updated 04:45 am EDT, Tue June 5, 2007
OpenOffice.org Aqua alpha
Following Sun's commitment to develop a native version of OpenOffice for the Mac, the project has released an early development version of OpenOffice.org Aqua project for Mac OS X. Billed as an alternative to commercial productivity suites such as Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org is an open-source, multiplatform and multilingual office suite. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute. While previous versions required the installation of the X11 windowing system, the new version works natively within Mac OS X. Though planned for many years, the new native software is still in early development stages and the developers warn about using it in a production environment. The project says it will continue with releases of the X11 version, while it finishes the Aqua OpenOffice port: "Once OpenOffice Aqua is released, the team will focus on making OpenOffice adhere to the Apple HCI guidelines."
The early development version has notable issues, including the inability to print, problems with copy & paste functions, starting OpenOffice.org from a shared folder, and crashes after quitting.
The recent activity on the native Mac port and early alpha release came after Sun in early May offered support for the Mac port with two full-time developers, noting the increase of Mac usage and awareness.
"If you look around at conferences and airport lounges, you will notice that more and more people are using Apple notebooks these days. Apple has a significant market share in the desktop space," one of the lead developers wrote.
"We are supporting this port because of the interest and activity of the community wanting this port. The new invigorated effort in Mac/Aqua-porting (basically since CWS aquavcl01) is an obvious indicator. I think this is the right way to go to make OOo on Mac as good as or even better than the other ports. Add in the growing Mac community as a whole and suddenly from Sun's point of view Mac has a higher value since our strategy is to be multi-platform capable."