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Excellent Tutorial for OpenOffice.org on Mac OS X 51

Blano writes "Marc Liyanage recently posted a great article on getting up and running and optimizing OpenOffice.org on Mac OS X. He includes some tweaks and helpful configuration tips." Another option is getting the software on CD.
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Excellent Tutorial for OpenOffice.org on Mac OS X

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  • by Romeozulu ( 248240 ) on Sunday August 15, 2004 @02:15PM (#9975214)
    Open Office on the Mac is a joke. It runs under X and looks like crap. I used Open Office on Windows and loved it, but refuse to use it on the Mac.

    I hope they plan on coming out with a "native" version sometime soon. I own a Mac because I love the interface, it's very hard to take 12 steps back and use this.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Sunday August 15, 2004 @02:27PM (#9975299) Homepage Journal
      * Open Office on the Mac is a joke*

      much of the point of this article is to guide on how to make it less of a joke and more of an usable tool.

    • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Sunday August 15, 2004 @05:09PM (#9976160)
      Open Office on the Mac is a joke. It runs under X and looks like crap.

      Fair enough, even if the comment was trollish. The article aims to help make it less of a joke, but you really have to ask yourself this-

      There are a lot of talented mac progammers working on all sorts of cute but worthless apps, like 5 billion "download songs off your iPod" programs. The OpenOffice team has repeatedly asked for volunteers to help with the port to Aqua. There are a lot of people who really don't like Microsoft.

      So why is it that OpenOffice for Aqua is so far off? Come on people- stop bitching, step up to the plate!

      • Part of the problem is Sun wants the programs to behave the same on all platforms, which defeats the whole point.

        Why the hell would I want to help Sun anyway?
      • by bedouin ( 248624 ) on Sunday August 15, 2004 @07:21PM (#9976755)
        So why is it that OpenOffice for Aqua is so far off? Come on people- stop bitching, step up to the plate!
        Maybe they're like me and anticipating that Apple will create a word processor and spreadsheet program equally as good as Keynote. Word is the only MS app I'm hanging onto, and I have no use for Excel.

        With the former developers of Gobe Productive now working for Apple [osnews.com] we might see something happen soon.
        • by grrrl ( 110084 ) on Sunday August 15, 2004 @10:50PM (#9977651)
          Word is the only MS app I'm hanging onto, and I have no use for Excel.
          being in a scientific field I find that Excel is worth the MS-infection on my machine. It really is a superior spreadsheet program (anyone ever tried appleworks? what a joke! its a wordprocessor with boxes). I use MS word occasionally for typing up letters (and opening email attachments!) but for reports I use latex (via TeXshop) so appleworks word probably would do for me if I only bought excel (but its cheaper to get the lot)

          as far as keynote goes, I think it was such a great improvement over powerpoint at the time, but the non-existent development since then is going to leave it way behind - I know a lot of people use it and love it, but if they dont fix the printing/pdf options and add some extra stuff it will die - powerpoint already has copied all the great stuff keynote offers (well, i assume it has, except maybe "cube" transistions) and noone who hasnt yet switched ever will. its sad. (i also love the drag and drop pdf capability but i think this is more an aqua thing than a keynote thing..?)

          open office has never appealed to me (i installed it once... ) because i already paid for the excel package. like i said, i hardly use word processing and I have keynote, open office seems too clunky for the effort

          • Well, you're definitely in the "Other" category of Office users. You use the heck out of one component and ignore the others. And I've long considered that Excel was the best of the package, Word still isn't as well-made as Ami Pro was 12 years ago and Powerpoint is a fucking joke - always has been, always will be.

            Keynote 2 needs to happen no later than MacWorld in January. I haven't heard a whisper. It's a damn sham., it's so much cleaner than Powerpoint ever dreamed of being. A lot of it comes from a mas
            • Well,

              to top all the posts :D I mainly use PowerPoint and I find it excellent.

              I bought Keynote when it apeared without testing it first, big mistake. I simpyl can not get how people can work with Keynote. Its incredible complicated to use and lacks nearly all graphical features. Seems you are expected to draw diagrams etc. in third party programs and import or cut/paste them nto Keynote.

              I bought MS Office for Mac OS X to be able to make presentations ... besides the import of *.ppt for keynote sucks so I
        • What would really be interesting would be if Apple leveraged OO's codebase like they did for Safari. Why recreate so much when a great deal of work has been done? The community would love it, Apple would gain a spiffy (free???) app as part of the OS (or iLife). They may still have a contract with Microsoft but god, I'd love to see them do this!
      • by Taran ( 119812 ) on Sunday August 15, 2004 @08:26PM (#9977060)
        So why is it that OpenOffice for Aqua is so far off? Come on people- stop bitching, step up to the plate!

        The OpenOffice team is redoing their internal APIs for version 2.0 - the Mac porting team would be wasting their time porting a deprecated version. You can find more at the OOo Mac port site [openoffice.org].

      • To reinforce what others have said, NeoOfficeJ is an excellent OOo implimentation.

        What is needed are people who know JAVA to get NeoOfficeJ running under OOo 1.2.

        Most Mac users have machines that canhandle the extra resources NeooficeJ requires to run well.
    • by liyanage ( 43911 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:58AM (#9978592) Homepage
      I don't like X11 apps on Mac OS X either. And there are things that are indeed not as good as on MS Word, especially keyboard shortcut / productivity tricks.

      The biggest drawback is the missing ability to assign keyboard shortcuts to style sheets. This is an absolute must-have for me. The nonstandard keyboard shortcuts really suck and hamper the workflow.

      That said, there is just no way to get structured PDFs using real OS X software, and that's why I'm using OpenOffice even though I would prefer a native OS X program that is tightly integrated.

      That's why I wrote the article. After working with OpenOffice for a while I have to say that not that much is missing in there to make it into the premier tool for long, structured technical documents. The PDFs that come out in the end are of excellent quality, including fonts and vector graphics and of course the structure information/bookmarks.

      It is actually quite impressive that you can get such a program for free. What's really interesting are the XML-based foundations, like the XSLT-based import/export filters. There are some *great* possibilities for shuttling structured content into and out of OpenOffice into other systems in the future.

      If there's ever a real Aqua version, it will be a killer.

      So I agree, it is hard to "downgrade" to the X11 level, but there is no alternative for what I use it for, and it is an impressive program, especially at this price.
  • by numbski ( 515011 ) * <numbski AT hksilver DOT net> on Sunday August 15, 2004 @02:20PM (#9975235) Homepage Journal
    http://www.planamesa.com/neojava/en/index.php

    Take a look. It works beautifully here. Takes a little longer than MS Office to load, but once it's loaded, it's wonderful.
    • Do you think it's ready for non-technical users yet?

      I got scared off a bit by the website's warnings like "it's really only a prototype" and "As this is a development project, NeoOffice/J is intended for software engineers and is not yet complete enough for regular users." (emphasis theirs).

      Personally, I don't mind working around some bugs and crashes here and there in exchange for cool new features, but my wife doesn't work that way.
      • I think so, given a couple of things:

        1. Said non-technical user understands how a windows/x-windows style UI operates. Despite being 'native', instead of the menu being overlayed in the menubar, each window has it's own menu.

        2. User isn't scared off by the said application loading a bit slowly.
      • I think NeoOfficeJ is a fantastic implementation of OpenOffice. I switched to it because NeoJ will load associated files when you double click them. OpenOffice in its current OS X X-window implementation doesn't do this very consistently. On top of that the integration with OS X is just so much cleaner and friendlier.

        Neo Office J is being used to prepare for the eventual native OS X release of OpenOffice, so I want to do what I can to encourage the project.

      • I would say that NeoOffice is much closer to ready for non-technical users than OpenOffice.org is. You don't have to install a bunch of separate packages to get it to work. Most importantly, it supports cut and paste with the rest of the Mac environment.

        There are some other little things too, from the perspective of a non-technical user. For example, you start, switch to and open files with a single icon in the dock for NeoOffice/J. With OpenOffice.org, you start it with the "Start OpenOffice.org" icon
  • Nice work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JavaRob ( 28971 ) on Sunday August 15, 2004 @02:20PM (#9975239) Homepage Journal
    I was trying about 6 months ago to get OpenOffice working properly on my wife's iBook, so she could have something better than AppleWorks (without me paying MS anything)... it was *not* easy. She ended up sticking with AppleWorks despite its flaws and limitations. X-11 apps are really tough to integrate properly into OSX (Jaguar, at least - haven't tried Panther), even using nice windows managers like OroborosX [sourceforge.net].

    I think I'm going to give it another shot -- this guy really walks through all of the nitty gritty details clearly, and comes up with something that looks pretty usable. He might be using Panther, though... I remember reading somewhere that Apple's X-11 wasn't going to be available for earlier versions of OSX; I installed XonX (XFree86 for Darwin), not Apple's version.

    Anyway, he's going specifically for the goal of creating PDFs with bookmarks (which we don't really need), but you get all the details of setting up a workable install of OOo along the way.
  • by jpkunst ( 612360 ) on Sunday August 15, 2004 @02:51PM (#9975434)

    Marc Liyanage is a great asset to the Mac OS X community. Check out some of the Mac OS X packages [entropy.ch] he provides for several important Unix applications. Though not linked to from that page yet, he also has a PHP 5.0.1 package [entropy.ch] ready for Mac OS X. (Caution: link points directly to the .dmg file).

    JP

  • OOo (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 15, 2004 @03:55PM (#9975784)
    I think the best implemntation of OOo for OS X at this thimr is NeoOffice/J [planamesa.com]

    It still does not really look like a mac app, but it does behave like one. In comparison to the X11 version it has:

    - quartz text rendering
    - native key commands (like cmd-s and so on)
    - one application package
    - double clicking files works normally
    - no seperate launchers
    - no extra software required
    - native printer and font support ...etc

    neooffice/j makes a lot of Marc's suggestions obsolete. The only drawback of /j is that you need a few hundred mhz tor run it.

    • Re:OOo (Score:3, Informative)

      by liyanage ( 43911 )
      NeoOffice/J is indeed *really* nice, I write that at the beginning of my article.

      However, the point is that it is based on an obsolete version of OpenOffice that will not run the ExtendedPDF macro. If you don't need that, then I would indeed suggest to use NeoOffice instead of X11-OpenOffice.

      Once, NeoOffice/J comes out based on the current OpenOffice, I will immediately switch to that myself...

  • It works, but.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by T.Hobbes ( 101603 ) on Sunday August 15, 2004 @04:11PM (#9975867)
    I managed to install it and get it working, but the install is a little wierd: everything - libraries, executables, etc - is installed in the application's folder (i.e./Applications/OpenOffice/). Which is OK, but it kinda sucks in that none of the applications are (easilly) accessible from the command line. Also, when I started it from within gnome, it complained that
    Could not get value of CFPref AppleLanguages! Please reset your locale in the International control panel..

    Does anyone here know if there are other relases that work on OSX (perhaps a *BSD/PPC release?).

    • You are not what they should be targeting. Command line? That'snot what most normal people want.
      Because it doesn't conform to your geeky ideals, doesn't mean there is something wrong with it. Personally, I think it is crap. But not because I can't use it from the command line.
  • by uncleFester ( 29998 ) on Sunday August 15, 2004 @07:41PM (#9976856) Homepage Journal
    If you're 10.2(.x) or earlier, you run into a bit of a roadblock at the X11 stage: Apple's X11 only works w/Panther. Anything earlier and you want to look for Fink [sourceforge.net] and/or XDarwin [xdarwin.org]. And have some alcohol handy.. it took me a little while to get X in place before the oO install.

    caveat - i'm playing with an iBook as a possible work-PC replacement, so though unix is my day job darwin/osX is new to me.. damn if it isn't cool as shizznitz though.

    -'fester
  • "My reason for looking into this was that I need to produce long technical documents as PDF files."

    Why not just use LaTeX? Since PDF is native to Mac, PDFLaTeX seems (to me) to be the best solution. I've been using TeXShop for a few years now and have really enjoyed it. Sure, you don't get the GUI of an Office "suite", but I think the results speak for themselves.
    • "Why not just use LaTeX?"

      I didn't want to. I wanted a GUI environment with WYSYWIG rendering. I really want to see what I'm working on, that's a matter of personal preference. I don't want to look at my document in markup source code, I want to work on it the way it looks on paper.

      And some of the users who will use the inhouse templates I've created will not want or be able to learn LaTeX.

      As for the results speaking for themselves, that's exactly why I created this setup. The results are astonishing and
      • I can see your point about not wanting to force LaTeX on users (LaTeX is very easy to learn, but not everyone wants to take the time); however, I don't see the point of needing WYSIWYG.

        In LaTeX I type some code and then click "Typeset" in TexShop, which shows me what the document looks like with TRUE WYSIWYG (i.e., not Word's sudo-WYSIGWYG). What's so hard about tha? But then I learned word processing on WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS years ago, and was used to hitting "Print Preview" to see what the doc would lo

        • I think it works both ways. In the user world of those who are savvvy but non-technical - they simply work visually and consider going to a shell or Terminal the dark ages and will not adopt it. (although we know it is not) Marc's point in this is to encourage exploration and hopefully stint development of a pure OS X port. And users will adopt an alternate app if it allows for visual creation similar to procedures they are already familiar with.
  • by analog_line ( 465182 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @08:43AM (#9979723)
    ...before my customers will even consider throwing Office away, and trust me, they REALLY want to, with the raft of problems that it creates daily for just about all of them.

    However, those problems pale in comparison to the issues that these decidedly non-technical people will have in trying to use the horrendously awful X-based interface. I'm having enough trouble getting them able to operate OSX without having a fit of panic every 10 minutes because it doesn't work like OS9. I don't need them getting even more confused with all the X requirements of Open Office.

    Yeah, Open Office is great. I use it on my Windows and Linux installs, and recommend it to my Windows-using customers. However until they get it native, unless someone makes a special request I'm not going to bother further confusing my Mac customers with it.
    • I absolutely agree.

      In its current state on Mac OS X, the X11 version is usable for fairly technical people.
      • In its current state on Mac OS X, the X11 version is usable for fairly technical people.

        Definitely. Between home and office I have a couple Athlon desktops and a Pentium2 laptop running Linux, a Pentium3 running Win2K, a G5 PMac, and a G3 iBook. OOo works adequately for me on all of them, which has been an incredible convenience, because no matter which one I'm sitting in front of, I can (through the magic of Samba and/or FTP) pull up the same documents to work on. And as a matter of fact, the one I ru

    • the native version should be out in 2005. Yeah, its a while, but it's free (-:
      • Yeah, free, until those customers need to pay me to help them figure out how to use their office software, and ask me what the hell this "X" thing is. Some of my clients eyes start glazing over when I try to describe permissions to them, never mind what a window manager is.

        With Microsoft Office, they only need to pay me to perform pretty well documented workarounds every so often.
  • by ChristTrekker ( 91442 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @09:19AM (#9990811)

    OOo, at least on the Mac, doesn't yet pass my "wife test". I'm getting my wife to switch from her crusty old PC to our new Mac, and the change in interface is already enough. I don't need an app that works vastly differently than everything else. I need one that integrates well.

    My solution, given AppleWorks well-known limitations, is to try to install old versions of Office to run in Classic. While still not native, it's closer than an X11 app is. So far the biggest problem is getting my new floppyless Mac to communicate to my very old System 7.1 Mac. It takes a bit of updating by sneakernet on the 7.1 side to get it to even see my network.

  • by Salvo ( 8037 ) on Saturday August 21, 2004 @06:51PM (#10034898)
    I've never Understood the whole OpenOffice/*Works type Applications.
    Having one Application for Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Drawing and Painting just doesn't make sense. They are three different creative tasks, which occasionally have overlap.
    The Windows-OLE/GNOME-Bonobo concept makes much more sense to me. Write a Document in AbiWord/WordPerfect. If you want to add a pretty Picture, Embed a Sodipodi/CorelDRAW! Drawing. If you just want to write your Resumé, just use AbiWord/MSWord. It just seems a lot more Unixey than including everything in one Application. You can also utilise previous work using a Linked Object. I could create a technical Drawing in AutoCAD and link it into a Report in Word. Then, when I wish to update the Model with more information, I just update the original and the Illustration in my Word Document automatically updates. You can't do something like this with a Works Suite, and if I want to use something more powerful (like AutoCAD) than the built-in Offering, I can. Platform Portability can be a problem with OLE/Bonobo documents, but that's what PS/PDFs are for, aren't they?

    Most *Works-style applications store all types of documents in the single File Format. Where's the sense in that. If I want to find the letter that my father wrote to Grandma, I have to search though a dozen photos of grandma, a spreadsheet on Superannuation, 20 different letters to do with the Family Tree, a Picture of the family tree, a drawing of a desk, until I find the letter that I'm after. All these documents appear as Gobe Productive Files in the File Manager. There is no way to determine that one is a Spreadsheet, Painting, Drawing or Document.

Waste not, get your budget cut next year.

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