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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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  • by Apple Acolyte ( 517892 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:28AM (#18971387)
    Have you tried the latest major release of NeoOffice? For an office suite, it's awesome. NeoOffice has matured through years of development, and unless Sun joins the NeoOffice effort it's going to take a long time before they produce something that rivals it, I imagine. Give the NeoOffice guys credit where it's due.
  • by McDutchie ( 151611 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:38AM (#18971493) 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.

    Given its heavy use of Java I think the 'native' qualification is debatable. Some aspects are native (e.g. font management), which is certainly a major plus.

    Unfortunately, though, this application gives new meaning to the words 'slow' and 'bloated'. 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. What's more, he is trying (against the terms of the GPL/LGPL) to limit free distribution [] by using the trademark loophole.

    So, I would say that while a port exists, it's both low quality and under bad management, and I welcome this new effort to do it properly.

  • by tb3 ( 313150 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:01AM (#18971787) Homepage
    Sun is pushing for a non-Java, non-X11 native solution.
    I hope you appreciate the irony of that statement.
  • by smilindog2000 ( 907665 ) <> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:01AM (#18971795) Homepage
    On Linux, I've been using OO for years. The single biggest problem I have converting MS documents is copyrighted fonts. By default, Microsoft seems to encourage you to use fonts that they own, and no one else can duplicate them legally. The substituted fonts all work fine, but pagination and such change. I think it's Windows users who will have to change long-term... to using open fonts.
  • by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:04AM (#18971837)

    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. What's more, he is trying (against the terms of the GPL/LGPL) to limit free distribution by using the trademark loophole.
    Yes and no, I would consier the GPL to be the preferable license to use over the LGPL, regardless of what OOo does. Also, he "limits" free distribution by charging for free binararies of NEW releases. He still provides the source for free and he still provides the binaries for free download after they've been tested. My personally, I've already donated once to NeoOffice so I'm happy to wait for new releases now.
  • by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:09AM (#18971901)
    From my understanding of the term native, it refers to a program that is compiled for the host hardware and bound to host libraries and not requiring any kind of emulation or abstract translation layer. X is native to OS X, so I think it still stands. It might not be as pretty as Aqua but it's not like you're using Virtual PC or Parallels to run a Windows version.
  • by frdmfghtr ( 603968 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:18AM (#18972023)

    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 must be doing something wrong, since my NeoOffice (2.1 patch 3) takes about 10 seconds to start.
  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:21AM (#18972083)
    You are correct, but people are using "native" in a different context here. The "native" GUI for OSX is Aqua. Many Mac users shy away from X11 because it feels too different... even I run it in "full screen mode" (i.e. not rootless) because too many apps ignore the Dock.
  • by ironring2006 ( 968941 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:45AM (#18972473)
    As someone who has used OOo on Windows/Linux/OS X, I have to admit that the OS X X11 implementation feels like the biggest kludge. I've been attempting to move all my documents over to the ODF, but everytime I boot up OOo on my Mac, I get frustrated with so many things about it. As slow as Word is on OS X running under Rosetta, recently I've been finding myself using that much more. I haven't tried Neooffice yet, because I can't imagine using something slower. On the other hand, I've found OOo quite a good replacement under windows.

    So I say, bring it on! I think that getting a good implementation of OOo running natively under Aqua is key in the cause of reducing reliance on Microsoft. People switching to Linux obviously are going to use OOo or some other open format, but still too many people switching to Mac are relying on Microsoft. It'll be curious to see whether they take Firefox's approach to have the interface be consistent across the board, or if they try and take advantage of OS X's toolkits and design guides to make it a true Mac application.

  • by Mattintosh ( 758112 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @11:28AM (#18973207)
    As much as we /.-ers love to bash Microsoft, there comes a point when you just have to give them a bit of credit for their office suite. I've used Office, and I've used OO.o. They both get the job done. They both are usable for 75% of what needs to get done with an office suite. But MS Office just has more polish. For example:

    - Keeping an informal "database" of crap in Excel or Calc - Both will sort the list by whatever column your highlighted cell is in if you hit one of the "A->Z" or "Z->A" buttons. 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.
    - Printing in Excel or Calc - 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.
    - Mail merging in Word or Writer - Trying to get Writer to realize that "mail merge" doesn't necessarily mean "i'm writing a form letter and want to import addresses" is like pulling teeth. Word has no problem with just binding whatever data to a form. Polish(x1). Also, Word doesn't force you (or confuse you) into creating an Access database when you just want to import an informal list of crap from Excel. Writer DOES try to get you to make a Base .odb file when you try to just pull data from a Calc sheet. MS Office Polish(x2). Then there's the lack of a data-bound preview... (or at least one that's as simple as Word's - a toggle button on a toolbar or a checked menu item).

    Now, none of these are absolute deal-breakers, nor do they show that OO.o is somehow unworthy of attention. On the contrary, it shows that OO.o needs more attention, and from people who actually use the features they're coding. MS Office will only get better if there's pressure on MS to make it better, and OO.o is probably the best hope for applying that kind of pressure. I just think that MS really deserves some credit for making Office a decent app suite. They've done far more than most /.-ers want to acknowledge.

    Just to clarify, none of this applies to the Windows vs. Linux debate. I want Windows to just go die in a fire. It really needs to be flushed like all the other turds.
  • by soullessbastard ( 596494 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @01:23PM (#18975159) Homepage Journal

    Disclaimer: I am a founder of the NeoOffice [] project.

    Quote: and became an even worse idea when Apple deprecated the Java-Cocoa bridge

    We never used the CocoaJava bridge at all. I guess you never bothered to read the source code. In fact, we use very little Java at all as is pointed out by the ohloh source code analysis [] of our open CVS. There's little Objective-C as we do most of the logic in C++ and call out to ObjC when required. There are some other stats there you may find intriguing as well like the estimated man-years and cost [] it will take to approximate our code.

    Trust me, once any OS X port of OOo starts getting font handling and input methods correct, it'll slow down as well. This is true especially for Asian and other foreign languages. The bottleneck is in Apple's ATSUI and how it mismatches to the underlying OOo code. Has nothing to do with Java at all. Speed in a vaporware demo is one thing; carrying speed into a functional product is something different completely.


  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Thursday May 03, 2007 @03:15PM (#18977109)

    If that's true (and I don't doubt that it is), then putting that "/J" in the name was a spectacularly bad idea.

I've got a bad feeling about this.