Native Alpha OS X Port of OpenOffice.org is Out!

Good news for OpenOffice.org (OO) fans that presently use Apple OS X.  You can now get a native OS X port.  No, I’m not referring to NeoOffice.

So why do a native Openoffice .org port if there already is one called NeoOffice?  Well … just to start, I’ve always thought that NeoOffice felt different than OO — as in lacking responsiveness; I assume I’m not alone.  On the other hand, NeoOffice is better integrated with OS X; This is not a surprise, considering that they’ve had years to fine tune towards seamless integration. For instance, NeoOffice implements typical Mac keyboard shortcuts.

Personally, I found NeoOffice alpha useful at first … then, too slow and too prone to crashing to be productive.  NeoOffice beta runs “ok” on recent Macs, else you probably need plenty of ram. Creating an extra layer to act as a go-between a “made for X11 application” and Aqua environments takes serious resources, at least in the NeoOffice case, thus, leaving a lot to be desired.

Despite NeoOffice’s head-start, OO alpha for OS X (OOo-Dev_CWSaquavcl01_20070630_MacOSX_Intel_install_en-US.dmg) already feels snappier than NeoOffice beta (2.2.2 Patch 1) in most respects –except saving documents.  In my experience, OO for OS X also deals with .html documents better, whereas NeoOffice easily introduces undesirable “visual corruption” during editing.

I regretfully report –that despite a great initial debut– OpenOffice.org is _not ready_ for the production environment (everyday end-user use), as I realised –when converting a document to .pdf froze my system hard.  Even so, I think OfficeOffice.org for OS X alpha is an above average start and that it will give NeoOffice a desperate run for its money proclaiming, “Either shape-up or get out.”  Lets hope that the unavoidable series of patches (updates) to come do not bog performance, as typically happens to new releases.

As for regular end-users, keep your eye out for beta releases.  Until then, NeoOffice will do.  The only real long-term disadvantage I see for OO OS X is that it requires at least 10.4 OS X to run.  Thus, NeoOffice might hold on to the pre-Tiger (10.4) mind share.  Other than that, I see OO OS X dominating the “default suite for the OS X desktop battle” gearing up between the two OO ports. But how will OO do against the M$ Office Suite on the Mac environment?  Why touch a proprietary program when you have more features than you will ever use or know of in a free of cost and Libre program such as OO?  Of course, the answer probably boils down to big marketing, consumer familiarity, and (mis)trust due to FUD.

Sources
http://www.downloadsquad.com/2007/06/05/native-but-alpha-version-of-openoffice-org-arrives-for-mac-os/
http://porting.openoffice.org/mac/download/aqua.html

Maurice Cepeda

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