      That being s
  • OSX Theme (Score:5, Informative)

    by IceFox (18179) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:07PM (#7863883) Homepage
    And the *really* important feature: The native OSX theme I got working the other day: here [rit.edu]

    So even thought some of the other screenshots are in the ugly Motif theme they will soon be all re-taken using the OSX theme.

    Also notice how in the Dock the KDE applications icons show up (and scale wonderfully!). We have a script that generates OS X .app directories of the KDE applications and also generates those directories with the proper icons. You can see some of them in the background of the screenshot in Finder.

    -Benjamin Meyer

    • Directory? It's called an application package, you heathen! ;)
  • Funny? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Libor Vanek (248963) <libor.vanekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:08PM (#7863888) Homepage
    "...hard part is over, and now a lot of cleaning up and bug fixes..."

    Does only me finds this funny? NOW the hard BORING part starts...
  • Opportunity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blackmonday (607916) * on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:08PM (#7863892) Homepage
    Perfect opportunity for Apple to do what they did with Safari and Darwin. Extend it, make it better, include it as an Apple branded product, and give the changes back to the community.

    I wonder how long it will be before Appleworks is nixed in favor of a kOffice - based product. Microsoft Office for the Mac is actually a really good product, and Appleworks doesn't touch it. Get to work Apple!

    • Re:Opportunity (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Nermal6693 (622898)
      Apple has to be careful though, they don't want MS to stop development of Office. Look what happened after Safari was released - MS announced that they were halting development of IE for Mac.
      • Yeah, and look how it 'devastated' the Mac community. :)
        I'd say MS needs Apple more than the other way around - I've heard the Mac business unit at MS is among the most profitable, compared to how much they spend on development. Probably a lot less piracy going on in Mac-land.
        • Twirl this (Score:5, Insightful)

          by fm6 (162816) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:57PM (#7864206) Homepage Journal
          If MS loses the Mac marketplace, they lose a tiny percentage of their cash flow. I often wonder why they even bother. Makes them look less monopolistic?

          If the Mac platform loses MS Office, they lose any chance of selling systems where reliable interoperability is an issue. By which I mean, where people need to be able open and edit Office files natively, without getting the formatting all munged up by import/export filters. This means no more workplace Macs (except maybe the art department) and no Macs purchased by people who need to take their work home. The pundits says this would probably mean the end of the Mac, and I don't see any flaw in their logic.

          And yeah, you'll have reliable interoperability when all those PCs get Windows and Office overwritten by Linux, KDE, and KOffice. Which would be a nice change but one I'm not holding my breath for.

          • Re:Twirl this (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Tumbleweed (3706)
            > This means no more workplace Macs (except maybe the art department) and no Macs purchased by people who need to take their work home.

            Yes, such a huge percentage of Mac sales, I'm sure. Also, 'MS Office' file formats don't always necessitate .doc - you can use .rtf just fine with most things, and the importer/exporter features of many MS Office competitors work just fine for the vast majority of files.

            I say that Apple should learn their lesson from IBM and OS/2 - don't go for a 'compatible' solution -
            • Re:Twirl this (Score:5, Insightful)

              by madmancarman (100642) on Friday January 02, 2004 @07:39PM (#7864477)
              Why have crappy MS software for the Mac when it doesn't gain them any noticable marketshare?

              Because, as the parent pointed out, NOT having crappy MS software will LOSE them noticeable marketshare. That's one of the evils of an illegal monopoly in the software industry.

              Before Steve Jobs returned to Apple, Netscape was the default web browser for Mac OS installations. In the findings against Microsoft in their antitrust case [yahoo.com], it's mentioned that Bill Gates threatened then-CEO Gil Amelio with cancelling MS Office for Macintosh:

              349. A few days after the exchange with Waldman, Gates informed those Microsoft executives most closely involved in the negotiations with Apple that the discussions "have not been going well at all." One of the several reasons for this, Gates wrote, was that "Apple let us down on the browser by making Netscape the standard install." Gates then reported that he had already called Apple's CEO (who at the time was Gil Amelio) to ask "how we should announce the cancellation of Mac Office . . . ."

              So, until there's office software out there that's used at anywhere near the frequency MS Office is used, Apple can't afford to dabble seriously in the office suite market for fear of losing their PC compatibility. After all, Microsoft cancelled Internet Explorer for Macintosh before Safari was even at 1.0. I'm surprised they haven't blown up over Keynote. The only thing that's saving Apple at this point is that Appleworks (aka Clarisworks) still sucks.

    • I hope Apple gets behind this and helps - maybe devote a few engineers to cleaning up stuff and help "mac-ify" the interface. It's reasonable enough - I've never believed that Jobs wanted to be in the software business anyway; he's a lot more interested in making cool-looking hardware. I mean, as far as I can tell, Apple is now the world's #1 *NIX retailer.

    • Now that KOffice has decided to go with the same file format as OpenOffice.org, this is actually not that far fetched. I can see this port becoming a really big deal on the Mac platform as a MS Office replacement that is compatible with PC's using OpenOffice.org (obviously there are features in either suite that aren't implemented in the other but at least they both use the same base specification of file format, unlike MS Office)
  • Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by K8Fan (37875) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:08PM (#7863894) Journal

    This is going to potentially have more impact on the popularity of Open Source software than anything to date. Office X on OS X has some really annoying "features" like the finking on it's self through a LAN. If this is solid and "Mac-like" it could prove to be a very popular alternative for Mac users who want to be free of Redmond.

  • Koffice for OSX (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:09PM (#7863905)
    As a Mac user I like it that these apps don't require X-windows and that they already look quite a bit like native OSX applications.

    really, excellent work.

    A friend of mine has Openoffice running on his powerbook, indeed it "works" but since it doesn't look as slick as the native OSX apps, I am not that eager to try it.

    I hope that now a lot of other K-software will be ported!

    best regards, Tom
  • by MrEd (60684) <tonedog @ h ailmail.net> on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:10PM (#7863906)
    It looks like a lot of the hard part is over, and now a lot of cleaning up and bug fixes stand between Mac OS X and a free full featured office suite.


    Unfortunately, in almost all Open Source projects the 'hard' and 'easy' parts are reversed...


    The challenge and glory is done, now all that's left is methodical, monotonous bug chasing. Who's up? :)

  • ahh yes... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:28PM (#7864014)
    what a great marraige... finnally the world renouned ease of use and power of KDE Office gets the wide distribution it deserves on the market dominating OS X platform.... oh wait...
  • by Kaypro (35263) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:29PM (#7864021)
    This is a great milestone but...

    Trolltech needs desperately to update the OSX port of QT. The widget have a cumbersome appearance and need to be updated to Panther style. Text alignment is in need of some fixing up. This isn't a complaint... the OSX version is still in its infancy and I'm sure time will allow a more integrated look... I'm just anxious.. because QT really is a great toolkit / API.

    Good Job!
  • by infolib (618234) on Friday January 02, 2004 @06:52PM (#7864168)
    Michael wrote: There's also a story on the dot.

    He really should have linked to the story on dot.kde.org [kde.org]

    "The dot" is "news for KDE-freaks - stuff that matters" so to speak. Hop on over, it's a nice place :-)
  • Lets be nice and send fresh underwear to all the product executives at MS. They need it after this news.
  • by eLoco (459203)

    I intend to give this suite a try regardless, but just curious: is there an automated system a la Mozilla to provide bug info back to the development team when an application crashes? I'd like to help further this development along, but this is about the extent of what I could provide right now.

  • by droleary (47999) on Friday January 02, 2004 @07:51PM (#7864545) Homepage

    . . . the hard part is over . . .

    Not by a long shot. It's hard to say this without sounding like a troll, but what most open source developers just don't get is that the hard part isn't the coding, but putting on the polish so that the app is useful to someone else. Looking at the screenshot, I can pretty much tell you that no Mac user is going to be comfortable using what clearly is not a well-designed Mac app. The fake widgets are out of place. The nested tab views (or two rows of tabs, depending on how you see it) is a terrible interface error straight out of Windows. I imagine trying to use this thing would show it to be even more clunky than the X11 version, where a user would more understand what they're getting into.

    Apple gave a very public lesson on the proper way to port OSS when they did Safari. This port clearly took nothing from that lesson. I don't really want to come down on the developers who got it working, because I know the kinds of efforts involved, but I have to say that if anyone thinks this will be of real help to the average Mac user, they are very much mistaken.

    • I am guessing it will work the other way around.
      Mac people have a sense of good UI so they will
      drive this part of the app which will then be
      ported back to X11. At least that's the sensible
      way things should evolve and may be the strongest
      reason to port K?>*&):"(&^ stuff to the Mac.
  • Where can I donate? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gryphon (28880) on Friday January 02, 2004 @09:19PM (#7864935)
    Where can I donate specifically to the team of programmers working to bring KOffice up to finished, final release quality on OS X?

    I would gladly pay to encourage their efforts.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      > Where can I donate specifically to the team of programmers working to bring KOffice up to finished, final release quality on OS X

      Since everything which arrives down at Mac OS X depends on what happens "upstream", use this:

      http://www.kde.org/support/donations.php [kde.org]

  • by zpok (604055) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @01:39AM (#7865844) Homepage
    OK, I've done GUI's and am usually totally anal about compliance, but here I have to agree with the post: the hard part is over.

    You have here a free and native alternative for Office.

    No money. People will use it if it is reliable. Because it's free. That's great!

    Maybe, if the programmers want to have more people use it and everybody to stop bitching, yes, it would be a good - no, a great idea to make it more Mac-compliant, but they don't have to, really. They've already made it FREE.

    People will be plenty happy already when the bugs and kinks are worked out.

    So congratulations!

    BTW, now please give us a free and easy (meaning no coding) database program and we're in HEAVEN!

    xxx

  • by polyp2000 (444682) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @09:15AM (#7866798) Homepage Journal
    This is a great thing for sure, but I have to question the Nativeness of Native here. For one thing I would have least expected it to use the native OSX widget set instead of a themed QT... and does it run without the need to have an X server running atop of aqua?

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