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OpenOffice.org for Mac OS X Alpha Released! 251

Posted by Zonk
from the copy-and-paste-how-do-you-break-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Nearly 6 years after announcing a Mac port, OpenOffice.org has released the first release of OpenOffice.org for Mac OS X that can finally run without X11!! An alpha is available for download today, but a lot of help is still needed to make OpenOffice.org available for Mac OS X. The site is very blunt: 'WARNING: THIS SOFTWARE MAY CRASH AND MAY DESTROY YOUR DATA DO NOT USE THIS SOFTWARE FOR REAL WORK IN A PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT. This is an alpha test version so that developers and users can find out what works and not, and make comments on how to improve it.' Currently missing functionality includes printing, pdf export, copy/pasting, and multiple monitors. That said, if you're interested in participating you can visit the Mac team to figure out how you can help today."
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OpenOffice.org for Mac OS X Alpha Released!

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  • by tsa (15680) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:46AM (#19394873) Homepage
    That is good news. Although the 'normal' version works like a dream on the Mac, having it work without X11 is a bit handier. I wish I could run it on one of those new MacBook Pro's that came out just 2 minutes ago...
    • Re:Good news (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kosmosik (654958) <kos@kELIOTosmosik.net minus poet> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:50AM (#19394923) Homepage
      > Although the 'normal' version works like a dream on the Mac,
      > having it work without X11 is a bit handier.

      Well maybe OOo/Mac/X11 itself works well. The problem is that Apple X11 implementation is crap. You actually need to do stuff from like early 90s Linux to make it work with non-US keyboard layout and this is pain. It can be done via some hacking (like editing cryptic text files and so on) but it disqualifies X11 apps on OSX to rest of the world (apart from geeks).

      So native version of OOo is always welcomed. Also I would love to see better X11 from Apple.
      • by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:55AM (#19395685)
        So native version of OOo is always welcomed. Also I would love to see better X11 from Apple.

        Your words are a law written in stone for me, milord! [rushes to improve X11]

        Regards, Apple
      • Re:Good news (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LKM (227954) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:33AM (#19396265) Homepage

        The problem is that Apple X11 implementation is crap (...) it disqualifies X11 apps on OSX to rest of the world (apart from geeks).

        And this is precisely what Apple wants. X11 on the Mac is for Geeks, not for "regular" users. The existing issues with X11 are intentional.

        • Re:Good news (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kosmosik (654958) <kos@kELIOTosmosik.net minus poet> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:02AM (#19396839) Homepage
          > And this is precisely what Apple wants. X11 on the Mac is for Geeks, not for "regular" users.

          Yeah so maybe just throw out some source code of X11 that barely compiles and you need to fix it yourself. No binary release - then it would be even geekier. :)

          > The existing issues with X11 are intentional.

          Yeah. :) That is what I love Mac fanatics - if something is broken in OSX it must be intentional. LoL.
          • by LKM (227954) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:10PM (#19398135) Homepage

            > And this is precisely what Apple wants. X11 on the Mac is for Geeks, not for "regular" users.
            Yeah so maybe just throw out some source code of X11 that barely compiles and you need to fix it yourself. No binary release - then it would be even geekier. :)

            Not sure what you're trying to say here.

            > The existing issues with X11 are intentional.
            Yeah. :) That is what I love Mac fanatics - if something is broken in OSX it must be intentional. LoL.

            Labelling people "mac fanatics" because you don't understand their reasoning is pretty cheap. In your defense, I admit that I was unclear in my original post. Let me explain what I meant.

            Apple depends on Mac OS X having applications which do not exist on other operating systems. It's a competitive advantage. Remember NeXT? They had a nice cross-platform development library which allowed NeXT apps to run on Windows. Initially, Apple planned to keep this in OS X. It was called "yellow box" ("blue box" was for old Mac apps).

            Interestingly, the idea didn't survive. Eventually, Cocoa became Mac only. Why? Because Apple wants Mac-only applications.

            Another example is Java. Making Java apps look good on a Mac is hard. Apple wants to discourage Mac developers from using Java to create cross-platform apps. They would rather keep apps Mac only.

            And this brings us to X11. X11 is awesome if you want to run all kinds of apps on the Mac, but these apps don't behave like Mac apps. Why? Because if they did, it would be trivial to write Mac apps using X11 and then port them to other operating systems. Apple would rather keep these apps on the Mac, thus they are discouraging the use of X11 for Mac apps.

            Do you now understand the reasoning, or are you still LOLing at me?

            • >>> And this is precisely what Apple wants. X11 on the Mac is
              >>> for Geeks, not for "regular" users.

              >> Yeah so maybe just throw out some source code of X11
              >> that barely compiles and you need to fix it yourself.
              >> No binary release - then it would be even geekier. :)

              > Not sure what you're trying to say here.

              I mean wouldn't it be more "for geeks than regular use" to must compile your own X11? :) Following your argumentation that X11 in OSX is broken since it is for geeks so it should be hard to use decently (?).

              >>> The existing issues with X11 are intentional.

              >> Yeah. :) That is what I love Mac fanatics - if
              >> something is broken in OSX it must be intentional. LoL.

              > Labelling people "mac fanatics" because you don't understand their

              I understand what you stated. I state that X11 in OSX is crap because it is *broken*. You sugest that it is OK that it is broken since it is for geeks which is mac fanatism of your side

              (Cut some unrelated crap)

              > X11 is awesome if you want to run all kinds of apps on
              > the Mac, but these apps don't behave like Mac apps.

              I don't want it to behave like Aqua - I wan't like basic functionality like keyboard working duh. Your inflated theories do not change anything here. X11 in OSX is old nearly unusable. This is why OOo needs to be ported to Aqua.

              > (by breaking X11) thus they are discouraging the use
              > of X11 for Mac apps.

              How microsoftish of them. Maybe if they discourage the use they shouldn't bundle X11 with OSX in the first place?
              • by LKM (227954) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:06PM (#19399285) Homepage

                I mean wouldn't it be more "for geeks than regular use" to must compile your own X11? :) Following your argumentation that X11 in OSX is broken since it is for geeks so it should be hard to use decently (?).

                I don't think you need to compile your own apps to qualify for geekdom, but point taken.

                You sugest that it is OK that it is broken since it is for geeks which is mac fanatism of your side

                No, I did not say it was OK that it was broken. I said that it was intentional.

                Your inflated theories do not change anything here. X11 in OSX is old nearly unusable. This is why OOo needs to be ported to Aqua.

                Thanks, you just gave me a perfect example validating my "inflated theories." What you're saying is: would X11 be more functional, Mac OS X would not get an Aqua port of OOo.

                Thus, it makes sense for Apple to keep X11 broken.

                How microsoftish of them. Maybe if they discourage the use they shouldn't bundle X11 with OSX in the first place?

                It's not installed by default, as far as I remember.

      • by itsdapead (734413) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:48AM (#19396535)

        You actually need to do stuff from like early 90s Linux to make it work with non-US keyboard layout and this is pain.

        Yeah, but Apple don't really do non-US keyboards, do they? They just replace the # key with the local currency symbol (presumably because USAians call it the "pound" sign). What? You still need to type a # sometimes? This is a minor pain when using Parallels/Bootcamp especially if you do something really deviant like plugging in an actual, non-Apple non-US keyboard.

        • by kosmosik (654958) <kos@kELIOTosmosik.net minus poet> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:08AM (#19396923) Homepage
          I've mean keyboard layout so you can input national characters like etc.

          X11 on OSX generally works. But try f.e. typing something with above characters. You need to edit some config files add some layout definition files etc. etc. - in Linux f.e. it works out of the box.
        • by Random832 (694525) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:25AM (#19397159)
          Apple does have national keyboard layouts - they just occasionally are different from the PC national keyboard layouts. As it happens, the apple UK keyboard layout simply replaces the currency symbol (well, on physical keyboards, the names of keys like "page up", "home", etc, aren't written out either, but the £ sign is the only layout difference) but here [eintr.net] you can see pictures of a canadian french apple keyboard.

          Geez, that's like saying apple doesn't "do" US keyboards because there's no num lock key. Their non-US layouts are different, not nonexistent
      • by diamondsw (685967) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:57AM (#19396705)
        X11 on the Mac is X11 with all of its warts, all the way down to startx and xorg.conf. What makes it so skanky and wretched on OS X is that it's not the native windowing system, and it shows, painfully so. Nothing integrates seamlessly; everything is a hack. Think of the worst of original Java programs, and that's about what it feels like.

        This has little to nothing to do with "Apple's implementation", which was a lot better than the original XDarwin X11 port.
    • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:35AM (#19397391)

      Although the 'normal' version works like a dream on the Mac
      Maybe you like your spreadsheets to always open maximized, but I don't. I've never been able to get the X11 Mac version to remember the size and position of spreadsheet document's window and restore it properly on open. I always have to unmaximize to get the resize widget to appear, then drag it to my desired size (yes, the unmaximized window size is also the same size as the display). Hardware is a G4 Cube, software is the latest version (the previous version was crashing attempting to copy a sheet of a spreadsheet to a new sheet).

      And the slow redraws if you dare try to move to another cell while the spreadsheet is redrawing its recalculation are very annoying. It's like just moving to another cell causes the recalculation to abort and start over again.
  • by Chris_Jefferson (581445) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:49AM (#19394905) Homepage
    While this is cool, make sure you really read that warning message. This is real alpha. You won't be able to print. You won't be able to cut+paste reliably. As this alpha has been approaching, I had a crash while saving, leaving me with a half-corrupted useless copy of my document.

    So have a look, and help submit bug reports, but please don't try using this is your normal editor, or get annoyed it isn't in a full usable state yet, that's why it is called alpha :)
    • You won't be able to print. You won't be able to cut+paste reliably.

      Finally! An office suite on OS X that works just like OpenOffice does on Linux! ;-)

  • by cyman777 (631050) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:50AM (#19394917)
    OK, so I will start the obvious thread:

    What are the differences to Neooffice?
    Are they working together?

    Besides the slow startup I feel Neooffice already has taken that niche, hasn't it?
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:02AM (#19395063) Homepage Journal

      This is a genuine native port, NeoOffice uses a Java intermediate layer to present the UI to Mac OS X.

      As I understand it, they're not working with the NeoOffice people, there's always been a little friction between the groups.

      In time, this project is likely to overtake NeoOffice, simply because changes to OpenOffice.org will always be faster than those in NeoOffice, which is in a continual state of catch-up.

      • by Speare (84249) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:19AM (#19395227) Homepage Journal

        In time, this project is likely to overtake NeoOffice, simply because changes to OpenOffice.org will always be faster than those in NeoOffice, which is in a continual state of catch-up.

        Not trying to troll here, and maybe you don't even ascribe to the mindset you imply with the above line, but how can you "overtake" a project that's "in a continual state of catch-up"? I'd have to say, Java or no Java, NeoOffice has held the top of the hill for a while now. It may fall behind now (or it may not), but to deny it was out front to this point is just Washington-level spin.

        The OOo attitude sounds a lot like those commercials where they claim to be the first, but only by qualifying it with circular trademark references. "PolyCleen(tm) is the first toothpaste with Britenol(tm)." Uh, yeah, because nobody else would include that trademark, even if it's really just baking soda and peroxide.

        • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:28AM (#19395321) Homepage Journal

          Not trying to troll here, and maybe you don't even ascribe to the mindset you imply with the above line, but how can you "overtake" a project that's "in a continual state of catch-up"?

          When you start off behind in some areas, but not in others, and in the "others" you can only ever be ahead of the rest. OpenOffice.org's Mac port is at an early stage at the moment, so it implements all of the latest version of OpenOffice.org (by definition) but not all of the Mac native subsystem. NeoOffice includes a complete Mac native subsystem, but not all of the features of the latest version of OpenOffice.org. As time goes by, because making OpenOffice.org native is a discrete, completable, task, OpenOffice.org will catch up with the part of NeoOffice it currently lags behind, but NeoOffice cannot catch up with OpenOffice.org (unless OpenOffice.org ceases to update.)

          Does that make sense to you?

        • by x_MeRLiN_x (935994) * on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:34AM (#19395403) Homepage
          You misunderstood what the GP was saying. He acknowledges NeoOffice is currently more popular than OpenOffice.org for Mac but NeoOffice is always playing catch-up due to the fact it is a port of OpenOffice.org and they have to wait for changes to the original before converting them over.
    • by jj13 (974374) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:15AM (#19395165)

      The main difference is that neooffice apparently runs through java on the mac, which is why it takes forever to load and can be very slow on occasion. neooffice is at best a substitute, until a native version is released (which is what is being announced today).

      Let me point out something I noticed on the site. I'm a budding mac developer, and in reading the dev FAQ I saw that openoffice is being ported using the Carbon API. This is the old API that apple introduced for developers to more easily port their old OS 9 apps to the "new and shiny" OS X, back when it was actually new and shiny in 2001. Carbon does NOT allow you to take full advantage of OS X features, and it's use is frowned upon for new projects by apple and the dev community.

      I'm guessing most of openoffice is written in C++ (never actually looked at the source yet), and Carbon is based in C++ so I'm also guessing they didn't want to rewrite everything in objective-c in order to use Cocoa (the "new" API that is like....7 years old now?). In any case, I'm disappointed that the team isn't going for a more thorough port that will let openoffice shine against the competition. Maybe I should put my keyboard where my mouth is and learn the intricacies of mac porting, hehehe.

      • by AttilaSz (707951) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:32AM (#19395383) Homepage Journal
        You're wrong. "Carbon" is the collective name for all native Mac OS X APIs, see http://developer.apple.com/carbon/ [apple.com]. Quartz, Core Data, Code Audio, etc. are all parts of the umbrella technology set called "Carbon". "Cocoa" OTOH is a handy Objective-C object-oriented abstraction layer atop of that, which is supposed to make development of applications easier. In Windows terms, Cocoa is to Carbon as MFC was to Win32 - an OO encapsulation of the API with convenience goodies. But you can program directly for Carbon if you wish, in the end you have the same capabilities available to your code, it just usually takes less time and lines of code to use Cocoa than Carbon directly. Therefore, it is a perfect solution for you app that you build from scratch. If you're however porting an existing app and it's not trivial to sneak in Objective-C into it, you'd probably go the Carbon route. Nothing to frown upon :-) The misunderstanding comes from Apple's advertized "carbonization" of OS 9 apps ("you need to use Carbon to have your apps run on Mac OS X"). What it really meant was - replace QuickDraw calls with Quartz calls in your source code etc. Carbon is *THE* Mac OS X API, not some transitional support layer for OS 9 migration.
        • by larkost (79011) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:57AM (#19395723)
          You have this almost right...

          Many of the sub-systems, especially in things like drawing and sound, often have the more robust API written in Carbon, and then some of the Cocoa API's call those APIs while running. But generalizing like you do that Cocoa is built on Carbon is a mistake, there are many sections of Cocoa that have no Carbon at all underneath them.

          A better concept of the major MacOS X API's are that at the root of things you have a layer called CoreFoundation that is written in C. This sits next to the APIs taken from FreeBSD (and the latter dangles down into the Kernel space as well). The primitives from Carbon are often found here, but that is not to say that these belong to Carbon. The primitives found in Cocoa are all built around these, and are often interchangeable with them in some regards.

          On top of this you have the "Foundation" layer. This one is mostly written in C or a sub-set of C++ (basically the stuff that does not conflict with Obj-C). Many of the "core" services at the heart of the OS are built here, and at the top of this things start to blur with the bottom of the Carbon layer. Services such as Quartz (but not QuickDraw... which sort-of sits on top of Quartz... but that is messy) sit on this layer.

          On top of this layer comes Carbon and Cocoa proper. There is quite a bit of messiness with the two of them calling back and forth, and there are some areas (like Quicktime) that have been very slow to get full implementations in "pure" Cocoa. And a lot more that have had real speed penalties for calling from Cocoa.

          Carbon's roots go a little deeper (but less so every new version of MacOS X), but Cocoa and Carbon are philosophically on the same level.
        • by theAtomicFireball (532233) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:02AM (#19395799)

          You're wrong. "Carbon" is the collective name for all native Mac OS X APIs, see http://developer.apple.com/carbon/ [apple.com]. Quartz, Core Data, Code Audio, etc. are all parts of the umbrella technology set called "Carbon".
          No, no. Actually, you're wrong. Your statement is patently not true. Try this: http://developer.apple.com/macosx/architecture/ind ex.html [apple.com] Cocoa and Carbon are both application frameworks that sit on top of the core foundation, which includes Quartz, Core Data, Core Audio, and Core Video. It's a combination of the old Core Foundation classes from NextSTEP and some ports and rewrites of libraries from the classic mac (e.g. Quicktime), plus a smattering of new OS-X native technologies (e.g. Quartz, Core Video, Core Image). Cocoa is the application building toolset from NextSTEP. Carbon is a re-implementation of the application building toolset that was used under the classic Mac OS. Both are "native", in that neither runs under emulation or using an interpreter, but they are fundamentally different approaches. Both have advantages over the other, although by and large, the consensus is that Cocoa is a much better choice for projects being started from scratch. Cocoa, however, is written in Objective-C, which is a language without as much cross-platform support as C and C++, so projects that came from the classic mac, or those that have been around for some time, can sometimes get running faster using Carbon because they don't have to re-write as much of their legacy C++ code. One commonly misunderstood thing, however, is that these frameworks are not mutually exclusive. Almost all Cocoa applications call Carbon functions; some of the newer Cocoa classes are actually wrappers around Carbon functions. It's much more complicated, but it is actully possible to use Objective-C objects from Carbon, and the CF classes that many Cocoa objects wrap around can always be used from C, just without the benefits of dynamic messaging and weak typing.
        • by diamondsw (685967) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:51AM (#19396597)
          Why is there no moderation "-1 Flat Out Wrong" ?

          From the horse's mouth. [apple.com]

          Carbon is NOT a fundamental API of Mac OS X. It sits side-by-side with Cocoa, and while it DID start out life as a transitional API from classic Mac OS, it is a peer API of Cocoa. In particular, if you can't deal with Objective-C, you'll likely be using Carbon as it's procedural and accessible from C/C++. Both Carbon and Cocoa are built atop the various "Core" API's. Remember that Mac OS X is a very direct descendent of NeXT, and as late as Rhapsody DR2, there was no such thing as Carbon.
        • by jafac (1449) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:29AM (#19397241) Homepage
          Carbon looks like a safe bet today.

          But given Apple's history of deprecating old stuff at every generational change (recent example: Classic is gone since the x86 migration) - if I were developing a new Mac application today, I'd either use a web-services-based approach (like Ruby on Rails, etc.) or I'd use the pure Objective-C/Cocoa, and I'd stay the hell away from Carbon. Because you know damn well, that Carbon is the next thing to go away.

          Apple's got some great support for things like Perl, and Python, and PHP, RoR, and especially Java. So it's not like Apple is developer-hostile. I wouldn't say that at all. But after 10+ years using and developing on Macs, you learn to tell which way the wind is blowing.
      • by MurrayTodd (92102) * on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:36AM (#19395423) Homepage
        Your description of the Carbon API is partially accurate but in many ways wrong. Carbon WAS created as the migration path for old OS 9 apps (which it did brilliantly) but as the only C++ programming option, it is the de facto standard for anyone who is developing and maintaining ANY cross-platform app, whether it be a Windows/Mac app or Linux/Mac (as is OpenOffice). Adobe uses Carbon for its CS3 suite. Microsoft uses Carbon for Office. Game developers (EA) use Carbon.

        And Carbon is updated on a regular basis to reflect new OS features. True, cool APIs like "Core Data" and (I think) Core Animation are Cocoa-only, but some of the newer libraries and technologies coming in Leopard have Carbon interfaces as well. Myself, I would use Cocoa when writing an app but I'd be writing Mac-only applications. If I did want to develop something that was cross-platform, I would probably use Carbon as well.
        • by spud603 (832173) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:49AM (#19395613)
          Adobe uses Carbon for its CS3 suite. Microsoft uses Carbon for Office. Game developers (EA) use Carbon
          And apple uses Carbon for Finder [wikipedia.org], a fact that annoys the hell out of me on a daily basis.
          Two things off the top of my head that are implemented in Cocoa apps but not Carbon apps: emacs-style text navigation (ctrl-F,ctrl-B, etc) and on-the-fly word definitions (ctrl-cmd-D while cursor is over a word). There are other differences, too, but I only notice them when they don't work in Finder or in Camino (or Photoshop!).
          That said, it's a hell of a lot more integrated than Java!
      • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:51AM (#19395633) Homepage Journal
        Not really. Mac Swing was different from other implementations of swing in that it was done in a more "native" way and in c or c++. I doubt any speed issues that NeoOffice felt had much to do with it using the Swing interface. Frankly Swing on the Mac was Java done right IMHO. From what I have heard and I may be wrong Apple isn't putting a lot of effort into Java on the Mac anymore. Which is really too bad.
        BTW Carbon and Cocoa are both the "New Api" for OS/X Carbon is the c++ verson and Cocoa is the Objective C version. While I use C++ I have to say that I don't love C++. I have not learned Objective C because currently the only system that really supports it well is OS/X. Bindings for GTK and QT are not mainstream or even exist. Part of the problem is that there isn't a single compiler that does C++ and Objective C so QT bindings are very difficult. GTK would be easier since it is written in c but it is still no walk in the park.
        You are kind of correct. If you are going to write code that ONLY runs on a Mac then yes Cocoa is the way to go. If you are going to make it work across multiable platforms or if you are going to leverage existing libraries then you will probably write it in C++ and Carbon. I could be wrong but I think Safari is written in C++ and Carbon.
      • by jj13 (974374) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:00AM (#19395761)
        Getting a LITTLE off topic, but thanks to both of the posts clarifying the relationship of Carbon and Cocoa! As I said, I'm the new guy! But a little more quick research finds that a significant enough part of the community has a hard time with the differences as well. A few informative bits here:

        http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/mac/2001/05/23/coc oa_vs_carbon.html [oreillynet.com]
        http://blogs.msdn.com/rick_schaut/archive/2004/02/ 10/70789.aspx [msdn.com]
        http://daringfireball.net/2006/10/some_assembly_re quired [daringfireball.net]
        http://wilshipley.com/blog/2006/10/pimp-my-code-pa rt-12-frozen-in.html [wilshipley.com]

        I have much to learn!
      • by LKM (227954) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:38AM (#19396357) Homepage
        This was probably not your intention, but your post comes off as a bit of a flamebait. Carbon is here to stay, and large parts of Cocoa rely on it. Carbon does allow you to take full advantage of OS X, and in fact, you can even mix Cocoa and Carbon. Nobody (maybe except NeXT fanboys) frowns upon using Carbon.
      • Another small point about Carbon, to add to the discussion--Carbon is partially based on the old API they were developing for Copland, the modern Mac OS they were trying to develop before Mac OS X came along.
    • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:52AM (#19395649) Journal
      There are other differences that I'm sure others will point out, but for now, NeoOffice works and is reasonably stable, although dog-slow -- but what do you expect from OpenOffice?

      The native OpenOffice port, from what they are telling me, is very much alpha quality right now.
    • by itsdapead (734413) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:55AM (#19395687)

      When I first tried it, on a Mac Mini G4, NeoOffice was a bit of a dog.

      However, on a decently powerful machine (e.g. Mac Pro) NeoOffice is eminently usable - haven't done any timings (pointless unless you reboot between each test), but I'd say it feels faster than the "release" Mac Oo running under Apple X11. Main issue is that Neo tends to be a point release or two behind Oo so you get a slightly different bugset - and the Neo people are disinclined to waste valuable porting time patching known bugs in the Oo codebase (very sensible, but still annoying if you are being bugged by one of them).

      • by porcupine8 (816071) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:01AM (#19395783) Journal
        I'll agree with that. On my work machine (an Intel iMac less than a year old) NeoOffice is actually usable, and no slower than Word.

        On my 5-year-old eMac, though, it is positively painful. I hate using it, but Appleworks just doesn't have enough functionality for anything I can't do in TextEdit anyway. I'd put off installing it on my work machine because of its performance at home, but when I finally did (b/c my installation of Office has some strange problems and I can't get the IT guys to reinstall it) I was pleasantly surprised.

  • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:50AM (#19394927) Homepage
    My wife had to switch to **brrrr** Microsoft Office on her powerbook because OO.org on the Mac just didn't work for her, being unstable and what have you.
    • Re:Good stuff! (Score:2, Redundant)

      by charlie (1328) <charlie@antipop[ ]rg ['e.o' in gap]> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:10AM (#19395133) Homepage Journal
      If you need stability, Neooffice [neooffice.org] is pretty solid. (It's based on the OOo codebase but using OS/X's Java to provide the UI; it's nicer than the X11 version on OS/X, but relatively slow on pre-intel kit. I've written -- and sold -- a couple of novels using NeoOffice, although I'm currently Switching to Linux (again) ...)
    • by DoctorPepper (92269) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:22AM (#19395239)
      My wife uses NeoOffice on her MacBook Pro, and I use it on my old 800 MHz iMac (the little I use the iMac anyway). It is an acceptable alternative to MS Office for the Mac, but not as good IMHO as the native version of OOo I run on my Linux and Windows computers.

      I will download and play around with the native port of OOo on my iMac, but I'll leave the wife using NeoOffice until OOo gets out of Alpha status.
    • by nanosquid (1074949) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:18PM (#19398331)
      My wife had to switch to **brrrr** Microsoft Office on her powerbook because OO.org on the Mac just didn't work for her, being unstable and what have you.

      NeoOffice works like a charm; I use it for all my presentations, spreadsheet, and word processing on Macintosh and Linux. It also reads and writes MS Office files without problems.
  • Neo Office (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:51AM (#19394935)
    http://www.neooffice.org/ [neooffice.org]

    A port of OpenOffice to Mac OS X that uses Java as a compatibility layer.

    It _is_ production ready (I use it every day).
    Why the OpenOffice people are hostile to this project is something I've stopped
    wondering about... today's announcement of the "first" port of OOO to Mac not
    using X11 just shows how badly a project hurts itself when it refuses to work
    with others
    • Re:Neo Office (Score:2, Interesting)

      by GauteL (29207) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:41AM (#19395493)
      "Why the OpenOffice people are hostile to this project is something I've stopped
      wondering about... today's announcement of the "first" port of OOO to Mac not
      using X11 just shows how badly a project hurts itself when it refuses to work
      with others "

      Licensing. NeoOffice code can not be reused in OpenOffice.org due to their relicensing to GPL from the original LGPL. This is done on purpose from NeoOffice, and the relationship between OpenOffice.org and NeoOffice is that of host and parasite, rather than a symbiotic one.
      • Re:Neo Office (Score:5, Informative)

        by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:29AM (#19396201) Homepage Journal

        Licensing. NeoOffice code can not be reused in OpenOffice.org due to their relicensing to GPL from the original LGPL.

        This is incorrect. The problem isn't GPL vs LGPL, the problem is that Sun requires the copyright for all significant contributions to OpenOffice.org to be assigned to Sun, so they can sell StarOffice as proprietary code. The NeoOffice developers don't want their code sold as proprietary, and don't want to assign their copyrights to Sun.

      • Re:Neo Office (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 808140 (808140) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:49AM (#19396551)

        That seems distinctly unfair. Don't the BSD and LGPL people always say that they don't care if people "take their code proprietary" as it were, and that "the code is still there even if someone else improves it and doesn't share back?" Why, just yesterday there were hundreds of comments to that effect on the GPL2 vs GPL3 story!

        It's funny though, because it seems that for all their rhetoric about how using BSD and similarly "non-viral" free software licenses is somehow "more free", BSD/LGPL people generally aren't happy at all when people relicense their code. BSD people hate it when their code gets relicensed, ironically especially when that license is the GPL (for some reason, having their code co-opted by Microsoft or Sun bothers them less -- how does that work?) The LGPL is just like BSD, except that it is exclusively GPL-compatible by design. If it bothers you that someone is releasing mods to your LGPL-licensed program under the GPL, why on earth are you even using the LGPL?

        Host and parasite -- god, I love it. Talk about double-speak! It reminds me of this great exchange between an interviewer and Theo de Raadt (whom I have the utmost respect for, as it happens, but this attitude is typical of BSD types):

        NF: Lots of hardware vendors use OpenSSH. Have you got anything back from them?

        TdR: If I add up everything we have ever gotten in exchange for our efforts with OpenSSH, it might amount to $1,000. This all came from individuals. For our work on OpenSSH, companies using OpenSSH have never given us a cent. What about companies that incorporate OpenSSH directly into their products, saving themselves millions of dollars? Companies such as Cisco, Sun, SGI, HP, IBM, Siemens, a raft of medium-sized firewall companies -- we have not received a cent. Or from Linux vendors? Not a cent.

        Of course we did not set out to create OpenSSH for the money -- we purposely made it completely free so that the "telnet infrastructure" of the 1980s would die. But it sure is sad that none of these companies return even a fraction of value in kind.

        If you want to judge any entity particularly harshly, judge Sun. Yearly they hold interoperability events, for NFS and other protocols, and they include SSH implementation tests as well. Twice we asked them to cover the travel and accommodation costs for a developer to come to their event, and they refused. Considering that their SunSSH is directly based on our code, that is just flat out insulting. Shame on you Sun, shame, shame, shame.

        I will say it here -- if an OpenSSH hole is found that applies to SunSSH, Sun will not be informed. Or maybe that has happened already.

        That's from this interview with Theo at NewsForge [newsforge.com] if you want to read the whole thing. But basically, there's this tremendously hypocritical attitude among the most ardent supporters of licenses that are presumably "freer than the GPL". I see nothing wrong with the classic BSD/PD stance: "We don't care what you do with it, no matter what we still have the original copy". I think that's a noble way to look at things. It just seems that in practice, that's almost never how it is. Someone turns around and creates something useful from your code and relicenses it in a way that prevents you from benefiting, and suddenly they're evil, even though that's supposedly a right that you expressly wanted to guarantee to them in the first place!

        • by vorpal22 (114901) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:09AM (#19396935) Homepage Journal
          Just because it is a right doesn't mean that it should be exercised. It's my right on the streetcar in the morning to stay seated and leave a poor, elderly lady who can barely stand up seatless, but it certainly isn't particularly courteous to do so; I don't see how expecting basic courtesy, whether socially or in business interactions, is a bad thing.
          • by 808140 (808140) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:49AM (#19397685)
            That's certainly true, but in the real world, it's never as simple as that. To extend your analogy somewhat: suppose that you were sitting on the bus and noticed a poor, elderly lady who can barely stand up without a seat. It occurs to you that the right thing to do would be to get up and give her your seat. The problem is, right next to you a large, tattooed gentleman who benches 400 is eagerly waiting for you to give up your seat. Unlike you, he has no sense of decency and will not hesitate to push the old lady out of the way to take your seat as you leave it. Do you still stand, knowing that the old lady will not get the seat in any case?

            See, companies compete with each other by their very nature. If a selfless BSD developer makes a useful piece of software, and company A decided to use it in their own product, they are faced with a choice: release the improvements they made back to the BSD developers, thus allowing their competitors to benefit from their hard work without any guarantee that their competitors will likewise make their changes available, or keep their improvements proprietary?

            It's not that the company doesn't want to give back to the community, it's that they don't want to benefit their competitors unless they know with certainty that their competitors will return the favor. Unless everyone is an altruist -- and when there's strong financial incentive to not be altruistic, the likelihood of that is slim -- the "trust people to do the right thing" attitude is not going to get you very far, because it's not simply a question of doing the right thing, it's also a question of whether or not doing the right thing will hurt you (by giving your competitors an advantage).

            In case my original post didn't emphasize it enough, I see nothing wrong with the BSD license, and I think that if you're truly not bothered by people using your code and not giving back, then it may be the license for you. My point (and it stands) is that most people are not "truly not bothered" by such behavior. For companies, releasing code under the BSD license is a gift not just to the community, but to their competitors. Even if they were happy to give code back to free software developers, they'd be stupid to give code to their competitors, who more likely than not never do the same.
        • Re:Neo Office (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FST777 (913657) <frans-jan AT van-steenbeek DOT net> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:25AM (#19397145) Homepage
          When someone takes BSD-licensed code like OpenSSH and releases it proprietary, they may do so. No harm done, "we" still have the original. It is a sign of bad morals when they don't do something back though, and that may be said. Which is exactly what Theo did.

          Furthermore, when there is a bug in the original code, it is certainly not up to the devs of that code to inform all the deriatives. That would be funny: someone takes your hard work, does nothing in return and people still expect that you take responsibility for that.

          BSD is like: here you are, do what you want, as long as you give credit. It would, however, be extremely nice when there is something done in return, for example financial support. This would create a certain symbiose: Sun makes SunSSH, and gives credit and finances to OpenSSH, so that OpenSSH can continue to improve while SunSSH can use those improvements.

          What Theo said was this: sure they can use it, but I find it sad that they won't return any favor. He is completely right with that statement.

          If OpenSSH was released under the GPL or even the LGPL, either telnet would still be the #1 app for remote control or a myriad of proprietary protocols would exist for that.
        • Re:Neo Office (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nanosquid (1074949) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:35PM (#19398627)
          Don't the BSD and LGPL people always say that they don't care if people "take their code proprietary" as it were, and that "the code is still there even if someone else improves it and doesn't share back?"

          I have released under BSD, GPL, and LGPL. When I picked BSD, I did so for practical reasons, like to encourage companies to use the code with less fear. Nevertheless, I strongly prefer for those companies to contribute back. Legally, I have no way to force them, but I'll certainly tell people in no uncertain terms what I think of them if they don't. Likewise, when I pick the BSD, I do so for good reasons, and relicensing the code under the GPL undermines those reasons, which is why I certainly will tell people who do that in no uncertain terms what I think of them.

          In different words...

          The BSD license is a license that relies on people to behave reasonably voluntarily; if they don't, you have every right to complain, even if you can't do anything legally about it.

          The GPL license is a license that tries to force people to behave reasonably through legal obligations; if they don't, you don't just complain, you go to court.

      • by frogstar_robot (926792) <frogstar_robot@yahoo.com> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:50AM (#19396571)
        NeoOffice has submitted patches for problems they've encountered in the OOO codebase (mostly related to file i/o on fileshares). And yes, the patches were offered under Sun's guidelines to be suitable for incorporation to the OOO codebase. OOO has apparently found the source of these bugfixes to be politically incorrect as they still have to fix these whenever they graft their interface on to new OOO releases. IMHO the characterization of the NeoOffice guys as "parasites" is unfair.
    • by bigtrike (904535) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:53AM (#19395667)
      I've only used it once, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to unfreeze panes in their Excel clone. It doesn't seem to be in any of the menues. In addition, the word "freeze" does not even appear in their documentation. I was able to do this very routine task in OpenOffice (via x11) without much trouble.
    • by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:09AM (#19395883)
      Why the OpenOffice people are hostile to this project is something I've stopped wondering about... today's announcement of the "first" port of OOO to Mac not using X11 just shows how badly a project hurts itself when it refuses to work with others

      They're "hostile" because NeoOffice uses an incompatible licence (GPL only, not LGPL) meaning none of the Neo work can be incorporated back into OpenOffice. So if you want to blame someone, blame the NeoOffice folks. They've shut themselves out, not the other way around.

      I think NeoOffice is a decent port, but I've never thought it felt native. Sure some of the widgets look native but the whole thing feels off in some way. Sluggish. If the reason for that is a Java layer then I'd gladly take something that uses native widgets.

      OpenOffice itself is no speed demon but NeoOffice seems even slower.

      • Re:Neo Office (Score:3, Insightful)

        by constantnormal (512494) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:32AM (#19396245)
        Try the current 2.1 version.

        Much faster, although since NeoOffice is code on top of OpenOffice, it's never going to be faster than OpenOffice.

        And the extensive use of Java as a wrapper around OpenOffice was only the original version 1. The current NeoOffice has much more Cocoa than Java. I suspect that's where most of the speed improvements have come from.

        The best thing to hope for is that as OpenOffice itself becomes more OSX-friendly, NeoOffice will be able to leverage their experience in providing OSX-to-OpenOffice integration on top of a better-performing OpenOffice -- unless the approach Sun is taking in making OpenOffice more OSX-friendly is to wrap the C++ core in java, in which case NeoOffice should hang back with the OO 2.0.4 release and blow the doors off the "OSX-friendly" official version of OpenOffice.

        The NeoOffice guys have already travelled that road, and speaking as a user, I wouldn't want to revisit it.
  • Released? (Score:5, Informative)

    by reality-bytes (119275) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:54AM (#19394971) Homepage
    You know, "released" when applied to software commonly means software which is considered (rightly or wrongly) to be 'production' material.

    This however is apparently an 'alpha' which is commonly an early development version, not fit for general consumption and the type of thing you might get from CVS or a daily tarball.

    Some developers use the term 'alpha release' as they assume others will know it's just a packaged up development snapshot, then some muppet takes it and runs to press with it.
  • Warning! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:58AM (#19395025) Homepage Journal

    'WARNING: This software may crash and may destroy your data Do not use this software for real work in a production environment.
    Do not taunt Happy Fun Software.
  • by subreality (157447) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:03AM (#19395073)
    Nearly 10 years after announcing spysat pixels for sale, Slashdot.org has released the first release of Slashdot with unbiased truth that can finally run without slant! An alpha is available for viewing [foxnews.com] today, but a lot of help is still needed to make Slashdot more truthy. The site is very blunt: 'WARNING: THIS SITE MAY CONFUSE THE MEANING OF ALPHA AND RELEASE. DO NOT READ THIS SITE IF YOUR BRAIN IS USED FOR REAL WORK IN A PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT. This is an alpha test version so that Linux fanboys and OSX users can get way too excited and blow things entirely out of proportion, and make comments on how to improve profit.' Currently missing functionality includes critical thinking, peer review, spellcheck, and multiple opinions. That said, if you're interested in participating you can sign up for an account [slashdot.org] to figure out how you can start trolling today.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:03AM (#19395079)
    I wonder whether this Mac version is any better at loading. Versions for Windows and especially Linux get a failing grade on this issue. Sadly, very few folks see this as an important issue.
  • by MMC Monster (602931) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:10AM (#19395135)
    Just wanted to give a thanks to the folks behind neooffice (http://www.neooffice.org/ [neooffice.org]) before all the bashing starts...
  • by matt me (850665) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:17AM (#19395185)
    I'm sure we can count on Slashdot readers to submit reliable bug reports.. Like bugzilla.mozilla doesn't drop requests with slashdot.org as referer.
  • Not Alpha (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:38AM (#19395461) Homepage Journal
    "Alpha" testing is testing by people who participated in the design and/or implementation. Any testing by people not in those teams is, by definition, "Beta" testing.

    Alpha/Beta/Release is not a measure of quality or maturity. It just tells who is testing, and their relationship to the software.
    • Re:Not Alpha (Score:4, Informative)

      by shawnce (146129) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:13AM (#19395967) Homepage
      Actually in many schools of thought those levels have everything to do with quality and completeness.

      Alpha = feature incomplete software with bugs, Beta = feature complete software with bugs, Release = feature complete software with ideally very few bugs.
      • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:06PM (#19398051) Homepage Journal
        Alpha = feature incomplete software with bugs, Beta = feature complete software with bugs, Release = feature complete software with ideally very few bugs.

        Yes, everywhere I've ever created or tested software these were the definitions. 'Release' these days typically means, "feature complete software with as many bugs fixed as we plan to fix."
    • by mbessey (304651) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:46AM (#19397633) Homepage Journal
      Another common definition (we used to use this one in one group I worked in at Apple):
            Alpha: Ready for testing by folks inside the company, but outside the development team
            Beta: Ready for testing by a carefully-selected group of customers outside the company
            Gamma: Ready for release to all customers
            GM or Golden Master: The version actually released to customers (in most cases, this is the same as the Gamma version)
  • Still needs X11 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AttilaSz (707951) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:45AM (#19395559) Homepage Journal
    http://porting.openoffice.org/mac [openoffice.org] page says:

    In order to run the OpenOffice.org you need to have X11 installed.
    Okay, so it allegedly doesn't use X11, but you still need to have it installed? I can see how this is a cheap way of getting around crashes because they forgot to remove some X11 dependency, and it's actually acceptable for alpha software, but it's still really, truly far from elegant...
  • by djupedal (584558) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:58AM (#19395739)
    I know the boys have been busy and all, but can someone at least inform them that Apple dropped the word 'Computer' from their name recently?

    And no, I'm not going to offer to help - I tried that back in 2000, and they couldn't find their collective asses without directions...
  • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:02AM (#19395797) Homepage Journal

    While a native OS X version of OpenOffice.org is a great thing, the title of TFA is a bit misleading. This software hasn't exactly been 'released' in the normal sense of the word. It would have been more accurate to say 'Alpha build of OpenOffice.org for OS X released!' (Yes, technically the exclamation point is not inaccurate, so I left it in.) Being an alpha build it has a number of odd qualities, including but not limited to the following:

    • It can't print
    • It can't export to PDF properly
    • It can't always do that fancy 'copy and paste' thing
    • It will crash when closing

    Again: good, but alpha.

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:18AM (#19397051)
    I don't see why OpenOffice has this warning.
    Microsoft Office has been crashing and losing data for years but some people still use it in a production environment.
  • by constantnormal (512494) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:18AM (#19397063)
    Since both OO and NeoOffice are free, it really makes sense to download each of them and perform your own testing.

    In particular, do they each:

    1) use the standard OS X print and file navigation dialogs?

    2) copy & paste using standard OS X facilities, playing nice with other apps?

    3) use the standard OS X fonts?

    4) provide Spotlight interfaces/plugins so that the documents are indexed by Spotlight?

    5) provide access via the Services menu to things like the OS X system-wide Dictionary, or the Mail app?

    6) support international languages in the standard OS X manner?

    7) support Applescript -- at least via GUI scripting?

    You can add other items to this list, but that's a useful starter set of comparison metrics.
    Additionally, one should compare footprints (memory and disk) and overall responsiveness, in addition to launch times.

    I think that OpenOffice has an incredibly long way to go before they can catch up to NeoOffice. NeoOffice still has room for improvement (as can be seen from the items in the above list that NeoOffice doesn't do -- I'll let you figure out which ones those are yourself), but it's an awesome program.

  • by beadfulthings (975812) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:29AM (#19397239) Journal
    NeoOffice does the same thing only better and more reliably.
  • by Pengo (28814) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:18PM (#19398321) Journal
    It started up faster than NeoOffice, but when I tried to type something.. it wouldn't display what I was typing until after I hit entered a space or hit enter.

    The product crashed when I tried to Exit wanting to give me a crash report. They have a -LONG- way to go.

    Also, the widgets all feel strangely out of place (Like a Mac OSX theme running on top of Gnome).

  • by gig (78408) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @04:32AM (#19408173)
    This is a complete fucking waste of time.

    A word processor?

    You are killing me. A fucking word processor. It is like inviting people to use a back-breaking chair.

    Now that we have more than one output medium, it is important to separate content from style. We also have a "universal" text format which is UTF-8 but we do not have a universal style format. If you munge in your styles with your text you are just setting up a situation where a publishing professional is going to have to rip that text back out of there and if you stored it with a funky old encoding good luck on your smart quotes and em dashes.

    What would be the point of enabling a computer user in 2007 type type text and apply styles and you don't save their work as HTML+CSS? What is the point? It makes no sense to me.

    What is required when you write is to store the actual typing. If you save UTF-8 you can type any character from any language and then later another human can use that UTF-8 text file to instantly "re-type" your work into any publishing system, smart quotes and all. No conversion necessary, no errors introduced. Doesn't matter if they are working in InDesign or Dreamweaver or other, there is simply no defensible argument for not having a single UTF-8 master copy of any kind of writing. You can drop it on a browser to read even 25 years from now, it will be compatible long after you are dead. In the entire history of computing there has not been a word processing format that lasted even 10 years. If you open a Word document from Word 97, that is only 10 years ago, it has to be "converted" (destroyed) when you open it. Good luck with that system here in the 21st century.

    If Microsoft tries to sell ice in the Arctic, will open source follow with open source ice for the Arctic?

    Movable Type is about 10,000 times more exciting than OpenOffice. I mean, c'mon.

    TextWrangler for Mac OS X is free and it has UTF-8, RegEx find/replace that works across any number of files or a whole disk, real-time speller, S/FTP, lots of writing tools, a great find differences, beautiful text rendering, and completely scriptable with AppleScript (macros). Those are the tools that people need to do good writing and create documents that can be used in modern ways, not mail merge and bad fonts.

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