Why OS X Needs a Native OpenOffice Port




MacMerc pointed to a status update on the native OSX port of OpenOffice.org:

It’s been over a year and a half since this page was last updated, and as of recent memory, all engineering for OpenOffice.org Mac OS X has been focused on X11 graphics, that is, OpenOffice.org Mac OS X (X11). Without significant contributions of time and talent this will most likely remain the case.

No engineering work has been performed on Quartz or Aqua development within the OpenOffice.org project since mid 2003. For the last year and a half all engineering work focusing on a native Mac OS X OpenOffice.org version has been concentrated in the NeoOffice/J project, using a combination of Java and Carbon technologies to replace X11.

This is a bit of a bummer for Mac OS X users. I can’t tell you how valuable it is to have a clean and solid office suite with good data interchange that runs on Win32, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, and Mac (using X11). The problem with requiring OS X users to have X11 installed is that most don’t. Of course the hardcore geeky OS X users know of Apple’s X11, XonX, and fink. Unfortunately the people that should really see this amazing suite: the non-technical masses, aren’t going to see it en masse until it’s a point and click native install.

I totally understand the arcitectural decision for the mainstream OOo release to rely on X11. It’s solid, it’s standard, it’s tested, and it’s going to be around until the end of time. At the same time, Mac users really need a native, sexy port of their own. I’m hoping that NeoOffice/J, with its GPL license and associated political issues, can fill the void. They’re using Java and some other fancy bits to get around the need for an X server. They also seem to be very early in their release cycle, but I’m hoping that NeoOffice matures quickly and becomes that native free office suite that I know that OS X users need.

Of course right now you’re thinking that with iWork who needs anything else? I guess that’s right as long as you don’t need a spreadsheet or if you don’t have $79 to shell out for iWork, or if you’d rather use an open source product.


One response to “Why OS X Needs a Native OpenOffice Port”

  1. Wye Avatar

    Good job.