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>Using NeoOffice

14 Mar

>NeoOffice is a free port of OpenOffice.org for the Mac. I’ve now been working with it for a few months. The program automatically checks for updates, which most programs seem to do by now. My current version is 2.0 Aqua Beta 3 Patch 15. Don’t ask me what that means, exactly. But it’s fairly stable.

An alternative to using NeoOffice is using OpenOffice.org directly on the Mac. This works fairly well, but requires X11 and does not provide an integrated solution. See the OpenOffice.org for Mac porting project.

Although NeoOffice works pretty stable overall, it’s not really integrated in Mac OS X. Menus are inconsistent with other Mac applications, as well as dialogs, keyboard shortcuts, etc. Some examples:

  • after confirming the print dialog (Cmd-P) another dialog is shown, asking for advanced settings;
  • there is a ‘Printer Settings’ dialog, but it doesn’t do anything;
  • default buttons don’t have the blue color they have in other applications;
  • buttons are smaller than in other apps;
  • when a file is modified, the red close icon in the window title bar does not change to include a dot;
  • when using Exposé, the dialogs are considered windows in their own right;
  • the list of recent documents is not in the NeoOffice program menu, but in the File menu; so it’s impossible to open a recently opened file without having any other file open;
  • it doesn’t use standard dialogs, such as the Font dialog;
  • it does not use the standard dictionary and hyphenation support offered by Mac OS X;
  • Cmd-RightArrow goes to the next word instead of the end of the line;
  • etc.

So although the product works quite well, it’s far from being a well-integrated Mac OS X application like any of the OmniGroup apps. Perhaps they should consider creating such a beast, although the business model for it may be hard to produce.

At openoffice.org they themselves are also working on an Aqua-port of their product. There was an announcement early February 2007 labeled OpenOffice.org Mac Porting team announces the top ten items to be fixed before alpha Aqua release. Interesting to know there are apparently some people working on it, but there’s not much information available on planning.

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