Home > Mac OS X > NeoOffice 2.0 Aqua BetaNeoOffice 2.0 Aqua Beta Submitted by benmhall 2006-08-01 Mac OS X 39 CommentsNeoOffice has released a 2.0 beta version of its OpenOffice-based office suite for Mac OS X, now with aqua look and feel. You can join the beta program for 10 or 25 USD, depending on purchase date.About The Author Thom HolwerdaFollow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 39 Comments 2006-08-01 6:14 pm DrillSgtCharging for a beta. The difference here is the software is actually free. So, they are charging for free software in Beta form. I could see having a company and charging for the software at release, but not beta. OpenOffice is already free for Mac, and released besides, so the only thing you really get here is the Aqua look and feel. 2006-08-01 6:45 pm smittyAs the webpage says, this is a fundraising event for them. If you don’t want to support them, then just wait 1 month and then you’ll be able to get the beta for free. 2006-08-01 7:48 pm DevL“OpenOffice is already free for Mac, and released besides, so the only thing you really get here is the Aqua look and feel.”And that my friend, is the difference between a POS office suite and a fully functioning one on OS X. Not to mention that you get to use other fonts than the meager amount of bitmap fonts included with OO.o.I heartily salute NeoOffice for bringing a proper Office suite to OS X. Besides, if you don’t want to pay for the beta, just wait for the final version which will be free. 2006-08-01 8:19 pm rm6990There is some piece of software (can’t remember the name) that allows you to use OS X fonts in X11 applications, including OOo. I used it and it worked alright. 2006-08-02 11:41 am collywollyAnd that my friend, is the difference between a POS office suite and a fully functioning one on OS X.Ahhh. So thats it!Just release everything with an Aqua Look and feel and it and it will no longer be a POS.Well that just shows that Mac users do value form over function.Edited 2006-08-02 11:47 2006-08-02 11:50 am WowbaggerNo that just shows that RTFA is a good idea and that you are talking out of your ass.OO uses X11 on OS X, which sucks ass in every thinkable way. I.e. you can’t do drag and drop, you can’t input languages which need their own input method (Japanese, Chinese, Korean), also as far as I know OTF fonts aren’t recognized either under X11 in OS X and the list of annoyances goes on.NeoOffice is is a mixture of Java and C code and behaves much more like a “good citizen” on OS X. Although being still miles away from the much smoother look and feel of Cocoa apps it is also lightyears ahead of OO on Mac OS X in regards to form AND functionality.Edited 2006-08-02 11:52 2006-08-01 6:15 pm vondurBut no way would I pay for access for Beta level software. I guess I’ll just wait until we can download for free. I don’t mind paying for the final version, because I am sure these guys need some financial support. 2006-08-01 6:17 pm roguelazerWell, Aqua look is nice. How about we get a nice-looking icon now? 🙂 2006-08-02 11:53 am WowbaggerI think you can get that in the premium version for 90 bucks, or you wait until version 1.5 (approx. 2 years) to get the nice Icon for free ;-)) 2006-08-01 6:29 pm MacratHeaven forbid you be willing to throw $25 in to support the developer.But I guess when you still live in your parent’s basement, you don’t know what is required to work for a living. 2006-08-02 1:30 am anonymousbrowserwillingly donating $25 is somewhat different from being forced to cough up $25 just to download and test a beta version for them, it’s just plain greedy.So, is all of Neooffice LGPL’d or do they keep all their contributions non-free? we require a source code release anyway, does “it’s in CVS” count as far as providing source code goes?Unfotunately it’s these kind of practices which would turn me against a particular project and discourage me from supporting it in the future, even when available free of charge. 2006-08-02 2:11 am tristanwe require a source code release anyway, does “it’s in CVS” count as far as providing source code goes? Yes.Also, IIRC, they don’t actually have to release the source code per se, just give you a copy (or make a copy available) if you ask for it. 2006-08-01 6:49 pm truckwebDid you know that you NEED to work AND get paid in order to live? OpenSource or not, developer need some money to be able to go on with their projects. And where does that money come from? A wild guess would be US? Mabe a donation? Will it kill you? Probably not and you will feel good knowing that you helped someone in developing a software you use.Free Software does not mean “Free” as beer. It’s free and open source so that you can have a look at the source code and even modify it to your need.The greed of people is simply amazing. I would love to see you all work for free… I’m not talking about Microsoft here (they have money and they DO pay their developers), but Linux based distro and software that you love, mabe someone should get some money in order to keep it alive.Anyway, NeoOffice looks realy nice and I love the fact that it looks like everything else on my Mac. And it can use some of OS X technology. No ugly X Windows. 2006-08-01 7:18 pm BrendaEMIt’s embarrassing for OpenOffice.org that a few developers made a better native OSX build than they did–with less resources.I don’t think OpenOffice.org will ever work for a native build for the Mac, esspecially now that they have reached a settlement with Microsoft. Let’s see: The Windows one is native. The X11 one is native to Linux/Unix. Where is the native Mac one?It’s funny that Sun turned their backs on a Mac build, and then someone used Java, Sun’s product, to make the Mac build native. There is a bit of irony there.Sun steering OpenOffice is a good example of a company open sourcing a product, and them keeping their hand on the chess piece, long after their turn is over.Further, I think that OpenOffice should split, unless Sun stops mandating JAVA for X11 builds of OpenOffice.Edited 2006-08-01 19:19 2006-08-01 9:18 pm derekmorrFurther, I think that OpenOffice should split, unless Sun stops mandating JAVA for X11 builds of OpenOffice.Sun doesn’t control OpenOffice.org. OO.o is an LGPL-licensed project to which anyone can contribute. The OO.o developers chose to use Java. If you have an issue, take it up with the OO.o developers or with the Engineering Steering Committee. 2006-08-01 11:59 pm BrendaEMWho besides Sun would want the user to need a full copy of Java installed to run OpenOffice? Why add one more depend to the list.No one is going to budge the steering committee because, the main steering committee behind OO is Sun. 2006-08-02 11:55 am WowbaggerIt’s not that Java is not included in every copy of OS X that can run NeoOffice… 2006-08-02 1:12 am darrenmoffatThe MacOS X builds that were in the earlier StarOffice releases (5.2 and earlier if I remember correctly) were for MacOS 9. MacOS GUI toolkit changed in a HUGE way between MacOS 9 and MacOS X, also there was very little usage of StarOffice on MacOS back then so it just wasn’t a viable port. Things have changed a lot now MacOS X is much more popular.I hope that oneday NeoOffice and OpenOffice.org will integrate but I’m not sure that NeoOffice is mature enough yet – though it is getting better very quickly and every release is better integrated into MacOS X than the previous one.Personally I wish Apple had worked with OpenOffice.org and helped out with the native port rather than going off and developing a new suite of applications. Sure Pages is a little different to Writer but OpenOffice.org has a good presentation package and (at least of me) more than adequte spreadsheet. 2006-08-01 7:27 pm LorinelI am glad to see they are trying to better integrate NeoOffice with MacOS. I love OpenOffice… but the thing that prevented me from really using NeoOffice was just how… disconnected… it felt from MacOS. It also was not horribly stable at the time either…MacOS truly needs something like OpenOffice. Right now there are not all that many ‘real’ alternatives to MS Office on the Mac.One thing though… although I like the new look… I can’t help but to think that the toolbars seem a little out of place still. The app in general does look a lot nicer that it used to however.Regarding the ‘paid’ beta… Its a fund raising event guys. All they are doing is asking for donations. These guys are trying to give something in return for your donation (you know, besides their time and work)… the ability to check out the new NeoOffice Beta before its public release. I think thats mighty nice of them to be honest.What amazes me are the people who sit here and think that the NeoOffice team asking for donations has ANYTHING to do with greed. Guys… these people are donating their time and resources for this project. Time costs money. This means they are spending their OWN money to work on a project thats available to everyone for free. How is that greed? I think thats mighty freaking awesome of them.As an open source developer, I totally support the idea of asking for donations for open source projects. It helps lower the developers cost and gives the developer a larger incentive to spend more time on the project.*pretending to be that charity person from tv* Open Source developers need love, because without them the computer world would be a lot different than it is today. 2006-08-01 7:49 pm maxauthorityWhat about the speed? Has anyone already tried it, and does it feel much smoother/faster when loaded? Or is the disadvantage of using Java bigger than the advantage of using Cocoa speed wise? 2006-08-01 8:42 pm benmhallI have found that the speed has improved greatly since 1.22. 2.0 Alpha 4 dramatically improved launch times, as NeoOffice no longer pre-loads all fonts on startup. Once running, I find the Beta to be about as responsive as the last Alpha.When I submitted the story to OSNews, I also told them about a brief overview that I’ve posted on my site. Thom didn’t feel like linking to it, but I think it answers some common questions. If you’re interested, it can be found here: <a href=”http://lnxg.ca/?Software:A_look_at_NeoOffice_2.0“>Edited 2006-08-01 20:43 2006-08-01 8:37 pm benmhallNeoOffice 2.0 Alpha 4 and the earlier 1.22 are already available for free download. The EAP is a voluntary fundraiser for the developers. The full source code is already available under the GPL. Moreover, the NeoOffice team provides free, annonymous CVS access and step-by-step build instructions, so this is _nothing_ like MS charging for a Beta.By joining the EAP, you are paying for the packaging, early access and the time that it saves compiling yourself. For $25 you get all of that and the chance to ensure future development of the only complete OSS office suite for the Mac that doesn’t require X11 and integreates with Mac OSX.If you don’t want to pay, you have three options:1) Compile it yourself2) Use the recently released NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha with identical functionality and wait a month to get the Beta for free3) Use something else. (OpenOffice.org 2.0 for X11, MS Office for Mac, AppleWorks, whataver.)MS is charging a nominal fee for the beta now and will charge it’s normal fee for the final. They don’t offer previous releases for free, they don’t offer the final version for free a month later and they don’t provide the source code. 2006-08-01 9:22 pm FurryOneI’ve gone through quite a few alphas with NeoOffice, and their progress has been quite impressive – to the point where I switched from OO on Linux to NeoOffice on the Mac for work use. I think NeoOffice is an MSOffice killer on OSX, and would allow the majority of OSX users to thumb their noses at MS once and for all.I think OOo is going in the wrong direction with their Xwin on Mac, and they won’t admit it (kind of like Bush).I contributed and I feel that it was money not just well spent but very well spent. I also feel that they deserve better treatment from OOorg. Maybe someday OOorg will be man (or woman) enough to admit they went the wrong route instead of distancing themselves from NeoOffice. 2006-08-01 9:56 pm ameasuresThe logic for the OSX X11 port is that is little more than an ordinary unix build to achieve. I don’t blame OOo for going that route as a medium term fix “until something better happens”.The extraordinary achievement of NeoOffice is that they have got so far so fast. It is great and works well though I haven’t tried the latest Aqua edition. This Java based NeoOffice is in itself a medium term fix “until something better” happens.For those that whinge at paying a little here can go elsewhere and pay a lot … or take their agrieved integrity down the piracy route.Frankly OOO and NeoO are ready for almost all business use – so get over it. Iff you are worried that your documents may look different in your clients edition of MS WORD then send them a PDF.My hope is that as a number of things happen:– NeoOffice stabilises in sync with latest OOo– hopefully becomes less Java-ish and more native– OSX become more mainstream (see Apple sales figures)as these things come together the OOo team will hopefully merge in the prestigious efforts of the NeoOffice guys and operate with shared overheads. 2006-08-02 7:54 am kaiwaiThe logic for the OSX X11 port is that is little more than an ordinary unix build to achieve. I don’t blame OOo for going that route as a medium term fix “until something better happens”.Here is an easy solution that’ll keep all happy; port the whole VCL/SAL to Cairo – its on *NIX/WIndows and MacOS X; all benefit from native goodness. 2006-08-02 12:00 am buffFunny that you have to pay for a beta just to get Office with that oh-so-eye-candy-cool aqua look. Makes me almost want to go out and buy a Mac. Not. Doh, did I just lower my karma points? At least mod me up for trying to use some outdated 80’s and 90’s expressions.Edited 2006-08-02 00:02 2006-08-02 12:01 pm WowbaggerRTFA and you’ll see that there’s more to NeoOffice than meets the eye. It’s not using X11 for example.Ah, yes and if you want karma points, go back to Slashdot , hush, hush!😉 2006-08-02 3:13 pm PowerMacXFunny that you have to pay for a beta just to get Office with that oh-so-eye-candy-cool aqua look. Makes me almost want to go out and buy a Mac.Would you guys stop pretending that Mac OS X is X11 with an Aqua theme?There are *many* ways in which native apps integrate with the OS and each other and that is why we care about whether an app runs under X11 or not. 2006-08-02 12:16 am wordtechI wish more open-source developers used this business model. I’m doing something similar with my GUI for DarwinPorts at http://dpgui.sourceforge.net. Nowhere is it written that Free software must be free, and if you don’t want to pay for the service of a conveniently packaged build, check out the source code from CVS and build it yourself! I believe that’s perfectly compatible with the spirit of open-source and libre software. Dollars are an essential requirement to give developers time to improve the software–how do they eat otherwise? 2006-08-02 1:58 pm anonymousbrowserIs this a Mac user kind of thing? since you guys have, in recent years, perpetuated the shareware culture on the apple platform inspite of it’s decline in the world of Windows PCs.The idea of putting monetary barriers between users and an accessible form of your software doesn’t seem to sit so well with the philosophy of Free Software, even if it seems fine from a licensing point of view. 2006-08-02 3:11 pm DeadFishManI´m afraid that you´re not being fair, my friend. Do you have any idea of much time it takes to put something as useful as his software together and then release it for free out of his good will? Go to the webpage that the parent poster gave and read his reasons over there. He is self employed and still takes the time to produce something like this.He still gives CVS access to anyone who asks for it even though the GPL demands to offer the source code only to people to whom you´re distributing your software. He doesn´t have to do that as per the licence terms. If you don´t want to pay, you will still have the option to build it yourself.He will take the risk of some clever programmer create a build of his code and then put it for free on the DarwinPorts therefore competing with his own application that he sells.He even will keep offering the non-Aqua version for free, for Christ´s sake! Can you still step up here and claim with a straight face that he is not complying with the spirit of Open Source and Free Software?!?!?I swear that I´ll never understand Mac users… 2006-08-02 4:32 pm anonymousbrowserSo, he’s doing it as a result of his own good will and yet requires remuneration for doing so? There are plenty of software authors out there who do not make such demands of their users, i guess their time just isn’t as valuable as that of this particular developer.If these people truly cared about providing free and easy access to they software they create they wouldn’t present barriers of any kind to its adoption, this just seems stupid. when i’ve worked on free software in the past i’ve wanted to make it as easy for users to obtain and intall as possible, not to errect hurdles which stifle the uptake of Free and Open Source software. I would never release a piece of Free Software while simultaneously telling users that they aren’t entitled to use it and prattling on about the cost to myself involved in its development!By all means offer registration of your software and a support package to those who have paid you but don’t slap a price tag on it and dissuade users from trying it in the first place. I know most Mac users must have a certain amount of disposable income or they wouldn’t own one Apple products but there must be some who genuinely can’t afford to pay for NeoOffice, what option is available to them at this point?Is this a demonstration of the exclusive nature of the apple world?How about having optional registration like http://www.7-zip.org/ is that so objectionable? 2006-08-02 9:01 pm wordtechI’m the OP that you are responding to (developer of a DarwinPorts GUI).In my case, the reason I am not offering registration along the lines of 7-Zip (which is basically a soliciation for donations) is that end users receive nothing of value from this approach. They already have the software, and most of them won’t need support. And I’m not incorporated as a charity, so there’s no tax write-off. So what do they get for their money? A warm fuzzy, that’s it. And, because most users see no value in a “warm fuzzy,” donations are a lousy way to fund open-source software development. The NeoOffice developers have said that donations don’t bring in enough to pay the bills. That’s been my experience as well.What paid users of my software get is the Mac Aqua experience. The free version is “crippled” in that sense–it’s an X11 application, nicely designed (IMNSHO–I think it would look great on Linux) but “non-native” to the Mac environment. Otherwise, it’s fully functional. You can use the free version quite happily.What I’m trying to do (and, in their way, the NeoOffice devs) is somewhat uncharted territory–finding a way to build a business model around open-source development, in a way that targets end users, *without* closing up our code and simply running a standard shareware model. Unlike the NeoOffice devs, my code is entirely my own, and I could close it up tomorrow if I so chose. I find it interesting that both you and the proprietary developers at http://joelonsoftware.com question my approach. (Proprietary developers think that my price is too low, and also think it’s incredibly stupid to open my code and leave my revenue at risk from a free build of my program.)In fact, the only people I haven’t caught much flack from are the users of my program–they seem to happily use the free version, or pay for the nicer Aqua version. That tells me that I may be onto something.I’m not sure my particular approach would be feasible outside the Mac world. You’re right that Linux users would find this model offensive. They expect libre software to be gratis as well. And I don’t have the first idea of how to market software in the Windows world. But Mac users are more willing to pay for their software, and to support the work of developers who create it. On this platform, the developer tradition is oriented to the solo programmer, not the community-run culture of Linux.I really do wonder why so many developers on Linux are willing to give away their work. Is it altruism? I have no desire to sell my program to a bigger company or get hired by someone to hack on it: I shed the corporate life a few years ago because it was killing me. I am self-employed, and my work has to put food on the table. Yet I believe in open-source; my education as a developer has been through hacking on open-source code. So this is my effort to find a balance between these two goals.I applaud you for making your software free as in beer as well as in speech. Perhaps you have a source of income that allows you to do so. I do not. I also have to reiterate that the question of software cost is completely orthagonal to whether it is free in the FSF sense. I provide source code and complete build instructions with the gratis version of my program. Anyone who wants to build their own Aqua version can do so. My Aqua build is a service, and in fact I charge a very modest price for that service. 2006-08-02 11:45 pm anonymousbrowserI’ve a feeling that a lot of free software developers working on small project, such as yours, treat it as a learning experience and a hobby, to produce an application to perform tasks which they wish to automate and then to share the sources and, if they’re lucky, watch it grow when opened up to the wider community. There are also those who are employed to code and hack on free software, look at Ubuntu, Novell, etc. for an example.I accept your reasons for charging for the Aqua version of your application. The thing that really concerns me about releasing one version for free and charging for the value added one is what on earth would happen if everyone started doing it? In the linux world, where most of our software is packaged not by the author but by package maintainers i suspect that no one would really notice, on the windows and mac platforms, where a project maintainer is often also responsible for building and packaging their software, i’m fairly sure it would further hamper free software adoption.While those of us who understand the concept behind Free Software see the freedom to handle the source code as its most important feature, most users of non-free platforms still feel that the number one feature is the price tag. They don’t easily differentiate between freeware and Free software, in fact they have a bloody hard time understanding the differences. I’ve seen the problem in action with users getting the idea in their heads that it’s better to use closed source spyware infested file sharing apps on the gnutella network than it is to use limewire purely because the latter has a nag screen and doesn’t have all the features unless you register.Good luck pursuing your value added model with Mac users, as you point out it’s a very different culture and i’m sure apple people are happy to pay, maybe they would be suspicious if they weren’t required to sorry if i’ve sounded a bit harsh, my comments haven’t particularly targetted your project, there are the likes of x-chat and a few others, including NeoOffice and their fund raising scheme, which have caused me to sounds negative. 2006-08-02 6:13 am Soulbender“Heaven forbid you be willing to throw $25 in to support the developer.”Because having to pay to do quality assurance testing for someone else is a great deal.This is an awesome idea, gone are the days when you got free QA testing by releasing development versions to the public for free, now you can have people pay you to do your job for you. 2006-08-02 12:04 pm WowbaggerWell, it’s not that the OS X public beta was free, and there are lots and lots of commercial betas that people actually had to pay for.I think, if people are willing to pay money for water, they’ll pay for anything. As long as you can reach the right people for whom the convenience of your “offer” might be worth the money, they’ll pay. 2006-08-02 12:56 pm hhcvWhat is the big deal? Microsoft is charging for the Beta of their Office Suite. 2006-08-02 2:04 pm anonymousbrowserThe beta of their office suite is not Free Software, they have no obligation to release sources, another thing worth noting is that they’re only charging a very small ammount for the download, Neooffice are charging considerably more.This kind of thing is likely to result in piracy of free software and, being free, there’s not much NeoOffice can do to stop it, then again, maybe that’s the plan, piracy has always been the best distribution method for Windows Office and Photoshop to name but a few 😉 2006-08-02 4:33 pm parrotjoeDid you even read what this is all about? For the 100th time, it’s a one month fundraiser! You can still download source, etc., compile, etc. At the end of the month, everyone gets it free. It’s like going to an event for a non-profit organization and buying some raffle tickets for the big raffle. You don’t expect to win, you’re just trying to support the cause.