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New OpenOffice for Mac available Sept (next year) September 20, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Announcements, Apps, FOSS, Share/Freeware.
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On the heels of the release of OpenOffice.org 2.3.0 update for most operating systems on the planet this week, the group has announced that they are releasing a new native Mac version of OpenOffice, the FOSS alternative office suite, one that does not require X11 to run, in September – of 2008.

I actually did a double-take when reading the original report from Computerworld, thinking they meant this September we’re in now – which made me wonder about the odd statement; why not just say this month then?

Macworld UK didn’t even notice the year: writer Jonny Evans, citing the exact same original report I linked to, wrote totally a off-the-mark and misleading report that headlined “Mac native OpenOffice this month?” It further says:

Popular and free Microsoft Office alternative OpenOffice seems set to ship in a native Mac OS X version later this month.

A report on Computerworld claims that OpenOffice 3.0 will ship later this month, citing a presentation to be made today by the lead engineer working on the project, Eric Bachard.

If you hurry, you can still read Macworld UK’s big blooper (if they haven’t yet pulled it by now) here. (If they have, I can still show you – I saved the page, heh heh.) They should read more closely, especially if they’re just snagging a report. Macworld should be more careful. If you’re just going to crib (like me), at least get the dates right. Tsk tsk.

Ahem. Back to the story.

Development for the Mac platform has been lackluster and perfunctory of late, but with the increasing popularity and acceptance of Macs and OS X as part of the halo effect of the various Apple “side” projects, apparently the group has re-thought their commitment to the Mac community and redoubled efforts to develop the suite for the platform, and assigned a few more people to the project. But – a year?

Version 3.0 is being designed for OS X 10.5, although by then 10.6 might be the prevailing OS for the Mac.

A year might be too long for most people. Like me. This is one instance where I literally can’t wait. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

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NeoOffice update August 28, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in FOSS, Share/Freeware, Updates & Patches.
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Just a heads-up.

A new version of NeoOffice, the FOSS office suite based on OpenOffice has just been released that incorporates most of the improvements already in OpenOffice.org 2.2.1.

NeoOffice is distinctive in that it is more compliant with the Mac look-and-feel, and doesn’t require X11 to run. NeoOffice 2.2.1 also allows users to print documents in resolutions higher than the previously capped 300dpi, manipulate most Microsoft Office 2007 documents, supports Address Book and takes advantage of the built-in spell checker in Mac OS X.

You can download it here.

End of an era August 16, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Apple Inc., Apps, FOSS, Legacy Software.
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You young whippersnappers who use OpenOffice today (or even Office 2007 if you’re so blessed) never knew the simpler pleasures and wonders of Appleworks, Apple’s original office productivity suite of apps. It had/has a word processor, spreadsheet and database program all rolled into one, and more stuff like painting and drawing apps were added on in later incarnations.

Appleworks used to come with older Macs and other Apple computers (yes, young Virginia, there were Apple computers outside of Macs before – like the Apple II, GS, Lisa and one or two others) as part of the software bundle, or sold separately. At one point it lived life as Clarisworks, but it’s still on some store shelves today.

I did a lot of my early work in the mid-80s on the first versions of Appleworks on my Apple II before moving to heftier word processors like WordPerfect. Despite being a Swiss Army Knife of apps, Appleworks wasn’t exceptionally good at any of its component apps, but Apple veterans cut their teeth on this office suite.

Appleworks has been ubiquitous, lurking faithfully in the background while we all turned to other, more capable (and expensive) software, but in a pinch it was always there to save the day. Mostly forgotten, it lasted up until Version 6 for OS X, but now, with the release of iWork ’08, Apple seems to be retiring the venerable old suite for good.

Apple isn’t selling it anymore (although support still exists – you can get the latest update here), but the final nail in the coffin has been hammered in: go to the Appleworks portion of Apple’s website, and it takes you to the iWork page.

To be sure, all its functions are already in iWork, now that the Excel-like spreadsheet app Numbers has been added to the mix, and there is no longer any reason to have the old fogey Appleworks hanging around. Sigh.

With this, Mac-A-Doodle officially joins the call to pressure Apple to turn Appleworks into FOSS, so that people can continue to support and develop it, and give Mac users a free alternative to the buggy and bloated OpenOffice. Least we can do.