Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 8th Apr 2006 16:13 UTC, submitted by benmhall
Mac OS X "NeoOffice is important not only because it brings a decent OOo port to the Mac platform, but also because it is arguably the only complete, non-Microsoft office suite for Mac OSX. Apple has all but abandoned AppleWorks which has mostly been replaced with iWork, except that iWork has no spreadsheet component and the word processing component is more of a page layout tool than a word processor. That's right, the platform that encourages users to 'Think Different' is pretty much down to a single office suite." Read the entire review.
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Objective-C++ ?..
by NicolasRoard on Sat 8th Apr 2006 18:52 UTC
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What I don't really understand is why they went the java road instead of wrapping the C++ parts of OOo in Objective-C, and directly use Cocoa... (additionally it would then have been portable on GNUstep, but well, that's not so important as OOo works on linux anyway).

Reply Score: 1

RE: Objective-C++ ?..
by eMagius on Sat 8th Apr 2006 20:26 UTC in reply to "Objective-C++ ?.."
eMagius Member since:

Others have tried it and failed miserably. With a project like, taking the ObjC route is very difficult.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Objective-C++ ?..
by Macrat on Sat 8th Apr 2006 20:32 UTC in reply to "Objective-C++ ?.."
Macrat Member since:

Maybe you didn't read the article.

"NeoOffice is a very complex mix of C++ and Java."

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Objective-C++ ?..
by chemical_scum on Sun 9th Apr 2006 01:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Objective-C++ ?.."
chemical_scum Member since:

Maybe you didn't read the article.

"NeoOffice is a very complex mix of C++ and Java."

Maybe you didn't read the comment. He says:

What I don't really understand is why they went the java road instead of wrapping the C++ parts of OOo in Objective-C, and directly use Cocoa.

He is not saying they ported it all to Java rather he is saying why did they wrap the C++ with Java rather than Objective-C.

Interestingly I believe IBM has adopted a similar approach in developing its productivity editors from OOo where they have bound the OOo C++ code to the Java based Eclipse RCP API's. They can then compile the resulting code on any platform and the plugin can then be used by the Java based Workplace Managed Client on that platform. So it gives you a version of OOo running natively under Java on OSX.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Objective-C++ ?..
by benmhall on Mon 10th Apr 2006 01:48 UTC in reply to "Objective-C++ ?.."
benmhall Member since:

All of the "Why didn't they use [Objective-C++ | Cocoa | Carbon | toolkit X]" questions have been answered here:

The short version from the page above:

Why aren't you working on a Cocoa version of an Aqua

There are several reasons. is not built like a native Cocoa Mac application. Translating all of the event model, font management and display routines into Cocoa would be a great deal of work. On the other hand, Apple's Java implementation provides good access to Aqua features and is easier to meld with the underlying code. NeoOffice/C proved that a Cocoa implementation was not a viable solution in the short-to-medium-term; while it looked great after a lot of hacks, it was not stable enough for even casual use.

Reply Score: 1

by trezzer on Sat 8th Apr 2006 19:04 UTC
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"The word processing component is more of a page layout tool than a word processor."

I can only assume the author hasn't tried using Pages.
Currently it's handling my dissertation with bravura. It automatically formats paragraphs depending on what type comes before it. It automatically generates TOC and handles quotes perfectly.

It is, in fact, the best word processor I have ever used for what is its core functionality: dealing with words. Word wouldn't handle a document of this size/complexity and NeoOffice is a tad too heavy for my machine (or else I would have tried it for the sake of interoperability).

Hmm, that sure was a lot of typing for a comment on a single line.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Pages
by benmhall on Mon 10th Apr 2006 01:41 UTC in reply to "Pages"
benmhall Member since:

I wrote the review. You caught me. I've only used Pages very briefly and probably wasn't qualified to comment on it. My apologies.

I find it interesting that you found Pages lighter than NeoOffice. When I tried pages (version 1) on my PowerBook, it seemed quite a bit heavier than NeoOffice Writer. (Once NeoOffice started up, of course. ;-) Perhaps I should give pages another shot, though I try to stick to common, cross-platform, open formats like .sxw

I would encourage you to try NeoOffice 1.2.2. It's a lot faster than the previous versions once it gets up and running. Absolutely the best release yet.

Reply Score: 1

Apple under the thumb of Ms?
by Angel--Fr@gzill@ on Sat 8th Apr 2006 22:32 UTC
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Good to know that the alternatives to Ms Office for Mac OS X are getting better!
From my^point of view it is of paramount importance.

I have always wondered, why, having such great programmers and engineers, that have made such good programs, Apple has never made a replacement for Ms Office...
That situation put Apple under the thumb of Ms in many cases. So, I guess, that they are collaborating with the 2 pojects to port OOo to the Mac OS. They should, IMHO...

Anyway, if the efforts to port OOo to the MacIntel platform and OS do not accelerate, they will find themselves in the same situation of dependence to MS than before...
That wouldn't be good news, neither for the users, nor for Apple, or the development and balance of Operating Systems and OpenSource software.


Reply Score: 1

RE: Apple under the thumb of Ms?
by trezzer on Sun 9th Apr 2006 00:44 UTC in reply to "Apple under the thumb of Ms?"
trezzer Member since:

It's not exactly as if MS Office / NeoOffice / / iWork are the only choices on the platform.

The office suite Papyrus also exists on OS X. At least five spreadsheet apps showed up when I did a quick search on versiontracker - some also did relational database stuff. When it comes to database selections you have several to go by.

If all you need is word processing you're absolutely spoilt for choice on OS X though. I counted at least 15 different word processors geared towards different uses (script writers, creative writing, office work etc) besides the ones already mentioned. These are all *native* ports or originals mind you.

Besides that you obviously also have all the applications that you can run under X11 - effectively everything the open source world has to offer.

Is there a lack of Mac OS X applications in this area? Hardly.
A lack of office suites? Perhaps. If three aren't enough for you (and if you really need more spreadsheet capabilities than Pages 2 has).

Would most people be happy with alternatives? Most likely. There's certainly something for everyone.

Reply Score: 2

Angel--Fr@gzill@ Member since:


Well, You are right in all that you said about the applications for Mac OS X, When you answered my post.

But I was talking about Office suites, not applications, in my first post. Why? Simply because what "really works" and is actually needed is a "whole office suite of quality", and that in the Mac world, was reduced to "Ms Office". Even if "Papyrus" is good in some things is not the same as Ms Office.

OOo on the contrary has become/is becoming an "International-whole stuff-average user-Business ready-Quality" office suite...

Also, is have to be pointed out that the average user do not know most of the applications that you mentioned. Neither he knows about the Linux or BSD ports or "Fink" for the MacOS X...
For 'wordprocessing' You have also now "Abiword" too, which is already a good wordprocessor, but still is not comparable to "Word" or "OOoWriter"

Many of the readers posting here forget that they have knowledge in computers far beyond the average user, and that normal users, even at work in the business office, do not know if a certain program exits, or how to manage to find a solution he/she needs to make a certain tasks...

What is needed to become a mayor player, is, as I said, a "whole office suite of quality", that business, and normal users, both, can use and have as a reference. Specially, if we talk of an international context and not only the USA. And that, was/is only "Ms Office" for the Mac World.

Apple knew that, and did not like when Microsoft or other software makers showed little interest or delays in having Mac Os versions of their "key" software.

"NeoOffice" and "" are undoubtly becoming two "world class-whole office suites of quality", and this will make a difference in relation to all the other existent appplications...

So, your sentence "Would most people be happy with alternatives? Most likely. There's certainly something for everyone." is correct. But the problem is that most of the potential users of those "alternative applications" simmply do not know them, or if ever heard about, do not know for what tasks could they use them.

There is an obvious "niche" here that is already being taken.
"NeoOffice" and "", being more complete,with quality, and being "free-gratis-Libre", are the applications that the future MacOS X user will likely be using.

Dark clouds for Ms Office are comming...


Edited 2006-04-09 07:14

Reply Score: 2

They have them
by seishino on Sun 9th Apr 2006 00:45 UTC
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"I have always wondered, why, Apple has never made a replacement for Ms Office..."

They have, at various stages, including AppleWorks. Unfortunately, the application didn't survive the transition to OSX. For OSX, the company has been focusing on a suite of "living" software, like iChat, iTunes, GarageBand, iPhoto, .Mac etc... Think of them as the home equivalent of an office suite, and convieniently enough there was no single other company competing in that space.

On the other hand, they have been slowly re-building an OSX office suite, including Keynote and Pages.

Apple makes / bought a lot of software

Reply Score: 1

MS Word (rant)
by pauls101 on Sun 9th Apr 2006 01:49 UTC
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Am I (and my coworkers) the only ones who think MS Word is the most atrociously unusable mess ever created? I write a fair number of software user manuals (on Windows lately, where it should work), and I observe that (for example):

- It crashes incessantly.
- It's grossly overloaded with poorly conceived and mostly useless "features." Using it 40 hours a week might help me to become productive; fortunately I don't have to. (If I did, I'd use Notepad.)
- Styles don't work. One small example: it's (apparently) possible to delete the embedded formatting codes during normal editing: this can cause entire paragraphs or pages to change formatting because you deleted one character too much.
- Chapter headings frequently disappear from generated TOC's, appear twice, or bring the first paragraph along with them, and no amount of style fiddling can reliably fix it. I usually wind up deleting the entire heading, copying in one that's working, and modifying its text.

This isn't just a rant against MS. Word is considered a killer app for Mac; while the last Mac version I used (98) was better than Office 2003 for Windows, I consider it alpha quality at best. I'd never let my name in the About box.

It's disgusting that better (not perfect, but better) products by people who want to do a good job and don't get a free ride aren't taken seriously just because their name isn't "MS Office." I'd 100 times rather use ClarisWorks than Office if I could.

Reply Score: 3

RE: MS Word (rant)
by Angel--Fr@gzill@ on Sun 9th Apr 2006 07:21 UTC in reply to "MS Word (rant)"
Angel--Fr@gzill@ Member since:


You are righ, but it's a question of how we, human beings, behave, and how the economy and marketing function...


Reply Score: 1

Instant Runoff
Member since:

I think that Microsoft Office 2004 is perhaps one of the most impressive applications for the Mac. Indeed, there are some quirks when using some of the higher end features, like autoformatting or table properties. Still, it is a usable and all-in-all an elegant application suite.

On the contrary, I find NeoOffice slow, bland and confusing by comparison. The widgets look similar, and responsiveness is slower in my experience than in MS Office.

For those seeking a word processor, however, I recommend Mellel. As a Word fan, it seems limiting, but I haven't taken the time to learn its use of styles, etc.

Reply Score: 2

And on the Intel DuoCores?
by ameasures on Sun 9th Apr 2006 07:28 UTC
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Sitting in front of a new iMac. It is a nice machine and boots quicker than anything I have seen in my career.

NeoOffice is not yet ready with Universal Binaries and the PPC version does not run. Undoubtedly it will before long - time I/ we donated again.

Papyrus (mentioned hereabouts) appears not to offer a UB.

Abiword is around but seems to mis-clip selections when fonts are changed, so not really ready for (my) prime time.

The Apple offer looks good though I wish they had prioritized a spread sheet ahead of the presentation program! They might well have had my money.

If they had offered a spreadsheet capable of using SMP across the 8GB that the G5s can carry then they might have grabbed another slice of Microsofts market.

Reply Score: 1

RE: And on the Intel DuoCores?
by benmhall on Mon 10th Apr 2006 01:52 UTC in reply to "And on the Intel DuoCores?"
benmhall Member since:

They're working hard on an Intel Mac version. Unfortunately, the main developer is swamped and has to make a living as well. In fact, they're very hard up for cash at the moment. If you use NeoOffice and can afford to, you should consider making a donation to the project. The more donations, the more time to focus on development.

The donation page is here:

In the meantime, has released an X11-based version for the Intel Macs. True, it's not as integrated or nice to use as NeoOffice, but it's better than nothing.

Reply Score: 1