25 December 2006

[bits] NeoOffice; A Gift for Mac Users

697 I've long been a supporter of OpenOffice.org, the FOSS replacement for MSOffice. It works, it allows you to edit Word files, and its free.

OO.o, however, is not a native OS X app; it requires the X Window system to run. If you install Mac OS X, X won't be there without you having to go through an extra step, and if you're a Tiger, that means getting the OS install disk back out and installing X Windows from that, which is a bit of a hassle, truly. Since I've been playing installation games lately, I've adopted a "once installed, leave it the hell alone" philosophy.

Another drawback is that the fonts the X Window system uses are not the fonts that the rest of OS X uses, and if you want to use your own font library, you have to convert them with a command line utility. CLI has never scared me, but it's a pain to do and you really begin to see the point of those people who complained about it for so many years. But, in the end, it is worth it. After all, where else are you going to get MSOffice functionality (and that means spreadsheet, slideshow, word processor, basic drawing, and database) for free?

But let's be honest; you have little or no hackerly mojo or, like me, easily frayed patience. What to do then?

I give you NeoOffice.

NeoOffice is OS X-alicious. It uses your current printer. It uses your current fonts. It's free. It has an Aqua interface now. And, even though it's beta, like any good OS X app, it just works. My current tech editing project, of course, depends on being able to process Word files, and TextEdit and TextWrangler are wicked useful but they aren't full WP's. NeoOffice Write, OTOH, is.

Go to the NeoOffice site, download the app and the patch, and ditch MS Office, if you are so inclined.

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Anonymous said...

How's the 2.0beta version been for you. Not too buggy, any crashes? I wasn't impressed with OO.o under X11 and am thinking of trying NeoOffice.

Samuel John Klein said...

I'd most certainly recommend you try it out.

It has so far given me very few problems, handles Word .docs with aplomb, and runs with no crashes so far.

One proviso: I am much more demanding of my graphics and layout apps than I am of my office productivity suite; I use only as much of NeoOffice Writer as I have to. But I'm currently using it in tech editing, and it runs much easier and satisfyingly in Mac OS without the hassle of having to muck around with X11.

Well, like I said, I think you owe it to yourself to give it a try.