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OS X Operating Systems Sun Microsystems

Sun Joins Mac Open Office Development 171

Posted by kdawson
from the bye-bye-X11 dept.
widhalmt writes "In a blog post, a developer at Sun Microsystems announces that Sun will help with porting Open Office to Mac OS X. The open source office suite is well known on Linux and Windows, but does not have a native version on Mac OS. For a long time Sun did not want to join the development of that port but now they will actively push it."
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Sun Joins Mac Open Office Development

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  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768.comcast@net> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:27AM (#18971365) Journal
    maybe. What Im more hoping for is the NeoOffice guys and Sun will bury the hatchet and work together on this, since the point of contention between the teams is now moot.
  • Amazing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Praxxus (19048) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:35AM (#18971459) Homepage
    First we get news that Microsoft was recently acting all Mac Happy, and now Sun is acting Mac Happy. My, my, my, but these coincidences of timing in the software world never cease to boggle the mind!
  • by wesley96 (934306) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:35AM (#18971467) Homepage
    ...that it's a Java application. Sun is pushing for a non-Java, non-X11 native solution. I like NeoOffice as well and it has replaced Office 2004 for quite some time for me, but it would be nice to get the Java part out of the mix.
  • Will they unarchive? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frequency Domain (601421) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:36AM (#18971481)
    Sun already owns the rights to Lighthouse Design [wikipedia.org]'s application suite. Since these were originally developed for NeXTstep/OpenStep, they should be relatively easy to migrate to Cocoa. I'd sure like to see an Improv/Quantrix like spreadsheet tool put a stake through the heart of Excel!
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:46AM (#18971593) Journal
    The native port guys are getting some unofficial help from Apple already, although I believe it is more in the form of advice than code. And not the 'we recommend you don't bother' kind of advice; the Apple people helped put together the porting strategy, in the same way they have done for several commercial applications wishing to release a Mac version.
  • by porcupine8 (816071) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:46AM (#18971605) Journal
    You're lucky then. Mine regularly takes a minute or more to start up, and over 30 seconds to save a simple, small document. Not to mention the lags in the spreadsheet - I can easily enter 3-4 cels worth of data before it's finished showing the entry for the first cel. If I get too much futher ahead of it, it starts to lose data.

    I'll admit, I recently d/led the newest version at work, and it does seem to be an improvement. Still not as fast as a normal app, but not head-bangingly slow.

  • Improv (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jefu (53450) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:47AM (#18971613) Homepage Journal

    Having Improv back would be wonderful. The best spreadsheet I've ever used - using Improv made using Excel or other grid based spreadsheets painful.

    But then too, there was also this oddball thing called (I think, its been some years) "Advance", I only had a couple weeks to play with a test copy. Very powerful, rather strange. I'd like to have that back to play with too.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:49AM (#18971631) Journal
    Mod parent up! I would absolutely love to see Sun open source Quantrix. Given the age of the program, I would imagine it would also be possible to use GNUstep to run it on *NIX, although neither GNUstep nor OS X support the old nib file format, making the port a little bit of effort.
  • Mod me off topic... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Randall311 (866824) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:12AM (#18971941) Homepage
    But this native port of OpenOffice reminds me of a problem I'm having with the native OpenOffice build I have on Ubuntu (7.04 Feisty). The font rendering is hideous, and nothing - I mean nothing - I've done has helped solve this problem! I've tried tweaking settings, recompiling from source (takes forever btw), and even export LD_PRELOAD=/opt/openoffice.org2.1/program/filter/l ibfreetype.so.6.3.8 but none of this worked. Meanwhile the font rendering for the rest of my system is gorgeous, including AbiWord, which I am now using in place of OOo writer until I figure this mess out (I may never go back to OOo if I can't get good rendering out of it.) It's like having a layer of grease on the monitor.
  • by HerculesMO (693085) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:42AM (#18972421)
    It still pales in comparison to MS Office.

    Yes, I am complimenting Microsoft -- I am sure I'll be flamed for it. But frankly, they make the best office suite, and since theirs is the standard look and feel (although the new Office is a departure), the other guys have to play catchup.

    I would love to use OpenOffice, I just hate the look and feel and have always been more comfortable in Microsoft Office.
  • by EricTheGreen (223110) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:55AM (#18972657) Homepage
    I'm not optimistic about an OO port to native Mac, regardless of who is on board with it. Why should I be, given the legendary code cruft of OO, the lousy relationship relationship dynamics between the Mac- and non-Mac developer leads on OO, the well-intentioned-but-ghastly-performance object lesson of NeoOffice?

    OO is very decent office suite on Linux and Windows. So leave it there, where it is working acceptably. I think any effort to take that code base and reconcile it to an acceptable UI and functional level on the Mac will be the definition of a trip down the rabbit hole, taking years to realize and resulting in a UI compromise that annoys users on all platforms.

    Time to cut bait on this, accept that it never will be workable on the Mac, and free its development team to focus on improving it in the Lin/Win world. Better to spend development time and effort developing a Mac-specific office suite that uses the various Open*** file formats as its native storage, while providing a real Cocoa-based UI experience that actually integrates into OS X the way Mac users expect an application to. Not that Sun will come within a mile of such an initiative, but it's a great opportunity for frustrated Mac developers looking to solve a real practical problem...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2007 @11:05AM (#18972837)
    Is that "standard look and feel" an ISO standard, or ANSI? If you use
    "new office", do you mind that it is non-standard?

    Or is your abuse of the word "standard" indicative that you are
    a paid shill (along the lines of "cross-platform" meaning Vista
    and xp)?
  • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @11:44AM (#18973521)
    I have NeoOffice 2.1 on my Dual 2.0 Ghz G5 with 1 GB RAM.

    I just timed it with a stopwatch, with nothing else running.

    On initial launch, it took 42 seconds to get a usable word processor up on the screen.

    However, on repeat launches, it takes only 12 seconds.

    Photoshop takes 14 seconds. MS Word takes 6 seconds. 42 is embarrassing, (although at least it's the answer to the ultimate question of Life, The Universe, and Everything, so it gets some credit there.) 12 seconds isn't so bad. This machine isn't exactly brand-spanking new, but Apple's had a lot of huge speed increases lately. You jump back to G4 machines that aren't all that old, like my Mom's eMac and my girlfriend's G4 iBook, and I wouldn't even want to install NeoOffice, the speed must just be painful.

    Also, while the UI is largely a direct copy of Office, some of the places where it deviates constitute the most inane violations of UI design I've ever seen.

    All that said, most of the painful slowness is in startup; I've found word processing and spreadsheet to be reasonably snappy once they're open, and the thing is feature competitive with MS Office, with a Cocoa interface, for FREE. All in all it's an amazing bargain and I'm very happy it's around. Still, I wouldn't complain about a Sun developed native build with more snappy, either.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2007 @03:07PM (#18976959)
    Thank you for your hard work. NeoOffice allows me to function on my MacBook Pro here at the public university where I work. MS Office 2004 is not usable on this Intel machine. NeoOffice is the difference in me being able to turn in a timesheet filled with Excel macros and it just works. I'm making a donation today.

    Those whining about performance clearly haven't tried to use the PPC MS Office 2004 on and Intel Mac or they would shut up.
  • Carbon is not justthe path of least resistance... it's the *only* option for cross-platform stuff unless Apple releases OpenStep again or endorses GNUstep... and that still won't help existing applications.

    Safari is a wrapper around Webkit. Webkit is a port of KHTML, written in C++, and is the majority of the code in Safari: any Cocoa code is in the "shell" or in what are effectively Cocoa plug-ins. Camino is a similar wrapper, though somewhat simpler, around the Gecko HTML component from Mozilla/Firefox. This is the approach that I mentioned when I talked about using the original application as a support library.

    The reason Finder sucks is not simply that it's Carbon, but that it's a mutant crossbreed of the NeXT file browser and the original Classic Finder. Apple really messed up there, the basic approaches to file management in NeXTstep and in Finder are vastly different, and the result of this blending of the two approaches has pleased nobody. Even rewriting it in Cocoa wouldn't help unless they abandoned all the original Finder behaviour (which would really piss off the old-school Mac fans) or abandoned the file-browser behaviour (which would piss off everyone else).

    I really think they'd be better off starting fresh with the NeXT file browser, updating the NeXTstep code and making it pretty and Aquafied, and ripping all the Browser behaviour out of Finder completely and making it purely a "classic Finder" implementation.

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