Sunday, April 15, 2007

iWorks MIA: OpenOffice and NeoOffice

It's been years since AppleWorks was retired, but there's still no full replacement. Apple's 10.5 delay bodes poorly for anything soon.

Time to look again at NeoOffice and OpenOffice.

NeoOffice is now on version 2.1. It's still Java based, but it has an Aqua UI and doesn't require X11. NeoOffice has been ailing ever since Apple deprecated Java as a development environment, but the small team of international volunteers is still working on it. I'll test it out, being sure to install the most recent patches. It now comes with an app that installs support for Spotlight search of OpenOffice document formats.

OpenOffice 2.2 is still dependent on X11, so it's not a consideration for our home. However, there's a tentative date for a true OS X version: Digg - Timetable Announced For Native Aqua OpenOffice - Public Release in May

OpenOffice has a very well done Wiki on the Aqua (not Cocoa!) project, including minutes from the March 30th meeting. It's encouraging news, suggesting there might be something we'd use ready for late summer. I wouldn't consider replacing Nisus Writer Express, which has been excellent (Nisus Writer Pro is in beta now), but a decent Excel clone and PowerPoint reader would be very helpful. Note that "Aqua" doesn't mean OpenOffice will become a full fledged Cocoa application with services integration, system spell checking, etc. It won't show off the (aging) advantages of OS X as well as NWE or even iWorks.

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