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OS X Operating Systems Sun Microsystems

Sun Joins Mac Open Office Development 171

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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  • Not true! NeoOffice! (Score:5, Informative)

    by wheatwilliams ( 605974 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:21AM (#18971291) Homepage runs on Mac OS X under X11.
    NeoOffice is an independently developed version of 2.1 which runs on Mac OS X natively and without the need for X11. I've been using it for years.
  • by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:29AM (#18971389)
    Those guys (Ed and Patrick) are way ahead of the OOo port, so it's most likely going to be around for some time, Sun or not. Its a sad story, but its really too bad the Neo guys and OOo couldn't work together, but there's something political going on.

    Here's some oblig. links:
    NeoOffice: []
    OOo: tml []
  • by realinvalidname ( 529939 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:39AM (#18971507) Homepage

    From the blog:

    MacOSX and Aqua are quite new to me, so please bear with me as I learn about this (for me) exciting new platform at first. Certainly I will have many questions for my fellow Mac porters. However I can contribute ~10 years experience with vcl which I think the port can benefit from.

    The problem has always been that OO.o makes assumptions about GUI development that are well-suited to X11 and Windows, and not well-suited to Aqua. The question is, can someone who's learning Mac development as he goes push changes back to OO.o to make it more suitable for Aqua and other GUI toolkits? Can he do it before Sun changes their mind and de-funds the Mac port? Sun has a habit of funding things for about six months and then getting cold feet.

    Which reminds me: I should throw some money at Ed and Patrick for their continued work on NeoOffice [], which uses Java as a GUI adapter (!) to get OO.o tolerable on the Mac

  • by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:42AM (#18971557)
    I use to have a dual G4 machine 5 or so years ago when OS 10 came out and it ran Open Office. I think the big problem is that it used the X interface instead of Aqua, so maybe that's what they're concerned about. But from a user perspective I had no problem using just the plain ol' X11R6 version. Think it was via Fink.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:43AM (#18971567) Journal
    If you've looked at the latest Mac builds from the OpenOffice native port team, you will see that there is no contest with NeoOffice. NeoOffice is using a bad approach. Adding another layer of indirection (through Java) was a bad idea from the start, and became an even worse idea when Apple deprecated the Java-Cocoa bridge. The native implementation (demoed at FOSDEM) is significantly faster, and will be much more maintainable since it does things the right way from the start. I occasionally fire up NeoOffice/J, and within five minutes I've remembered why I don't do it more often. The native port looks like something I might actually consider using.
  • by Creepy ( 93888 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:04AM (#18971833) Journal
    the original dispute was over the license - see the faq and the license in dispute: [] tml []

    I chatted with Ed a long time ago (email, I think) after several separate groups and individuals were all attempting to port OOo 1.0, including myself, which I believe was eventually abandoned due to data model incompatibility. I forget the exact details, but I think it was OSX's problem with weak binding (this is X.1 and X.2 we're talking about) and OOo using multiply defined symbols in their plugins and requiring dynamic weak binding. X didn't have that problem, so only the X version was released.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:14AM (#18971979) Journal uses Java a lot for things like plugins. This is so you can write an OO.o plugin and have it run on Solaris (x86 and SPARC) Linux, *BSD, or Windows without a recompile. NeoOffice/J uses Java for a lot more, including drawing the UI. It does this using the (now deprecated) Java/Cocoa bridge, which is much slower than using the Carbon or Cocoa calls directly, both from the overhead of Java and the overhead of the extra layer of indirection.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:20AM (#18972069)

    It does this using the (now deprecated) Java/Cocoa bridge
    Wrong. NeoOffice uses Apple's Java (which itself uses Cocoa), but not the deprecated CocoaJava.
  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:29AM (#18972195) Homepage

    Unfortunately, though, this application gives new meaning to the words 'slow' and 'bloated'.

    Well, it's not snappy, but it's certainly better than the "nothing" that OpenOffice has been offering in terms of native OSX ports.

    The author has also chosen to make its license (GPL) incompatible with OO.o's (LGPL) so that his porting efforts cannot be contributed back to the main project. That makes NeoOffice a very hostile fork.

    I'd probably be hostile, too. IIRC, the backstory with NeoOffice was that they were trying to work with OOo on a native OSX port, and not only did Sun refuse to help, but they basically sabotaged their efforts. Rather than give up, these guys split off and started their own project, and because of that, OSX users have had a very functional free office suite for OSX for a couple years now.

    What's more, he is trying (against the terms of the GPL/LGPL) to limit free distribution by using the trademark loophole.

    Protecting your trademark is not a "loophole". All sorts of projects, whether they're commercial (Redhat) or not (Mozilla), protect their trademarks. Worst case scenario?-- you take the source and strip out trademarked graphics/names, recompile, and then you're free to distribute the results however you want (under the GPL).

    I don't want to be misunderstood: I'm happy that Sun is finally porting OpenOffice to OSX. The result may very well be superior to NeoOffice, and if so I'll use Sun's version. However, they've been taking their sweet damn time, and in the mean time, the NeoOffice team has made a very useful bit of software. I don't think we should be belittling the NeoOffice team and their terrific efforts simply because they don't have the resources to perfect their port. They've been doing a lot with very little while OOo has been doing practically nothing with their bounty.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:48AM (#18972527)

    Many Mac users shy away from X11 because it feels too different...

    I'd say many mac users shy away from X11 applications, not because they are different, but because X11 applications tend to be very much inferior. They break numerous UI conventions of Aqua programs and are missing a lot of what is considered "standard" functionality, like key bindings, spellchecking, and integration with other applications and the OS. When I see X11, it tells me the program was a quick and dirty port, not a serious effort at making a mac application.

    I use X11 applications, but usually not the same way as most OS X users. I've had a better experience running X11 applications under Kubuntu in a VM on top of OS X than I have running them "natively" on OS X. Some of them are even faster that way.

  • by Movi ( 1005625 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @11:21AM (#18973069)
    The UI is not Java anymore. Starting from version 2 its straight Objective C Cocoa.
  • by LizardKing ( 5245 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @11:40AM (#18973461)

    Err, that's rubbish. NeoOffice opens the default browser when there's an update. The update page happens to have a donation message on it, but the main thing is to inform you that an update is available!

  • by VValdo ( 10446 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @01:05PM (#18974931)
    Here is NeoOffice's official statement [].

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @01:16PM (#18975075) Homepage

    Since OOo is software libre, I don't see how it's possible to 'sabotage' a fork except by refusing to cooperate with it. And given that the fork's license is incompatible with the main tree, I can see why they would refuse to cooperate.

    Again, this is my recollection from the public statements when NeoOffice was starting, but originally they were working with OOo, not on a separate project, so I don't believe the license was different at that time. After they put in a certain amount of work, Sun made it clear that they had no real interest in supporting OSX and made changes to the main OOo fork that broke all the OSX work that the Aqua-port people had done. Some of those Aqua people left and started NeoOffice.

    And sure, you can strip out all references to the trademark and recompile. Too bad the OOo source tree is so opaque that almost no one is capable of doing that.

    Really? OOo is so opaque that you can't change the splash screen, about screen, and icons? Or so some sort of search for the string "NeoOffice"? Damn, OOo must really be written by morons, then.

  • by Teilo ( 91279 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @01:27PM (#18975221) Homepage

    To my knowledge there was no 2.0 Ghz G4 Powerbook, except via aftermarket upgrade. You are nitpicking.

    My specs: 1.67Ghz G4 Powerbook with 1.5Gb RAM.

    From cold launch to Splash screen: 35 seconds.
    From cold launch to blinking curser in Writer: 70 seconds.
    To load a 1 page text document: 8 seconds.
    To load a 50 page text document: 19 seconds.
    To open a new spreadsheet: 5 seconds.
    To open a spreadsheet with 300 rows: 11 seconds.

    Office 2004:
    From cold launch to Splash screen: 4 seconds.
    From cold launch to blinking curser in Word document: 21 seconds.
    To open a 2 page text document: 1.5 seconds.
    To open an 18 page text document: 1.5 seconds.
    To open a new spreadsheet: 1 second.
    To open a 350 row spreadsheet: 1 second.

    You were saying?

    That said, I hate Office 04, and would never choose to run it. Way too many issues despite it's relative speed advantages over NeoOffice.

    If you read carefully, I said that the X11 port has the font and printing issues.

  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @04:49PM (#18978953) Homepage Journal
    I was sort of hoping that Apple would support Java 6 in OS X

    If you have an account on the Apple Developer Connection [] web site (free membership), then Java SE 6.0 Release 1 Developer Preview 6 is already available. It will probably be another few months until it is available to the general public.
  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:43PM (#18979899)
    Just a few observations:

    >But Calc will treat the column headings as data and sort them into the middle of the list!
    >Excel knows that the first line is not data if it's a different text style from the rest of the list. Polish.

    Um, I use calc all the time. It's default is that the first row is headings and it will not "sort them into the middle of the list" unless you specifically tell it to do that.

    >Having a sheet loaded and trying to print will print the whole entire freaking spreadsheet, all sheets, all ranges in Calc.
    > That's just stupid. Excel will (for obvious reasons) default to printing only the sheet you're on. More polish.

    That isn't polish- that is opinion. Calc will print just the current sheet or all sheets. The default is all. You can change that at will. Although I agree that a more logical default (for me) would be to print just the current sheet.

    Don't get me wrong, I have a list of annoyances with OO, but it doesn't include those :) Even so, for a free, cross-platform Office package, OpenOffice is quite impressive and does almost everything that I and my 150 users need (even many things that MS-Office would not, even it if COULD run on our systems AND we could afford it).

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI