NeoOffice: OpenOffice for Macintosh

Of course, there is a version of OpenOffice for Mac, and its pretty much like its Windows and Linux counterparts. and it requires Java to run. As we all know, Java can slow things down considerably, so its a less than suitable alternative for some of us on older machines, especially as new features are added.

A more suitable (and more attractive) alternative is NeoOffice. It had the nice “aqua” GUI with which we have all become so familiar, and once loaded (yes, it does seem to take forever to load up) all the builtin apps are very fast/responsive. Yes, there is some java code in it, but NeoOffice has been written specifically for Mac. There are both PowerPC and Intel versions.

People making the move to Mac often baulk at the Mac version of office, because it doesnt include a version of Access. This is not an issue if you use NeoOffice or OpenOffice.

The latest press release (from January) is as follows:

Scheduled for release in Q1 2007, NeoOffice 2.1 will contain a number of unique features including:

* The latest features from OpenOffice.org 2.1
* Opening, editing, and saving of Microsoft Office 2007 OpenXML documents
* Execution of Visual Basic for Applications macros in Excel documents
* Support for linear programming extensions for spreadsheets
* And more!

Support for interoperability with Microsoft Office 2007 OpenXML formatted documents and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is drawn from the ooo-build project, a branch of OpenOffice.org that includes several features which Sun has not yet integrated up-stream. ooo-build is a collaboration between many individuals & vendors spearheaded by Novell. Leveraging the ongoing contributions from ooo-build, NeoOffice.org is pleased to deliver the most compatible office productivity application suite for Mac OS X for today and beyond. NeoOffice.org is proud to collaborate with ooo-build to help make these important features available for all Mac owners. “It’s great to have NeoOffice making their work available under the JCA to OpenOffice.org via. ooo-build, and building on our substantial investment here, I’m excited about working with them going forward.” said Michael Meeks, Distinguished Engineer, Novell.

The NeoOffice 2.1 release will allow Mac users to utilize OpenXML documents prior to the announced availability of translators from Microsoft. With Microsoft’s announced intention to remove VBA support in Microsoft Office Mac 2007, NeoOffice 2.1 will be one of the only available ongoing solutions for Mac users who use VBA macros in their Excel documents.

NeoOffice 2.1 is currently scheduled for release on 27 March 2007. The scheduled preliminary availability for NeoOffice Early Access Program members is 27 February 2007. With many thanks to an anonymous donor and the work pioneered by Novell, NeoOffice.org is proud to be able to continue to provide the most advanced set of office productivity applications available for Mac OS X with industry leading support for cross platform document exchange.

I’ve been very happy with the level of compatiblity. I have Office 2004 for Mac, and I use Microsoft Office (Windows version) at work… so far there have been zero issues, even with formatting. I’m happy with it and will not bother upgrading my Microsoft software this time around.

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