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Aqua v2.0 Cancelled 689

Ant writes "According to MacSlash's story, a recent post on said no Mac OS X work has been done since 2003 and that there are no longer any plans for an Aqua version 'due to various licensing, political, and fundamental engineering difficulties'. :("
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Aqua v2.0 Cancelled

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  • by Eric Smith (4379) * on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:51PM (#11380371) Homepage Journal
    Forgive my ignorance, but doesn't OS X include an X11 server? Is there any major drawback to running OpenOffice as an X11 application rather than a native one?
    • I think it's not all that easy to install as X11 application.

      It requires some work (according to what I heard).
      In other words: it won't be popular for 'Joe Average'.
    • by Zelet (515452) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:53PM (#11380393) Journal
      Yeah, I run OO under X11 on OS X - but it is as ugly as it is on Linux. Which is pretty damned ugly and slow.
      • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @05:24PM (#11381028)
        I really dont see what the problem is with using the X11 version of OpenOffice on Mac OS X. Maintaining a seperate version of Open Office for another proprietary API would have consumed more precious developer resources which could instead be used to add new features to Open Office rather than endlessly reinventing the wheel to port old features to a million different OS dependant APIs. X11 is the most widely avialable GUI system and is available on most OSs, and works perfectly fine.

        Some have said that the X11 version is "ugly", but the Open Office developers have only themselves to blame for that, there are numerous beautiful graphics toolkits avialable on X11 which wonderful and georgeous user interfaces can be created with. Its not like X11 actually restricts user interface design, in fact, X11 provides a stable, time tested and refined platform which doesnt limit the beautiful user interfaces that you can implement on top of it.

        As far as performance, I get excellant performance from X11 on my systems, ussually better than Windows on the same hardware. X11 itself actually does not consume much memory or resources at all on your system. The X Server core consumes under 3 MB (this is around the executable size of the Xnest server which includes just the Xserver core, no hardware drivers).

        In fact, It wouldnt bother me at all if Open Office was run on Windows using the cygwin X11 servers rather than have a native windows port. And, i do use Windows and Cygwin all the time, I would much rather see developer resources go to adding new features to one X11 open API based port rather than maintaining a bunch of native ports for proprietary closed OS dependant APIs like Windows and Mac. The overall result would be a much better quality product on all operating systems. Such is part of the beauty of the standardised, OS indepedant X11 API, it allows the same GUI work to be used across many platforms.
        • by eyeball (17206) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @06:49PM (#11381529) Journal
          I'm sure a million other osx folks will flame about this, but it's really difficult to use X11 when you're used to the consistency of native OSX (Cocoa or Carbon to a certain extent) applications. i.e.: All OSX apps have similar places to go for preferences, to open/save files, edit, help, etc. Plus keybindings and mouse behavior are all similar. Compared to that, running an X11 application is like being thrown back to 1990. Menu's are attached to the window, keybindings are messed up, and you're lucky if copy/paste works.

          I don't see what the problem is with integrating native GUI libs with an OSS project. Firefox does this with extreme success on multiple platforms. This should've been OpenOffice's strategy from day 1.
          • This should've been OpenOffice's strategy from day 1.

            The problem is that "day 1" for OpenOffice was the day Sun handed them a huge codebase specifically written for X11 and Win32. No Mac API support included.

            By contrast, Mozilla was given an app that had already been coded for Mac, so on "day 1" the porting project was already complete. Then with Firefox, they started pretty much from scratch, so on "day 1" they were actually at square 1, and had the liberty of taking cross-platform support into accou

        • by mattkinabrewmindspri (538862) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @06:51PM (#11381538)
          I can't convey this easily without sounding like a huge asshole, but I'll try.

          Mac people don't want what open-source people think is a good interface. They want consistency and an easy learning curve. This means having all of your programs look and act basically the same. Menus, widgets, the whole shebang. X11 programs on the Mac feel very foreign and difficult by comparison, like they don't belong. Sure, they run just as well as they do on other operating systems, but they are missing a certain je ne sais quoi, which even the best X11 program is not going to have.

          An aqua port of OO.o would be very worthwhile. In fact, I think it could be *huge*. Mac users are some of the most anti-Microsoft people around, and don't want to shell out money for Microsoft Office. Having a good open-source office program like OO.o on the Mac would be good for Mac users, OO.o users, and anyone who isn't a fan of Microsoft.

          • I can't say this without being a huge asshole but i'll try.

            If the mac users are really that picky about the UI why don't they pay for the development of a mac version of OO or lobby apple for a real office suite or just say fuck it and buy msoffice?

            If not openoffice then maybe koffice or abiword/gnumeric or something.

            It just strikes me as being totally arrogant to say "what you gave me for free isn't good enough for me, go back make it so that I am happy and don't expect me to lift a finger or spend a di
          • by mrchaotica (681592) on Monday January 17, 2005 @01:27AM (#11383328)
            Aside: This isn't really a reply to you, matt-whatever, but instead a reply to the community at large who think OS X is just for traditional "Mac people" -- so when I say "you," don't take it personally.
            Mac people don't want what open-source people think is a good interface. They want consistency and an easy learning curve.
            As an "open-source [person]," I think Mac OS has a very good interface. In fact it's so good that I don't use my Linux computers all that much any more. I admit that it's got consistency and an easy learning curve, but it's powerful too. That learning curve isn't steep, but it doesn't stop climbing!

            So, what are these powerful features I'm talking about?
            • AppleScript. Do all YOUR [assume you're a Linux user for a minute, please] graphical applications support scripting -- and more importantly, cross-application scripting? Mine do! And I can mix Applescript and Bash script in the same file.
            • Services. I can select text in any application and have it spell-checked, read to me, inserted into an email, auto-summarized, etc. I can even apply an Applescript to it.
            • The Terminal. I get a pretty GUI, but I get all the UNIXy commmand-line goodness, too.
            • Mac apps. I can run *nix and X11 apps just like you can, but I can run Mac apps too, and you can't. There are lots of Mac apps with no real (decent and complete) equivalent on Linux: iTunes, Keynote, commercial games, that bookshelf thingy that there was an article about yesterday, etc. And they've got the je ne sais quoi too. ; )
            Oh, and in a few months when Tiger comes out we'll get two biggies:
            • Spotlight. Not only does it search, but it enables Smart Folders -- now I can set it up so that all my data gets organizes itself, instead of me having to do it manually!
            • Automator. I'll be able to create scripts graphically (no worrying about syntax and no having to look up the API).
            If all you Linux or Windows people see when you look at OS X is the eye candy, you're missing the point.
        • by Fnkmaster (89084) * on Sunday January 16, 2005 @06:52PM (#11381546)
          Nobody really cares what goes on underneath the hood. The real issues are 1) ease of installation on an unmodified OS 2) aesthetic quality and performance of GUI. If you can get both of these with some embedded implementation of X11 based on the Cygwin stuff, then more power to you. But don't expect anybody to take an office suite seriously that requires you to install a complete windowing system on top of your native OS just to make it work. Installing Cygwin isn't terribly hard or anything, but unless the whole process is completely seamless from a user perspective, people just won't do it. And companies will drop it like a hot potato.

          So in short, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with using the X11 version of OOo on Mac OS X, except that it doesn't mesh with the native look and feel, subjectively feels slower than any native Aqua app does, and requires (or at least it used to - it may be integrated into the install process now, haven't checked the OS X builds in ages) separate installation of an X11 server before it will work. These are all completely unacceptable in a mass market office suite.
          • by killjoe (766577) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @08:32PM (#11382095)
            "These are all completely unacceptable in a mass market office suite."

            I think this is exactly why OO will never be ported to macosx. The developers know that the mac crowd will not accept OO unless it's better then MS office. The windows and linux oo users are more tolerant and flexible in their expectations. They are willing to use something for free even if it does not work as well as something that costs 400 dollars. Mac users would rather pay the 400 dollars then to use anything that would spoil their mac experience.

            I think this is a good decision by the OO guys. It would be really hard to support or live up to the expectations of the typical mac user. It would be a thankless job and it would be very painful.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:04PM (#11382223)
          >I really dont see what the problem is with using the X11 version of OpenOffice on Mac OS X.

          You probably haven't used the Mac much. Probably the BEST thing about the Mac is the consistency of the UI (enforced by published Human Interface Guidelines) - this has been an advantage since the original 128K machine.

          OO.o on OS X stinks- the menus are attached to windows instead of the standard Mac menu bar, Mac fonts aren't available, dialogs don't match the Aqua standard, aliases aren't supported in File Open/Save dialogs, cut and paste are broken, there is no QuickTime or iPhoto or Services or Dock or Keychain or AppleScript support, and the damn thing is S-L-O-W.

          For users who came over from Windows/Linux (i.e. the ones who bitch the most about well-established Mac UI conventions) OO.o might be acceptable. For anyone who is used to the Mac's capabilities, it's a POS.

          There's a profound lesson which many a developer from Apple and Microsoft on down has discovered vis the Mac market- crap won't fly. Period. Crippling your app so it is limited to "common denominator" features found on other platforms is a sure path to failure.

          If the OO.o developers had REALLY been interested in the Mac, they would have supported the above Mac technologies plus new stuff like Spotlight and Automator. This announcement is no real shock nor is it much of a loss for the platform.
        • by mrchaotica (681592) on Monday January 17, 2005 @12:28AM (#11383101)
          Maintaining a seperate version of Open Office for another proprietary API
          Who said the Mac OS API was proprietary? It's not. In fact, you can even use it both on *nix/X11 and The OS Which Shall Not Be Named. There's only one difference with the version for other platforms:

          It's called GNUStep. []

          Porting OpenOffice to Aqua/GNUStep would actually be useful. GNUStep is similar to Java or .NET/Mono; it's just as cross-platform and just as native, and unlike .NET it's native on the Mac as well (does Mono work on the Mac yet?).
    • It's slow and ugly, at least in comparison to native apps.

      This news is really a pity.
    • by mr100percent (57156) * on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:56PM (#11380418) Homepage Journal
      The non-aqua version which uses the X server works fine... if your objective is to have something that works similar to Linux.
      It works fine until you actually want to use the wealth of rich, high-quality fonts that comes with OS X. So I guess that makes the NeoOffice/J project ever more important.

      The NeoOffice/J team has done a fantastic job of gradually Aquafying OpenOffice without anywhere near the same resources.
      • by tverbeek (457094) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @05:37PM (#11381107) Homepage
        The NeoOffice/J team has done a fantastic job of gradually Aquafying OpenOffice without anywhere near the same resources.

        For better or worse, the success of NeoOffice/J in this regard has to be considered as a factor in the abandonment of OOo/Aqua. In other words, Neo has rendered a native Aqua port unnecessary. That's really what the OOo folks are saying.

        Any Mac user who considers the OSX11 version ugly and hard to install (and it is) should download the current Neo 1.1beta and give it a look. It's easy to install, and while still not as pretty as one expects to find in a Mac app, it integrates well enough into the OS X environment (e.g. native pull-down menu, keyboard shortcuts, printing, fonts) that it could "pass" as a native app. It's no Office X, but it's good enough to give to Regular People as a free substitute. I think the only thing it's missing that it really needs is a "look and feel" theme that mimics Aqua instead of MacOS 9, and (like all versions of OOo) more speed.

        So now we have two clear choices:

        If consistency with the current Win and Lin versions is important to you, use the OSX11 version.

        If consistency with other OSX apps and ease of installation is important to you, use NeoOffice/J.

    • by JayDiggity (70168) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:56PM (#11380422) Homepage
      Functionally, there is little difference except that is certainly slower than running it natively. Where the big problem lies is that Mac users (and I'm one of them) expect coherence and integration in their UI. A Mac version of OpenOffice that runs using X11 will not provide this.
      Also, think of anyone who's switched over from Windows with a sour taste in their mouth - they want to avoid Microsoft at all costs, including MS Office. They've heard great things about OpenOffice, but when they go to try it, it's slow and kludgy. Not a very good impression at all.
    • by dn15 (735502) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:58PM (#11380439)
      OOo works fine under X11, but...
      - Most people don't have X11 installed - it's optional.
      - It doesn't have the key combos people are used to.
      - It may never be made to *look* native if it remains X11-only.
      - Menubar is in the "wrong" place for a Mac app.
      - It doesn't have a standard Dock icon of its own.

      Those are the primary issues, and none of them are necessarily deal-breakers for you or me. But they they severely hamper usability for inexperienced users who don't know what X11 is and won't understand why the app looks and behaves the way it does.
    • by lakeland (218447) <> on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:59PM (#11380442) Homepage
      Yes, it is ugly. It integrates very badly into the rest of the system (e.g. you can't alt-tab to it properly). Copy-Paste doesn't work between other apps well. The whole UI feels like a unix application.

      I guess it would be like running a windows app on linux and having the whole thing feel like a windows app. Sure, it runs and it is better than nothing, but compared to a true linux app it is awful.

      A native (carbonised) OOo would be suitable for giving to people running OSX that ask for a word processor. An X11 OOo is suitable for linux users who also have a mac.
    • by Goalie_Ca (584234) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:00PM (#11380449)
      As a linux user before i got my mac i was wondering the same damn thing... but then i got my mac. First of all, the X11 applications don't conform to apple's UI guidelines. It just doesn't fit in at all. It's goofy and awkward. Secondly, you gotta load up an x11 environment and then the application. You thought it took long enough to load up already? Luckily X11 doesn't take up too much memory though x11 applications feel less responsive for stuff like menu systems. It draws really fast, but doesn't respond too quickly.
    • by Dr_LHA (30754) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:03PM (#11380479) Homepage
      It just doesn't work very well. It's interface runs slowly (on my 1Ghz G4 Powerbook) and it doesn't fit in well with the rest of the operating system. Also the Powerpoint clone doesn't actually work properly as I was unable to get it to run the slideshow full screen, which makes it effectively useless for anything other than composing presentations.

      I use OpenOffice all the time on Linux, but for my Mac I went out and bought MS Office as I needed Office software. OpenOffice on X11 just doesn't work well enough for it to be any use.
    • "Is there any major drawback to running OpenOffice as an X11 application rather than a native one?"

      IMHO, the biggest drawback is that the fonts are awful. The antialiasing in OpenOffice X11 isn't too wonderful.

      Pity Apple didn't compile in the TrueType bytecode interpreter into the FreeType library bundled with X11. Then OpenOffice could leave the antialiasing turned off, and the fonts would be readily readable.
    • Forgive my ignorance, but doesn't OS X include an X11 server?

      Ignorance forgiven :).

      Mac OS X Panther (10.3) does indeed come with an X11 server. However, there are two caveats to this:

      • It isn't installed by default, so if the user didn't select it for installation, it won't be on their system,
      • Apple doesn't include the X11 server on systems with OS X preloaded (which is all of them). (It is included on the CDs/DVDs you get with the system, however),
      • Installation of X11 after OS X is installed typically requires the user to reboot their system with their OS X install disc, and then install the X11 support atop their existing OS X installation.

      Not a major problem for power users who need X11 support (this was virtually the first thing I did when I took posession of my first PowerBook last year), but hardly something you can expect your average user to do.

      Is there any major drawback to running OpenOffice as an X11 application rather than a native one?

      Yes, there are multitudes of such problems, including:

      • Unlike every other OS X application, OOo has an in-frame menu bar, and doesn't use the system menu bar (perhaps worse, as X11 does provide a menu bar, you wind up with two menu bars that have some duplication -- for example, both the X11 server and OOo's frame have an "Edit" menu, which can be confusing to a user),
      • The installation and program launching routine isn't terribly user friendly,
      • Apple's excellent font subsystem isn't integrated into OOo, thus you don't get good anti-aliases text,
      • No Aqua look and feel -- everything in it looks quite a bit different from every other application. No nice Aqua scroll bars, for example. Or list boxes. Or other standard controls.
      • No desktop integration. The icon in the title bar can't be dragged (in most OS X apps, the icon in the title bar actually represents the document or data being worked on, and you can drag and drop it as if it were the applications icon in the finder, allowing you to do stuff such as e-mail a document by dragging it's title bar icon and droppinng it into the Mail applications icon in the Dock), no text drag-and-drop with the rest of the system, can't use any of the Mac OS X services (like summarization, or text-to-speech), etc.
      • Doesn't even use the standard OS X mouse pointers. Even the plain old black arrow pointer is different as soon as you mouse over OOo,
      • Doesn't use the standard OS X printing subsystem controls (which is too bad, as the standard OS X print dialog makes it easy to print, fax, or save to PDF all within a single dialog),
      • In fact, all of the dialogs are non-standard. File load/save dialogs are another area where this is readily apparant.

      That's just a sampling of issues off the top of my head.

      The one thing they did at least do was to integrate OOo with OS X's clipboard support directly, making cut and paste between applications work as expected. But that appears to be the extent of OS X support.

      I'm rather disappointed in the attitude of OOo in this regard, because OS X really should have a native port of OpenOffice. The only way OpenOffice can take on Microsoft is to not only build a better office suite, but to make sure it's available virtually everywhere in versions that integrate well with whatever operating system it's being used on.

      Anyone other than me remember when StarOffice's target operating system was IBM's OS/2?


      • "Installation of X11 after OS X is installed typically requires the user to reboot their system with their OS X install disc, and then install the X11 support atop their existing OS X installation."

        It's a nit, but I think that 'typically', installing X11 involves putting in CD 3 and double-clicking on the X11 package. You make it sound pretty ugly when it isn't.

      • by pixelgeek (676892) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @05:51PM (#11381179)
        -- The only way OpenOffice can take on Microsoft is to not only build a better office suite

        Actually I think that path will fail miserably. The path to take is the one I think that Apple is taking. Make sucecssful and compelling apps that provide people with the features they want and make them easy to use and interoperable.

        Office apps are typically bloated and infuriating to use. The main reason I don't use OO on any platform is that it tries to mimic the same horrible user experience that Office has.

        Why duplicate crappy applications? People aren't that stupid and if you give them useful, functional applications that still do things like read Office files then I am sure they will use them.

        No-one likes Office so what is there to lose in trying to duplicate Office formats but with a better app?

        I'll be checking out Pages when it comes out but if Keynote is any indication I am sure it will be yet one more reason not to use Office or OO
        • No-one likes Office so what is there to lose in trying to duplicate Office formats but with a better app?

          I disagree with the hypothesis that "No-one likes Office". I can agree that most people here on /. (myself included) don't like Office, but we're in a minority situation.

          I imagine there are lots of people in clerical professions who have gone on two-day courses to get a certificate saying they know how to use Office who rather like it, because they're experts in it. Much like there are people out there who really like Windows because they make a lot of money working in it (regardless of how truly crappy it is).

          I can understand why OOo is targeting the Office crowd -- they don't need to target those people who have a need for a word processor every third Sunday -- they're going after those people who are currently using MS Office day-in and day-out, and who expect a competing suite to offer similar features and a similar experience.

          I'll be checking out Pages when it comes out but if Keynote is any indication I am sure it will be yet one more reason not to use Office or OO

          My copy of iWork is already on order. I've been wanting to get Keynote for some time now, and getting it bundled with what looks to be a high-quality word processing/page layout solution for less money equals me pre-ordering a copy from Apple's website the same day it was announced :).


    • 1) Difficult to install.
      2) Slow as heck.
      3) Ugly as heck.
    • --Open Office uses a FIPS approved RNG to model their font kerning code. Seriously, though, t he f ont l oo ks l i keth is

      (well only a little better.) Certainly unusable for any professional settting.

      --There is no cut and paste. Well, there is *some* cutandpa
      ste of plaint ext char act
      tht suffers fr
      om the problms shown her e

      --No native font support. Fine, I guess until you
      *end up with a thousand useless .ttf and type 1 fonts on your system
      *cannot use the corporate fonts provided by your emplo
  • So? Use Neooffice (Score:5, Informative)

    by mr100percent (57156) * on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:53PM (#11380394) Homepage Journal
    Neooffice [] is coming along nicely, it's finally in Beta. It's got an Aqua interface, Openoffice core, and doesn't require X11.

    • Re:So? Use Neooffice (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Goalie_Ca (584234) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:17PM (#11380578)
      I haven't tried out neoffice but I must admit MS office for mac is damn impressive. When MS is forced to omit OS-level integration and install only 4 apps, none of that other crud, it works out quite nicely. In fact, the UI hit the sweet spot, it loads fast, it's very nice, and it's not bloated at all. The install is nice and snappy too because all you gotta do is copy a folder and stick the cd key in.

      I still prefer to use latex for writeups but when i need to use office, MS office for Mac is pretty damn good. There is a reason why office for mac consistently gets better reviews than its windows counterpart.
  • X11 Aqua? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ghettoboy22 (723339) * <> on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:53PM (#11380395) Homepage
    FTA as a reason not to do Quartz or Aqua "X11 Will Always Look like Other Platforms: Many people deploying count the identical look and feel on all supported platforms as a major benefit. It helps them reduce training and, in many cases, implement a single multi-platform solution using as middleware (such as extendedPDF). Any native work that changes the interface would remove this as a critical selling point for for these users."

    Umm, I have yet to hear one negative comment regarding Aqua interfaces (done right). This comment appears to be nothing but pure FUD. If anything, an Aqua UI would make an OOo suite EASIER to use on an OS X system.

    But, again, whatever. I can't wait to get ahold of Pages. Apple seems to have finally woken up and realized they need their own (updated) office/productivity suite. OOo is great and all, but if their team seems to have the attitude "one platform, one UI" is better, I'll pass.

    Besides, there's always NeoOffice/J to root for! ;)
    • Re:X11 Aqua? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nailer (69468)

      Short version:
      More people run multiple apps on one platform than run one app on multiple platforms.

  • by dn15 (735502) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:54PM (#11380401)
    It's disappointing news, but at least there's still the NeoOffice [] project. Its was originally intended to be a place for experimenting with the issues involved in a native OS X port, but if the office OOo project won't be doing it hopefully NeoOffice will get more support as the primary (er, only) Aqua version.
  • Heh (Score:5, Informative)

    by pHatidic (163975) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:55PM (#11380408)
    Except for that in the first paragraph of the article it says that a port is being released by NeoOffice. Did anyone even rtfa?
    • Re:Heh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by advocate_one (662832) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:00PM (#11380455)
      Looks like the NeoOffice guys got off their butts and decided to do it rather than stay put and wait for others to do it for them... Nice one guys... More power to your fingers. The others who were expecting it to be done for them by the OOo team should hang their heads in shame... First rule of Opensource... if you want it, then get on and do it... otherwise you could find yourself waiting forever...
    • Re:Heh (Score:3, Informative)

      Yes, but the disappointing thing here is that the primary OpenOffice developers have officially washed their hands of Aqua support, not that they ever cared much for it anyway. That's where most of the development muscle and money is, in the main OpenOffice project. NeoOffice is only being done by a couple of people, and because it is not really an official project, it is always a step behind. They will constantly have to pick up the pieces every time a new release comes out and breaks something in NeoOffic
  • Qt version (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rxmd (205533) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:56PM (#11380417) Homepage
    It's possible to compile OpenOffice using Qt for the interface (e.g. in OpenOffice/KDE). Since Qt is available with an Aqua frontend, why not use that?

    It wouldn't provide overly tight integration with the MacOS X user interface, but it would be way better than today's X11-based OpenOffice.
  • by UTRules (134670) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:59PM (#11380448)
    Other than being free, I don't see what OpenOffice has to offer on the OS X platform. KeyNote works great, version 2.0 looks even better, and for those who care (and I'm one of them), the file format is xml-based and completely transparent. The OS X paradigm of encapsulating applications and documents in a directory instead of some gigantic kludgy single file means you can go into a .key file and see all the images and movies you've added to the presentation, as well as a single "presentation.apxl" file that contains the presentation itself in a completely obvious xml format.

    The new word processing program for the Mac announced at this year's MacWorld, called Pages, was written by the same team that wrote KeyNote and presumably uses the same open file formats.

    And these programs together are $79; even less if you can get the .edu discount.

    There's no Apple spreadsheet program (yet)...

    • by Yaztromo (655250) < minus poet> on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:57PM (#11380832) Homepage Journal
      Other than being free, I don't see what OpenOffice has to offer on the OS X platform.

      I know of one potentially big one, and that is platform independance.

      This may not be big on your list of needs if you're just running OS X at home, but in an enterprise setting where they've standardized on one office suite, but permit different OS's for different purposes, having one suite that can be run on all of them is important.

      Or what if you suddenly need to change OS or hardware platforms? It's generally nice to be able to be able to use the same applications, even on a different environment. I know this is why I have Firefox installed on all of my systems, be they Linux, Mac OS X, OS/2, or Windows.

      OOo could be a big deal on OS X if it were available in a pure Aqua version (NeoOffice/J notwithstanding). But it isn't, and now it looks like it won't be anytime in the near future.


  • AbiWord's new port (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:00PM (#11380450)
    This makes AbiWord's [] introduction of a Cocoa port even more newsworthy, in my opinion. Yes, I know it's not as robust an offering (I'm not sure how it could be with drastically different methods of development), but being able to read documents across the three major platforms in the same native format is a huge plus for me. YMMV, though.
    • I tried AbiWord's OS X build a while back when it was still advertised as being beta in big letters and found a few things wrong with the UI. A very few things - things which would probably take a day or two of coding to fix in total. I haven't tried later versions (since I really don't use word processors for anything and hence have no real use for it), but I was very impressed by it. It looked and acted like an OS X app in a way that OpenOffice never did (even in the NeoOffice incarnation).

      AbiWord wa

  • WTF?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:03PM (#11380478)

    Ant writes "According to MacSlash's story, a recent post on said no MacOS X work has been done since 2003 and that there are no longer any plans for an Aqua version 'due to various licensing, political, and fundamental engineering difficulties'. :("

    It says nothing of the kind. From the link:

    Due to various licensing, political, and fundamental engineering difficulties it is likely, for the near future, that native Aqua porting work will be based off of the project and not under the direct aegis of


    For the last year and a half all engineering work focusing on a native Mac OS X version has been concentrated in the NeoOffice/J project, using a combination of Java and Carbon technologies to replace X11.

    What it looks like is that they have recognised that NEOoffice is a valid port, and any Aqua port by themselves would be a duplication of effort. The Slashdot story blurb makes it sound like they just gave up because it was too hard. They call this journalism now?

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:05PM (#11380499)
    First of all, this is NOT related to Apple announcing iWork. At all. No, there's no conspiracy.

    Second, this is OLD news. Anyone who's even remotely followed Mac OS X porting work knew any potential Aqua port was on the back burner. Way on the back burner. With the stove unplugged.

    Third, the X11 port will ALWAYS continue to exist.

    Fourth, there is a Mac OS X graphical port, albeit via Java, in the form of NeoOffice (1 [], 2 []). This project has come a LONG way since its relatively recent inception, and is an impressive work melding OpenOffice with the Mac OS X look and feel. There's more work to be done, but the latest 1.1 development release is impressive.

    Fifth, there are gargantuan technical hurdles to maintaining a full Aqua port of OpenOffice without greater engineering support (perhaps from the likes of Sun, who has shown zero interest in maintaining OpenOffice for Mac OS X, much less maintaining a commercial StarOffice for Mac OS X). These are all detailed here [], incidentally by one of NeoOffice's chief representatives.

    So calm down. This isn't an Apple conspiracy, or the end of OpenOffice for Mac OS X. OpenOffice will continue, in X11 form AND in the likes of things such as NeoOffice. If anyone is to blame for the official Aqua port going by the wayside, frankly, it's a lot closer to Sun than anyone else.
  • no big loss (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dankelley (573611) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:05PM (#11380500)
    Even if there were an OO port to the standard OSX gui, would it matter?

    The x11 port works as well as it does on other platforms, i.e. it's great unless you want ms-office compatibilityl. The OSX port would add eye candy and a more conventional OSX "feel." I suppose it would also support fonts (which mac users have in massive numbers). But would these things be enough to make users switch? I think not.

    Folks who want full ms-office compatibility will use ms-office or, perhaps, the upcoming iWork. nd folks who can live with something that is not ms-office compatible (and I stipulate that OO is not) will probably be just as happy to use the existing x11 interface.

    Me? For committee work (which demands ms-office compatibility), I'll use ms-office. For presentations I'll use keynote, unless I'm sharing it and therefore using PowerPoint. For my research writing I'll use latex. For my friends I'll use a fountain pen. Hm... OO doesn't fit in anywhere :-(

  • by sakusha (441986) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:10PM (#11380530)
    You can't ignore the largest Unix vendor in the world: Apple. You're just cutting your own throat if you ignore a huge segment of the market for your software. Projects succeed when people USE the software.
    • Well, yes they can ignore Apple, what has anybody in the OSS world got to lose by 'ignoring Apple'?

      Revenue? nope.

      Respect? not from tards like you, I guess

      If Apple doesn't want to support X11 properly, with a decent font server and a lack of high-performance extensions, thats their call.

      So tell me again what the motivation for volunteers to port to OS X native APIs (which are mostly closed and proprietary) are?

      Come on, You have a native MS Office port for your platform, a bunch of other shareware or com
  • by Wire3117 (787002) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:21PM (#11380596) it beats Openoffice hands down. just my ,02
  • by maryjanecapri (597594) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:27PM (#11380629) Homepage Journal
    i've been a Linux user for about 10 years and a Mac user for about 2. when i went to install OpenOffice on my ibook i had to jump through hoops i hope to never have to jump through again.

    So bad where these hoops that i've pretty much tossed OO (using X11) and am using NeoOfficeJ [] with fairly good success.

    If the OO team wants Mac users to migrate from MS Office to OO it would probably be smart to focus some time and energy on a native port. Very few people are willing to take all the necessary steps to get OO running on OS X with X11. not only that but it's slow, doesn't have nearly as nice an interface, and DRINKS DOWN the memory.
  • by mmarlett (520340) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:28PM (#11380640)
    X11 Will Always Look like Other Platforms: Many people deploying count the identical look and feel on all supported platforms as a major benefit. It helps them reduce training and, in many cases, implement a single multi-platform solution using as middleware (such as extendedPDF). Any native work that changes the interface would remove this as a critical selling point for for these users.

    Ask Microsoft how well Word would be accepted if it didn't follow the basic UI outlines of the Mac OS. There used to be a time when Word (and all Microsoft products) made up their own key combos, their own look and feel and were generally willy nilly -- a lot like many X11 offerings now. Word was the same on Windows (albeit 3.11) and Mac (6 or 7) but it didn't play well with the other programs.

    As a tech support, do you think you'd get more questions from people about why copy and paste doesn't use the same buttons on the Mac/PC/Linux versions or do you think users are more likely to not understand this one program that doesn't act anything like the other Mac programs? How many users are going to hop from machine to machine versus program to program? And then consider that it is just a word processor. Screw it. I wouldn't want those support calls.

    This has been the downfall of many otherwise fine pieces of software on the Mac OS. It's users expect consistancy.

  • Too bad. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ThousandStars (556222) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:28PM (#11380642) Homepage
    I'm sorry (but not surprised) to hear the formal announcement. It's particularly strange to see so soon after I wrote this [] post on /. alluding to the technical challenges. Anyway, if you want to see the larger reasons why the port isn't going to happen, look at Patrick Luby's post here []. The highlights:
    2. Event handling, fonts, and printing will take up most of your time Most of the postings that I have seen about Aquafication refer seem to focus solely on getting Aqua widgets on the screen. In other words, everyone gravitates to the "sexy" engineering work. Surprisingly, this is not the hard engineering work. The really hard engineering work is getting all the tedious details of event handling, font layout and rendering, and printing implemented correct. Essentially, VCL is a full-featured cross-platform GUI framework (similar to QT, Java AWT, etc.) so you need to reimplement almost all of that framework before OOo becomes even reasonably stable. When I first NeoOffice/J, getting native windows, buttons, lines, etc. to draw on the screen was finished rather quickly. But implementation slowed to a crawl when I implemented event handling and font rendering. Why? Because the native event handling and font rendering behavior is wildly different on Mac OS X than it is on X11 but your VCL framework implementation must ensure that this different behavior is properly mapped to VCL's platform independent behavior.

    I looked at OOo with the thought of helping out with the native port, but recoiled when I actually looked at ths sheer size and complexity and skill necessary. Another important point in the linked post is that moving to Aqua will take "a couple thousand hours of developer time," which I actually think is being optimistic. Unless an experienced somebody or, more likely, team of sombodies is willing to put their nose to the project 40 hours a week, like it's a full time job, it's not going to happen. And even if it does happen, it will break compatibility with the rest of OOo.

    OOo, I'm sorry to see you go. At this point it might be easier to start from AbiWord [] and move out to develop a full office suite on the Mac. The tension between being "Mac-like" and coordination with the rest of OOo -- which isn't anywhere near as mature as MSO, yet, anyway -- is too great.

    • One other thing (Score:3, Informative)

      by ThousandStars (556222)
      I hate to reply to my own post, but the other thing to keep in mind is that license politics played some role too, which didn't help. See this post [] in the OOo mailing list. I'm speaking specifically of these paragraphs:

      I thought that, apart from bug-fixing the 1.1.x effort, we would get together with the 2.0 tree, and start adding the Aqua gui on the basis what Ed and Patrick have done and learned. Now that Ed and Patrick have problems with the license that is imposed, that does not change most of this ar

    • Re:Too bad. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by lrucker (621551) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @05:10PM (#11380918)
      Unless an experienced somebody or, more likely, team of sombodies is willing to put their nose to the project 40 hours a week, like it's a full time job, it's not going to happen

      It could be one somebody, but yeah, it's a full-time job - I wrote the original Swing MacLookAndFeel from Apple and if I hadn't started when Swing first came out, long before anyone else thought it was important, it wouldn't have been ready when OS X shipped.

      (This was the second MacL&F, actually, but the first one was really only a "look". I had nothing to do with it)

  • Not a big deal (Score:5, Informative)

    by admiralfrijole (712311) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:32PM (#11380666) Homepage
    Contrary to what Slashdot headline and article writers would have you believe, this isn't that big of a deal people.

    First of all, we have some nice, juicy, out of context quotes like this one:
    no MacOS X work has been done since 2003
    when in fact the page linked to states:
    all engineering for Mac OS X has been focused on X11 graphics, that is, Mac OS X (X11).

    Then, faithful Slashdot reader, we are informed that: there are no longer any plans for an Aqua version 'due to various licensing, political, and fundamental engineering difficulties'. :(
    When in fact, although there will not be an official OOo in Aqua, there is this:
    For the last year and a half all engineering work focusing on a native Mac OS X version has been concentrated in the NeoOffice/J project, using a combination of Java and Carbon technologies to replace X11.
    So you can just use NeoOffice/J

    So basically what we have are a group of developers not willing to take the time and effort to go headlong into learning a specific OS's nuances and tweaks, and majority reworking the code to run natively in OS X, but who will keep making an X11 version that keeps up with the other platforms, and there is a 2nd set of developers working that into a native port. Doesn't seem like the end of the world to me.

    So have no fear, OOo is here to stay on OS X, and NeoOffice/J is here to work on a native port.

  • by pbooktebo (699003) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:38PM (#11380709)
    One problem with this is that X11 is not installed by default in Panther. You have to choose "Customize" and then click on X11. As most people don't know what it is for, most will not install it. This, more than perhaps anything else, is a hurdle for basic Mac users.

    I really was hoping for an Aqua port that worked well. X11 is just a bit of a pain for those who thrive on Apple's consistent UI.

    iWork looks nice (I played with it more than a bit at MacWorld this week), but I would prefer OO in Aqua (Pages, to me, seems more of a page layout tool than simple text editor that replaces Word).

    In short, there's still plenty of options (even TextEdit is a fine basic editor), but I had really been hoping this would come through. Let's hope that things may change and a port comes through in the next few years.
  • Eh, no big deal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Durandal64 (658649) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:43PM (#11380746)
    They wouldn't be able to do it right anyway. Seriously, a lot of people are under the misconception that Aqua is a set of nifty-looking widgets. It's an interface standard for clean apps.

    If your app has some shitty Office-like toolbar consisting of a row of 20 NSButtons, that's a shitty design. If your app's preferences are organized into 3 rows of 10 tabs each, that's a shitty design. If you can find the same function in 4 different places, that's a shitty design. Doesn't matter if it has an Aqua titlebar and Aqua buttons. Look to Office 2004 as an example of how Aqua cannot save fundamentally bad UI design. The guys would've just made the same mistake.
    • Re:Eh, no big deal (Score:3, Informative)

      by Guy Harris (3803)

      Seriously, a lot of people are under the misconception that Aqua is a set of nifty-looking widgets. It's an interface standard for clean apps.

      The Apple Human Interface Guidelines [], to be precise.

      I don't know whether all the issues you mention are described there, though - I didn't see anything that addressed the number of toolbar buttons, but it does give other recommendations for toolbars, so if by "a row of 20 NSButtons" you mean "something just using a row of NSButtons rather than using NSToolbar", doi

    • Wordprocessors and spreadsheets are complicated applications, and at some point trying to simplify things fails and you have to increase the complexity of the UI to provide functionality. Wordprocessors have always had the toolbars with a collection of buttons providing various functions and access to other toolbars along the top of the screen. And iWork follows this model to some extent to.

      It is either have those buttons in a toolbar somewhere for easy access to common functions or waste time opening the
  • by jbn-o (555068) <> on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:48PM (#11380779) Homepage
    Has anyone tried hiring a MacOS X developer or consultant to port to MacOS X? It seems like a native isn't really desired if all people do is complain that a nativa MacOS X OO.o doesn't exist and someone else won't do the work for free. Perhaps a bunch of MacOS X users would be willing to chip in US$20 to pay for something that can get the ball rolling.
  • by Theovon (109752) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:57PM (#11380834)
    There is a certain amount of logic to the idea that they should focus on X11. But the truth is that if Apple really wanted an Aqua version, there would be one. Apple has been known to be rather snobby, and they're probably suffering a bit from the NIH complex, because they're working on their own productivity suite.

    It's kinda like expecting really good support from Apple for Mozilla when they'd rather push Safari.
    • by shawnce (146129) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @06:04PM (#11381247) Homepage
      Just because the didn't pick your pet horse...

      It's kinda like expecting really good support from Apple for Mozilla when they'd rather push Safari

      You do know that Safari is built using KHTML & KJS (both part of KDE) and Apple is supporting them by feeding back bug fixes, enhancements and optimizations.

      Also they have made those frameworks available to other developers, outside of Safari, on Mac OS X by bundling them with the OS distribution.

      WebCore []
  • What's the point? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vijayiyer (728590) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @05:29PM (#11381057)
    On the Mac platform, there's Microsoft Office available natively, and now Keynote and Pages. OpenOffice arguably competes with MS Office essentially only on the basis of price, not by being better. However, people who buy macs have already demonstrated a willingness to pay a premium so that things "work". Therefore, it's not worth the manpower to maintain a native port for a small percentage of a small market. I keep MS office around solely for opening other people's files, and use LaTeX, Matlab, and the Adobe products for preparing documents.
  • by oo_waratah (699830) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @05:34PM (#11381084)
    Firstly the anouncement is purely for the Version 2.0 codeline. This is an excellent idea because it focusses everyones attention on getting the best Mac Port possible in the timeframe, not scattering resources trying many things.

    The Mac effort is one of the most intense efforts in OOo today by FOSS developers. There are many volunteers and almost daily offers for additional help. So as they say, news of my (OOo) death is premature.

    Ultimately the NEO office port will be merged with the mainline OOo. At this stage there are some issues with doing this cleanly so it is managed (extremely well) by a third party. This will continue until the whole thing becomes clean enough to merge. Try NEO if that works for you that is still a win for OOo in my book, I do not care about the brand name frankly my effort in making OOo better in a number of small ways is paying off, I am proud.

    Finally do not forget that this is an Open Source development. Any predictions that something will not happen are just very unlikely because someone with a bee in his or her bonnet will do what you do not expect. If you want an Aqua port more you want a serious stable Office Suite using X on Mac then please by all means, do that.
  • Reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by saterdaies (842986) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @06:02PM (#11381234)
    First, this isn't a surprise. They announced a while back that they might not even have an X11 port of OOo version 2 for OS X. While it is kinda crappy that they are completely abandoning it, there isn't much they can do if they don't have the developers.

    As for their reasoning that an X11 port is better, it is completely flawed. Firefox shows that reason 1 and 2 are bogus as it is to market at the same time on all platforms with equal stability, reason 3 is actually a draw-back that they are trying to market as a feature (gotta love the Microsoft-ian logic there), and the last one is basically a way of stating that we already have an X11 port so it means less work for us. If any of these were valid points, Windows users would be running it in Cygwin right now. They're all just a way of saying "we don't care in the slightest about your platform, but we don't want to look like we don't care." Frankly, if you don't care, that's cool. This is your work. You don't have to support Mac OS X if you don't want to. Anyone is free to come along and pick it up if they are interested. That's what is so great about free software. Just don't trip me and tell me you did it because I looked lonely and you thought I could use a hug from the ground.

    More importantly, OOo just isn't that good. It's amazingly slow and ugly, uses a fileformat that takes forever to save and creates huge files, and just plain worse than the other options out there. It's why there haven't been a lot of developers flocking to it from the Mac community. Something like Adium gets developers because it is the best. It's fully native, it's fast and clean, etc. There are a lot of other OSS projects on the Mac as well that are all good projects. OOo, by comparison, seems to employ a pretty terrible codebase and interface. While it has more features than AbiWord, AbiWord is clearly a better base. When you add Mac uses tendency toward well-done software with the fact that Mac users also don't mind paying for software as much as users of other platforms (lets face it, even Windows users don't pay for software - they pirate it), it means that OOo on the Mac doesn't have as much interest.

    One of the big problems is that OOo only has the "free" aspect to draw users. WordPerfect Suite and Microsoft Office are still much, much better applications - this is coming from a user whose computer only has Ubuntu on it, not some OSS hater.

    I've come down pretty hard on OOo here, but as a long term Mac user and now an Ubuntu user who loves Gnome, OOo is just terrible. Now, if you want the most featured office suite available, OOo is a great option for you. For a user like myself, and most Mac users, the features of OOo don't make up for the bloat and interface. Things like AbiWord and Apple's new Pages are much more attractive options even though they do less. Hopefully, OOo will become better in the future (I've run some of the 2.0 previews and wasn't that happy). Maybe AbiWord and OOo will start to converge toward each other like mySQL and PostgreSQL. But until OOo cleans itself up a lot, there isn't going to be the interest needed to bring it to the Macintosh because of how Mac users like their applications to work.
  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Monday January 17, 2005 @01:16AM (#11383296)
    I use OOo with Apple's X11 and right off the bat I have to confirm what other people have said here: It works (except that you don't get italics on some fonts), but it is slow, poorly integrated and looks like crap once you are used to Aqua. You don't notice this that much with KDE/Linux or Win XP (the other two systems in our house) because their icon sets are cruder than Aqua anyway, but it is really glaring with OS X.

    But it works, and since we got so fed up with different file formats at home and switched everything to the free OpenOffice XML (OASIS) format, this is what counts here. Those of you who think OpenOffice XML is some isolated open source thing should keep in mind that the European Union (400 million people and counting) is probably going to make OASIS an ISO standard (Sun is pushing this like mad), and that open source projects of all kinds are converging on it as a common standard: Koffice is the biggy next to The standard is here to stay. If you want to play the game, sooner or later you either have to have a monopoly or support it.

    Which brings us to the reason why this new announcement is more of a problem for Apple than for the average Slashdot user: The OS X platform does not offer a free full-fledged office suite. AppleWorks is a joke, basically one of those toy apps left over from when they had that toy operating system OS 9, and iWorks is neither a full suite nor does it support OASIS. And there is no way I am going to pay for Microsoft Office, since it does little more than OpenOffice for some ridiculous price. I mean, when it comes down to it we're talking about the choice between buying an iPod or buying Microsoft Office. Duh!

    I've said this before and I'll say it again: Apple should do a Safari (Darwin, Cups, GCC...) here and admit that they can't produce a first rate office suite by themselves. Keep Keynote if you must, but get the rest of the people wasting their time with iWorks behind an Aqua OpenOffice port. This would rid Apple of the last area where they are dependent on Microsoft, and give them the office capabilities the Mac currently lacks.

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday January 17, 2005 @11:25AM (#11385943)

      Apple should do a Safari (Darwin, Cups, GCC...) here and admit that they can't produce a first rate office suite by themselves.

      I strongly disagree. For quite some time I hoped that Apple would pick up the Mozilla source and run with it. Instead they picked up the Konquerer source and ran with it. It was probably a good engineering decision on their part and it resulted in corporate sponsorship for a second open source rendering engine. This helps open standards and keeps web developers from writing gecko specific code to go with their IE specific code.

      I've used open office, and a huge number of other word processors, and layout programs. There is huge room for improvement over either OpenOffice or Word. I'd like to see some of the best features of Word, OpenOffice, Indesign, and Framemaker all put together with some top notch usability. I don't think Pages will be there in it's first iteration, and maybe never. But from what I have seeing it may be a better, and more flexible base than OpenOffice would have been. That is not to say that I don't think support for open formats is not important. They have a good start on compatibility but seem to be lacking support for OpenOffice, Latex, PNG, SVG, and a few others. Also, I hope their native format is XML based, like Keynote. Ideally, they will have a plug-in format so any developers can easily incorporate import/export filters to a given format.

      Basically what I am saying is that while I appreciate OpenOffice, I'd much rather see a system designed right from the ground up, rather than another Word clone, regardless of the quality.

Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?