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Sun Denies StarOffice on Mac OS X 249

mattworld1 writes, "MacCentral is reporting that while development of OpenOffice for Mac OS X will continue, Sun is denying that a version of StarOffice is in the works. This is unfortunate, as it would be nice for Mac OS X users to have a good alternative to the expensive Microsoft Office." Apparently it's not all bad news, as VValdo writes, "The recent announcement of a collaboration from Apple/Sun on a Java-based version of StarOffice for Mac OS X shocked and angered many of the OpenOffice developers who had been left totally in the dark. After two days of intense programming on a proof of concept, they announced a first look at Open Office in Aqua." Neat!
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Sun Denies StarOffice on Mac OS X

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  • Old story. (Score:1, Redundant)

    by peterdaly ( 123554 )
    This was on other sites yesterday. Isn't that scary that that is considered "old" now adays?

    Some reported didn't understand the difference between a "Sun Project" and a Sun employee working on the OpenOffice project. Simple as that. Good news is the publicity made by the mishap sped development along quite it bit as thousands of new users and developers tried the app for the first time.

  • Can they just make up their minds?!?

    While they are at it, Sun should work with Apple to make a much faster JVM in OSX. Having Java 2 version 1.4 would be a big help.

    Java is their crown jewel, but a cocoa-ized version of Star Office would be kick ass.
  • Java based Office... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @03:23PM (#3988012)
    Now, before people start railing on "how much memory this takes", or "how slow it will be" because its an app in Java, may I suggest you run over to Borlands site and tryout JBuilder. Most developers think its a C++ app, when, in actuality, it is a Java app.

    And no, its not slow, and no, it doesn't have a major memory footprint.
  • by JHromadka ( 88188 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @03:25PM (#3988029) Homepage
    From this C|Net article [com.com]: "I don't want to sell StarOffice for OS X," [Tony Siress, Sun's senior director of desktop marketing solutions] said. "I want Apple to bundle it. I'll give them the code. I'd love it if I could get the team at Apple to do joint development and they distribute it at no cost--that it's their product. Nobody makes a product more beautiful on Apple than Apple." Perhaps Apple could rework AppleWorks to incorporate Sun's work.
  • Clarification (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nomad7674 ( 453223 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @03:26PM (#3988035) Homepage Journal
    My understanding is not that the StarOffice story was materially WRONG, but that it was a bit distorted.

    Essentially, Star and Apple programmers have been working with the OpenOffice developers on getting out a version of OpenOffice (which the original reporter confused with StarOffice, the commercial version of OpenOffice) for MacOS X. But it is still under the aegis of OpenOffice and will be a called OpenOffice and will not be sold by Sun. It was never an official Sun-sponsored initiative and no one was given a paid position to support a MacOS X version. But Sun employees did some work, Apple employees did some work, and the StarOffice team provided informational help on the structure of OpenOffice, when asked.

    This distorted reporting has spawned a lot of scathing commentary on all sides. Shows that having the right facts in the wrong order can be as bad as having the wrong facts, as far as the community is concerned.

    • Essentially, Star and Apple programmers have been working with the OpenOffice developers on getting out a version of OpenOffice.

      No, they haven't. The project is being done completely by volunteers.

      • I believe the original poster stated that the Sun and Apple programmers that worked on it were volunteering time (not getting paid).

        I don't know who works for who on the dayjob side but it wouldn't particularly surprise me if employees from Apple and Sun were contributing.

        If you look at The about page [openoffice.org] It's clear there is participation from at least Sun employees.

        I think it's cool. I like OpenOffice. If people are looking for an alternative to MS Office, that's one of your better bets.
      • The project is being done completely by volunteers.

        I don't think there's a major mac product in existence that hasn't had some work "done" on it by apple-- at least some assistance. I'm not saying people need apple's help, but, hell, I'm the smallest of the small fry of Apples developer program and I've had an apple engineer sit down with me and help me with a problem I was having in my code -- not to mention the two technical support incidents I need to use before they expire.

        That Apple and or Sun has put engineers on the project helping it out does not undermine the value of the effort contributed by the volunteers. It just points out apple's desire to support applications on its platform.

        Hell, they even hired the guy that did chimera, and I suspect a large part of his job at apple is working on chimera.

        My objection is not over the fact that it is a volunteer project, or even "all volunteer". But that you emphasized completely-- implying that apple is providing no support at all. I find that hard to believe as I expect there are a number of apple employees volunteering in unofficial or official capacities ... and if there aren't apple DTS is ready to help any project that needs it.

    • I'm not sure if people can't read or what, but I've heard many times now that the OS X port is being done by just 2 people. And I believe that neither of them work at Apple or Sun. OpenOffice itself IS being developed in part by Sun employees, but not the OS X port. I wouldn't be surprised if that changed in the near future though, especially with the interest in the product that this reporting error has caused.

      I think the problem here is people seem to be confusing the whole OpenOffice product (which has been in development for years and hit 1.0 not long ago) and the OS X port of OpenOffice (which just began recently and is a long ways from 1.0 quality). I've heard a few people who think that OpenOffice as a whole won't hit 1.0 for years now, just because they read that this port could take that long. Someone should get the word our that OpenOffice already is at 1.0 on most platforms.
  • After all.. what company would deny (lie about) working on a project that's in early development!?

    Reminds me of the Bungie denials about Microsoft only days before the buyout was announced.
  • Appleworks is a good alternative! Appleworks has everything I need in an office suite. Plus, it's not buggy like Star Ofice or slow like MS Office X.
    • Buggy like StarOffice? You've used SO on a Mac then? Wow...way ahead of me. Myself, I've only used it on my WinTel and *nix boxes, and haven't ran into a hitch yet.
    • i have osx loaded on my son's ibook (g3/600) with appleworks... it is quite fast, stable, and plays well with the other apps--word.
  • by peterdaly ( 123554 ) <petedaly&ix,netcom,com> on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @03:30PM (#3988056)
    There are more screenshots, but again, have patience with and mercy on the connection!

    That's never a good sign on a site slashdot links to. I saw one blury screenshot (stopped the page load after a couple minutes.)

    That server's toast for sure. Anyone have a higher bandwidth mirror of the screenshots?

  • That announcing a "First Look" at something "Neat" for geeks will result in an instantaneous Slashdotting.
  • by bogie ( 31020 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @03:34PM (#3988087) Journal
    Is that if Apple bundled OpenOffice with OSX. I don't see any reason why they shouldn't. This would make OSX even more compelling. It would also allow Apple to tell MS to shove that carrot they dangle over Apple where the sun don't shine. They are already overcharging their customers already, why not charge $10 more per machine to cover tech support costs for OpenOffice. They by this fall with Redhat and Apple including OpenOffice we would actually start to see some market share. If we are ever going to get out from under MS's thumb we have to start somewhere. Next is to port Evolution to windows, and Mac and get a free exchange plugin going.
    • It would also allow Apple to tell MS to shove that carrot they dangle over Apple where the sun don't shine.
      You mean where Sun does shine? :P

      Of course the way Apple's operating these days, it would be Aquified, renamed iOffice, bundled (but require 10.2 of course), and be free for a year or so. After that, they would announce that you can now only save your documents to your iDisk, which of course costs $100/yr now.


      mh, long-time, but now severely cynical Mac-head...
    • Reality check time: OpenOffice is not a threat to Microsoft Office. It might be nice to think that it is and in the distant future it might be but as of right now, no way. Besides, I'm happy with that other alternative to Office: AppleWorks. Okay, it's not a package-by-package alternative but my needs are fairly simple and it gets the job done (except for AutoCalculate).
      • by bogie ( 31020 )
        Its not about it being "threat" its about a good free product that can replace Office for 99% of Mac users. Feature wise it compares very well, and eveyone I know who has tried it has been impressed with this free program. Apple's market share is home users, schools, and artists. It is NOT Fortune 500 companies where Exchange is mandatory. You say how Appleworks is enough for you well guess what, your just like the rest of Apple's users. Have you noticed how poor Office X sales are?
        OpenOffice is a great substitute for MS Office for Mac users.
    • if Apple bundled OpenOffice with OSX. I don't see any reason why they shouldn't.
      It sure would be neat (and I don't even own a Mac). But I can think of at least one thing that, while it may not be "a reason why they shouldn't" bundle OpenOffice, it's certainly a big consideration: they'd have to provide support. With MS Office, I imagine users with support questions get help from Microsoft. With an Apple-bundeled OpenOffice, Apple would have to have a team to handle support requests.
    • Ok I think that I know why they won't do this.

      A TON of businesses switched to Windows95 from Apple when 95 came out. If Apple wants to maintain or even possibly grow their market share with businesses then they need Microsoft products. This includes the Exchange client (Outlook etc...).

      So lets say that Apple ships OpenOffice with OSX. Microsoft could then stop or greatly slow development for I.E., Outlook, and Office for the Mac. This would force quite a few comopanies to switch off of the Macintosh platform. Or at lest take a long look at how a Windows XP machine would perform instead of a Macintosh.

      My point with this is similar to Filemaker for the Mac. Apple now ships/supports mySql. That pissed of FileMaker and now they focus "most" of their development on other platforms. I realize that Filemaker is NO Microsoft, so Apple didn't really seem to care.

      The best thing they can do is try and build OpenOffice to be a great Mac app. Then possibly put links for "free" downloads from their site. Even this might incur the wrath of Microsoft.

      For everyones sake I hope OpenOffice gains a 20+% marketshare over the next five years.
      • by dhovis ( 303725 )
        Somebody mod this (-1, Dumbass) please.

        From Filemaker's [filemaker.com] website.

        FileMaker, Inc. is a subsidiary of Apple Computer, Inc

        It's a little hard to get pissed off at your parent company.

        • It's a little hard to get pissed off at your parent company.

          Have you ever worked in corporate America? A subsidiary is usually wholly-owned, sure, but if it wasn't a separate organization with its own agenda, it wouldn't be a subsidiary, it would simply be an operating unit of the parent. It it not at all unusual for subsidiaries of the same parent to compete with one another, or even with the parent. (I once worked for a member of the Omnicom kieretsu, it was a real education into the way holding companies and conglomerates function).

          All Apple, or any other parent company for that matter, care about is that their subsidiaries make money. How they do that is really a matter for their own management. It certainly makes little sense to run a subsidiary as a loss leader, and it would lead to a savaging by Wall Street.
      • [So lets say that Apple ships OpenOffice with OSX. Microsoft could then stop or greatly slow development for I.E., Outlook, and Office for the Mac. This would force quite a few comopanies to switch off of the Macintosh platform. Or at lest take a long look at how a Windows XP machine would perform instead of a Macintosh.]

        Apple's already developing and supporting AppleWorks (once ClarisWorks, and it's always, even if you had to use MacLinkPlus, opened and saved Word .doc's) so I doubt bundling OpenOffice would change much from MS's Mac division's point of view.

        And if Apple could take the effort spent on AppleWorks and give it to OpenOffice.org we'd have a better product all around. I've been using OpenOffice this week, and it's better than AppleWorks imo.

        Though I'd still prefer they'd just stopped at MacWrite 2.0 and got M$ to stop pushing new .doc formats every year or two. *ah*, we can all dream.
  • by jaaron ( 551839 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @03:39PM (#3988114) Homepage
    The whole "problem" here has nothing to do with Sun or Apple, but it has everything to do with CNET running an inaccurate story that was picked up by the other "news" sites like Newsforge and Slashdot, thus furthering the rumors. This in turn created quite a fuss with the OpenOffice programmers who thought it would have been nice for Sun to tell them directly rather than getting the word through a news story.

    The really interesting part of this little mixup is how quickly misinformation travels. While this episode might not be all that serious in the grand scale of things, I wouldn't be surprised if one day this same sort of mix up (ie- online news sites reporting some rumor story that spreads like fire through blogs and other online portals) will create a real problem or crisis. You watch. Information (thankfully) travels much faster and more freely these days, but that means the consumer of the information must pay more attention to filter out fact from fiction.

    For those looking for more facts, check out the FAQ at [openoffice.org]
    OpenOffice.org about the OS X port.

    • The really interesting part of this little mixup is how quickly misinformation travels. While this episode might not be all that serious in the grand scale of things, I wouldn't be surprised if one day this same sort of mix up (ie- online news sites reporting some rumor story that spreads like fire through blogs and other online portals) will create a real problem or crisis.
      I figured this was exactly how the stock market worked. Or, at least, how it worked in the hayday of day-traders, online news and 'investment' gossip forums... and clicky-clicky friendly online tool sets.
      • No kidding. Isn't it funny how the western economy gets more and more fake everyday?

        Market forces are remarkably similar to daytime soap operas except that the soaps are written and controlled by a small group of people... oh fuck.

        We're all just pawns, aren't we? Shit. At least they give us beer to make us stupid enough to not notice the fact that... that uh... hey, is that the 2002 Explorer? Wow man, I bet Sarah will come back to you when she sees that shit. Does it have a TV inside?

        Have you fed your Illuminati lately?
      • There was one scandal two summers ago with Emulux, involving a fake press release, put out by a grad student who couldn't cover his shorts. It was formatted like an official press release and sent to InternetWire I believe, anyway it kept getting picked up by more reputable sources, Bloomberg got it pretty quickly from one of their partner feeds, and the stock price fell in half within the hour. It was halted after the NASDAQ realized they hadn't been informed that news was forthcoming, so they could halt it for disemination. When it re opened it climbed back up to nearly the level it started at before the false announcment. What I find funny is that the grad student only covered his short sales which saved him well below $100,000. The SEC & CBOT thought that the creator was behind several option trades that would have earnedalmost $600,000 for who ever put in that lucky trade. He got arrested, and I think I later heard of a trial, but I have no idea what happened to him.
  • While not free (as in beer or speech) ThinkFree [thinkfree.com] Office is an alternative to Office.X. And it's only US$50. Of course, it's quite slow (Java-based) but it supports the MS file formats that I've thrown at it (Word and Excel v.X) and is quite stable. Of course, I've already sold my soul to Office.X but ThinkFree Office *is* a decent alternative.
  • It's just that it's going to come in 78 3 1/2 inch floppies.

    Of course, since Mac's do not come with floppies any more, this is going to be quite a challange to get it installed on a non-networked system. <snicker>

    After a number of decimal places, nobody gives a damn.
  • For more info... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jaaron ( 551839 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @03:45PM (#3988152) Homepage
    For more information, check out the NewFactor article at : http://www.newsfactor.com/perl/story/18805.html [newsfactor.com]

    Also check out this GeekNews story: http://geek.com/news/geeknews/2002Jul/gee200207310 15675.htm [geek.com]

    (Don't need the Karma, I just want people to get the facts straight. I hate misinformation being spread around...)
  • Hrmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by captredballs ( 71364 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @03:46PM (#3988156) Homepage
    Maybe they are denying this news because in truth SUN AND APPLE ARE MERGING!!!

    Wouldn't that make a great little conspiracy story? Come on, think about it. Sun has positioned themselves such that they need desktop software [theregus.com] and Apple SHOULD be looking to G4/5 alternatives, particulary 64 bit options if they want to maintain any customers in the movie industry. The sparc wouldn't be a poor choice, since it seems like its roadmap goes farther than the vanilla powerpc chips.

    Okay, it would be pretty un-applish to want to port Aqua to solaris rather than darwin, but you never know. Or the apple/sun conglomerate could maintain 3 difference unixes (don't forget that Sun has a linux distro coming out). It should would strengthen both companies pitch to the business sector since the whole office could come from one vendor (server, clients and office software). You can even picture what the new logo would be: a purple apple with sunbeams gracing one side, casting a shadow northward... no, farther north... yeah, past Oregon.. yeah, that far northward.

    Come on silicon valley! Mount a RISC offensive against Redmond!
    • by weefle ( 22109 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @04:07PM (#3988260)
      Yeah, this rumor has floated around countless times, almost as many as the one about how Apple's about to just go bankrupt and call it quits. But somebody passed it around to me about six years ago with the funniest spin:

      Yeah, did you hear? Sun's going to buy Apple! Yeah, and do you know what they're gonna call themselves after the merger?


      • Listen Dude. That was somebody else's rumor. THIS ONE is mine. Did they have the OpenOffice spin? No. Was MacOS UNIX then? No, it wasn't. Was the powerpc chip too slow to keep up with intel back then? Ooops! I guess that's always been the case.

        My Sun/Apple "rumor" is way cooler than any of those other out of date rumors.

        The Snapple thing IS funny, though. I give props to the rumors before mine. I'm truly standing on the shoulder's of giants.
    • Re:Hrmmm... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      that can't happen. I mean apple is using a BSD unix base, while Solaris is now SysV. I mean merging those two would be unholy... and would probably resmeble linux
      • Well they wouldn't have to merge them, they'd just port Aqua over to solaris (if they didn't just maintain both). I almost be that porting to solaris would be easier than porting darwin to sparc.

        Here is one thing to think about: each company usually has cooler looking cases than their wintel counterparts. Hrrrm... now if they brought SGI into the picture then we'd have some serious looking rigs on our desks.

        Oh wait... no... this would be awesome... All the new Sun's would have Titanium style cases. Awesome! And they would have a big apple/sun logo etched into the metal... Oh wow, the server room would have more silver in it than a rich wife in the burbs who just traded her car in for all stainless steel appliances.
      • Actually, the old SunOS was a BSD variant. It mutated into this twisted freak that we now call Solaris.

        Sun is quite good at making BSD like systems. I wish they never put in that SysV crap. SunOS 4 was the best. *sigh*

    • So would they call the new company Snapple?

    • that can't be. I thought that Disney and Oracle were competing to buy out Apple...
    • Re:Hrmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by powerlinekid ( 442532 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @04:23PM (#3988354)
      No no you got it all wrong. First IBM is going to buy Sun because we all know in our lifetimes its going to happen. Next IBM is going to move its new "Sun Division" away from sparc and to IBM's 64 bit powerPC. Now IBM will merge with Apple, move AQUA on a linux base instead of BSD or Solaris slap it on these 64 bit powerpcs with it's IBM Star Office and drive Microsoft straight back into the hole it crawled out of. Now its kind of scarry that it would take 3 companies to kill MS, but if someones gonna do it it might as well be IBM because they started this mess in the first place.
      • Yeah, eventually, as in "not soon enough to matter". As if IBM's purchase of PwC won't slow it down enough, the last thing that big ol' lumbering IBM could do is take on MS through a purchase during the next two years. Hell, it would probably hurt IBM more than helping it, considering the amount of $$ they make on MS solutions.

        One company wouldn't be able to take on Microsoft, especially not a company that was purchased and integrated. You just can't do that without some severe growing pains. Microsoft is huge, but they've learned how to do it. They can still move faster than any other big-ish company out there (damn them).
        • Actually IBM acquiring sun isn't that bad of an idea. IBM really couldn't care less about sparc or sun's workstation/server market (although I'm sure they'd find a use for it). What they really really want is java (I know, I'm actually an IBM java developer) and I would think that a combination of Linux and Java would scare the crap out of Microsoft, especially with IBM controlling it. As for MS solutions being IBM's big thing, I can think of a $Billion$ reasons why that might change (think IBM investments in linux). Also IBM has an incredible amount of Windows machines that they'd like to break from the obscene licensing that Microsoft has. Just my 2 cents...
      • You are all wrong its Disney and Sony who are going to buy Apple.

        NEWSFLASH: Disney Buys Apple. Sony Also Buys Apple.

        In a startling turn of events that has left the Macintosh community reeling, the Walt Disney Company, after years of rampant speculation, has purchased Apple Computer. In a second, equally startling turn of events that occurred just hours later, the Sony Corporation also bought Apple Computer.

        With Apple stock trading at a 52-week low today, Disney finally seized the opportunity to conduct a leveraged buyout of Apple.

        "We've been meaning to do this for years," said Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney. "At last the right opportunity presented itself and we couldn't be more excited! Now the company that popularized the mouse owns the company that popularized the mouse!"

        A Mickey Mouse character standing next to Eisner nodded emphatically and clapped his white-gloved hands.

        While Disney was holding its press conference, Sony was putting the finishing touches on its own acquisition of Apple.

        Sony CEO Nobuyuki Idei, paraphrasing Remmington president Victor Kayam's classic line, said, "I liked Apple's digital hub concept so much, I bought the company!"

        A Sony Aibo standing next to Idei nodded emphatically and barked.

        Wall Street analysts are uncertain exactly how it is both Disney and Apple were able to purchase the same company.

        "It's possible there was some sort of mix-up with the paperwork," said Daniel Niles of Lehman Brothers. "You'd be surprised how often that happens. Or, maybe not..."

        "At any rate, I'm sure they can work it out. Maybe Disney can have Apple on even days and Sony on odd days."

        A more likely scenario has Disney owning Apple during the day in the continental U.S. and Sony owning it during the night, which is daytime in Japan.

        The Macintosh community, stunned by the announcements, sought for a silver lining in the acquisitions.

        Macworld columnist Andy Ihnatko said, "The combination of Disney's marketing ability and Sony's innovation could drive Apple to heights the Macintosh community has never seen. Think of the possibilities!"

        "On the other hand, it could just be about putting Disney ads on Macs in schools and hooking a dumb electronic dog up to Macs in homes. I hope not, though, because that would just suck."
      • ...and then have another big old monopoly. Yikes!

        When IBM was king things were really expensive. Sure MS Office went from $150 to $800 in just 8 years, hmm wonder why, but pc prices have come down and innovation was king. If IBM were to reign king again they would control not only the software but the hardware which would be drm trustworthy based which of course could only run IBM software. Go look into who is funding drm? IBM is funding like %80 of it. They want DRM in all their scsi hard drives infact they are already have drm in them. Scary shit! You could not switch even if you wanted too. I guess the fsf would have to gain capital funding and now start a multi billion dollor hardware based company with chip manufactoring plants just to compete so we could write software again.

        After this we all would look at Microsoft era as the good old days of computing.

        As much as I dislike Microsoft I would not want a change like this.

    • Apple SHOULD be looking to G4/5 alternatives, particulary 64 bit options if they want to maintain any customers in the movie industry. The sparc wouldn't be a poor choice, since it seems like its roadmap goes farther than the vanilla powerpc chips.
      The rumors I've heard lately say that the Apple branded hardware they'll call the "G5" isn't going to use the chips that are currently marketed as PowerPC G5 chips, but rather IBM's POWER line. This would put them on the same manufacturing page as IBM's POWER-based workstations etc., which would probably be a smart move for the road ahead, unlike the idea of switching to yet another processor architecture.

    • In January 1996, The Wall Street Journal reported that over the prior weekend the boards of Sun and Apple had agreed to merge and that the deal was done, and to be announced later that week. For weeks after that people were claiming online that it really had happened and that the announcement had just been delayed.

      As far as I know, the WSJ never retracted that story.

      IF you want to talk about printing bad information-- the WSJ is a great example.
    • Supporting this conspiracy theory (which has been around much longer than you'd care to think) is the fact that OS X's Cocoa API is based on the old OpenStep API - which, at one point WAS implemented under Solaris. I don't think it was ever productized, but in theory anyway, writing a program to OpenStep meant that you could RUN the thing on NT, Solaris, and NextStep.

      There was a *DIM* hope back in the old days, when Apple first purchased NeXT, that this cross-platform capability (using platform-specific runtime libraries, not really a Virtual Machine) would be preserved, and then people might start considering developing in OpenStep/Objective-C, so they could hit all three platforms.

      What were we thinking? That would make too much sense.
      • Considering that NeXT had foundered for years with the cross-platform OpenStep concept, it doesn't seem like it would have been a good idea at all.

        Java, like it or not, has become the cross-platform language/API of choice. Other systems, like Galaxy, have died in the face of the competition. Considering that Sun is the force behind Java, how much help would they have been in improving OpenStep for Solaris?

        Apple/NeXT did the only thing that made sense: focus on the Mac.


    • The last thing Sun needs is another proprietary desktop. They tried that before several times and it failed miserably. Their customers are X11 users through-and-through; the ones that aren't have already moved to other platforms.

      If Sun wants to do something for their desktop, they should develop a Java-based desktop to prove that Java is suitable for client applications. So far--no go.

  • I saw this demo'd at the NY Macworld and it looked pretty good...
    http://www.thinkfree.com [thinkfree.com]
    ...And low cost too!

  • I'd missed the original article, so I don't know the whole story. But if there IS any truth to the Java port, I feel the need to point out Corel's failed venture to port the Wordperfect suite over to Java.

    Why would it be any better to try such a thing now?

    • by JohnA ( 131062 )
      Absolutely. Java has come a LONG way since Corel tried to port Office to Java. Corel was trying to port to JDK 1.1, which was totally pre-swing and pre-Java 2D. This meant that there was no font support outside of "monospaced", "serif" and "sans-serif", and it also meant no access to acceleration tools provided by Java 2D.

      Any effort to create an office suite today would have a tremendous chance of success, although it would still be a challenge.

      • Correct me if i'm wrong, but since 1.1 was using native widgets as opposed to Java2D's 'lightweight' Java widgets, the 1.1 AWT is a lot faster than the Swing GUI, especially on 500Mhz machines.

        Please don't bother telling me that everyone has a 1GHz machine now, as this is not true, and won't be for a good 5 years.
        • Actually, that totally depends on the VM. For 1.1 AWT under Windows, Microsoft's VM is actually the fastest.

          As for the Swing vs. AWT issue, that really is a toss up. The main reason for this is twofold:

          • Swing now has access to native video accelleration throw Java 2D, eliminating most of the advantage native peers had over swing widgets
          • VMs have matured greatly over the last several years, and continue to improve. The most noticable difference came when the Hotspot VM was introduced in JDK 1.2.
          So, unfortunately, the question is difficult as the answer varies from problem to problem.

          An interesting compromise between AWT and Swing has emerged in the form of Eclipse's SWT. For more info on that product, check out the eclipse home page [eclipse.org].

    • Why would it be any better to try such a thing now?

      Well, here are a few reasons for starters:

      • Processors are an order or magnitude or two faster now than they were then.
      • "Hotspot" and similiar JIT compiler technology means JVMs run orders of magnitude faster even on the same processors.
      • Java itself has improved greatly from the, what, 1.0 or 1.1 days of Corel's venture?
      • And Java programmers are a lot more familiar with the technology these days -- I imagine Corel's Java coders probably weren't very far up the experience curve.
      • Then there's the whole J2EE web services thing, which might make a lot of sense for an organization that wants to maintain some sort of central control over its office documents, but that's a whole other issue.

      I'm not saying it necessarily makes sense even now to do a cross-language as well as a cross-platform port, just answering your question.

  • Why is it that the Macintosh is always haveing rumors about it? Apple in general. What is it about Apple folk that makes them need to start/spread them? This isn't supposed to be a troll, honestly. It just seems that Apple has developed a cult that (most) other computer companies have not (slaves don't count).
  • I've installed OpenOffice on the Win2K hard drive I have at school to show people that yes there is an alternative to MS Office. I installed it even though I had access to a liscenced version of Office XP. The learning curve was negligible and it opened all the existing Word docs I had.

    I'm looking very forward to OpenOffice on the Mac. I have AppleWorks which is fine however after using OpenOffice I was hooked.

    Now if I could only look at the "First Look" ;)
  • I'm going to hazard that this is good news, wrapped around good news. First, it's good that Apple is more sensitive to developers than rumor gives them credit for. Second, it's nice to know that Apple is assisting the OpenOffice folks in their efforts. I think this is promising for getting some good OS X implemenations of free software out there.

    Sure, call me Pollyanna, but I feel like taking the sunny view today. Rest assured, tomorrow, Apple will do something horrible to prove me wrong.

  • I have a question for folks that know more than me. If trends continue, we can expect Apple processors to become more powerful, meaning OS X will run faster on the newest Apple hardware. We can also expect more and more software, like OpenOffice, to be ported to OS X.

    Could the Macintosh reach the point of becoming a viable alternative to the traditional UNIX workstation (like a Sun or an SGI)? I know that the old-school workstations are popular for scientific and mathematical work, but OS X could provide the convenience of a regular desktop OS and still let folks run their custom UNIX software. Do you think Sun is worried about losing market share to Apple?

    • I don't want to start a flaim war... but I will take a stab at this.

      Apple has ONE core market now and SUN has the other. Both could spend time and resources trying to get the other market but neither can afford the resources to do that.

      Could Apple take FreeBSD errr OSX and make a huge million dollar server? Yes, but it would come at the cost of them getting OSX better for the desktop. Can they afford that? I don't think so.

      Could SUN make a workstation for the masses... I personally don't think so. Sun is in a weird position now in that their threat isn't from Apple but Linux on X86. They are going to have some tough descisions in the next few years if the Intel 64Bit stuff takes off.

    • Depends on what kind of science and engineering work you want the workstation for. Mathematica, Matlab or a homegrown numerical simulation run on just about any ole' system, and the raw processor power of x86 has the edge there. If you have big data sets and need 64bit addressing, that rules out x86 and Apple. If it's 3D CAD, you'll need a good OpenGL accelerator (not a gaming card) and it has to run your favorite CAD software.
  • Because I think Apple would be better served by improving their own Office suite -- Appleworks. Not that I don't like Staroffice (or Openoffice.org). I would be concerned that if Apple "took over" development on Star/Openoffice for OSX that
    • Apple would merge and have only "one" suite - which would be Appleworks + Staroffice as a blend. This would translate into less choice, not more for the OSX user.
    • If Apple took it over, I forsee that 99.9% of the development would be by Apple itself. Yes Apple gives back to the community, but then the Star/Openoffice.org group would see that as a chance to slack off. What OSX needs more than Apple working on things is *other people* working on things. Diversity breeds innnovation. Apple is good, but they shouldn't have to do everything.
    Appleworks has come ("free") with every iBook/G4 Powermac I've bought at our company since OSX 10.1 came out. It's default loaded in the dock even. That's the best exposure any Mac office suite can get.
  • the problem is Apple (Score:3, Informative)

    by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @06:28PM (#3988968)
    OpenOffice basically runs on OSX. But it isn't usable by the masses because it requires an X11 server, and installing that is beyond the abilities of most users because it doesn't ship with the Mac.

    There is no technical reason why OSX couldn't support, in addition to Carbon and Cococa, access to the graphics system through the X11 protocol. The amount of code required on Apple's side would be small (a few hundred kbytes of binary), and users would not be able to tell whether an application talks to Quartz through Carbon or the X11 protocol.

    Of course, efforts like OpenOffice would still have to work on implementing Apple GUI guidelines, but they would have to do that even if they use native widgets.

    Many of Apple's new users picked the Mac because it is UNIX; Apple should support graphical UNIX applications fully and out of the box rather than insisting that other people spend large amounts of time unnecessarily on ports.

  • by zapfie ( 560589 )
    Aqua is not only a look but also a feel [apple.com]. Is the plan to just change the widgets to use the Aqua graphical style, or will they also be re-laying out the interface to conform with the Aqua UI guidelines?
    • Re:Aqua (Score:2, Informative)

      by openstep ( 597584 )
      Yes, we will be working on retooling it to conform to Aqua. That's a major undertaking for us, though, and we'll need lots of help to design how we'll do it as well as execute it. It's easy to draw buttons in two days...to get it to be sheets, tabbed dialogs, drawers, etc. isn't :)

User hostile.