NeoOffice 1.2 Alpha Is Out

by Matthew Russell

Related link: http://www.planamesa.com/neojava/en/download.php



A while back, I wrote an article entitled What is NeoOffice/J (and Can It Replace MS Office) that took a look at a viable alternative to Microsoft Office. A lot of development has been going on since then, and just recently, NeoOffice 1.2 Alpha was announced.

You can read about some of the specific differences between v1.1 and v1.2 here, but the major enhancements include support for the new Open Document Format (ODF), and under the hood rewiring to reflect usage of Cocoa APIs and Java 1.4.x APIs instead of so much Carbon and Java 1.3.1.

The download is 129 megs, but definitely worth it if you're already a NeoOffice/J user. Plus, you can get that oh-so-good feeling of doing your part for community service if you report a bug or find another way to help.

Just in a few mintues of playing around, I noticed that a large spreadsheet I often use loads about 30% faster (10 seconds vs 15 seconds), the Preferences menu option works now (lots of stuff in there), and you don't get the annoying blank window that hangs around after using the shortcut Cmd-W to close a document. But I'm sure there's much more -- hopefully those features will turn up as pleasant surprises during routine work.

So what are you waiting for, go get it, tinker around, and come back here with some feedback.

Do you think this project is going to continue coming around? Or is it not even worth the time it takes to download? Why?

What's holding you back from making the switch from MS Office? Or did you already?


7 Comments

RTFMplease
2005-12-02 19:24:12
Didn't want to pay the microsoft tax part II
I bought a powerbook after I graduated and found I rarely had to use Office anymore ... and although OpenOffice is far from perfect it was definitely a better alternative than either:



  1. Paying $400 for an app I hardly use

  2. Pirating it


Neo Office and Text Edit sufficied for viewing and editing the few Office docs I get from time to time.

Reilly-O
2005-12-04 17:24:21
No way worth it
I tried out NeoOffice 1.2alpha. A big disappointment. I have tried StarOffice, OpenOffice, and now NeoOffice. The biggest frustration is the low quality of user interface, the silly "imitate the stupid ways of MS" paradigm. Too many buttons that are undecipherable (is that a word?).


Come on someone! Write a real office suite. The target is not very high.

ptwobrussell
2005-12-04 18:16:23
No way worth it
I think one thing we need to remember is that NeoOffice isn't intended to be some great novel new approach to the office scene. Rather, it's a fairly direct port of OpenOffice.org to our platform. Keeping that in mind, this release is also only a "minor" update.


I agree that the buttons look like they're from the 70s and that the user interface has a long way to go before it'll even approach a semi-authentic Aqua look, but there's really one one guy I know of that's working full time on it. He's come a heck of a long way in what he's done and it does do the job, although it's not too flashy.


The good news is that a lot of initial work regarding infrastructre has been done -- getting it to run natively, updated to run on APIs that are being actively given attention from Apple, etc. At this point, I would think that some of the development will turn to things like getting the controls Aqua-fied -- but that's just my hunch.


But even when it's all prettified and looking like a native Apple app, which might be more than a year from now, it's still just a port of OpenOffice -- and not a clever new Cupertino approach. So yes, there's definitely room for some commercial work to be done...but it's a daunting task. Office suites are big.


I'll quit ranting now...

ptwobrussell
2005-12-04 18:16:48
No way worth it
I think one thing we need to remember is that NeoOffice isn't intended to be some great novel new approach to the office scene. Rather, it's a fairly direct port of OpenOffice.org to our platform. Keeping that in mind, this release is also only a "minor" update.


I agree that the buttons look like they're from the 70s and that the user interface has a long way to go before it'll even approach a semi-authentic Aqua look, but there's really one one guy I know of that's working full time on it. He's come a heck of a long way in what he's done and it does do the job, although it's not too flashy.


The good news is that a lot of initial work regarding infrastructre has been done -- getting it to run natively, updated to run on APIs that are being actively given attention from Apple, etc. At this point, I would think that some of the development will turn to things like getting the controls Aqua-fied -- but that's just my hunch.


But even when it's all prettified and looking like a native Apple app, which might be more than a year from now, it's still just a port of OpenOffice -- and not a clever new Cupertino approach. So yes, there's definitely room for some commercial work to be done...but it's a daunting task. Office suites are big.


I'll quit ranting now...

Amol
2006-02-07 02:40:16
Should be Fully compatible with MS Office; That is All
Thats right, when I open a .doc file in Neo office which was earlier created or edited in MS Office it shows me some changes in data formatting or line breaks etc. Now all I want is that the document should remain the same whether opened in MS Office or Open Office or Abiword.
NeoOffice Community Relations
2006-02-10 05:49:33
the Preferences menu option works now (lots of stuff in there), and you don't get the annoying blank window that hangs around after using the shortcut Cmd-W to close a document.

Those were both fixed in June in the "Patch-0" for NeoOffice/J 1.1; you didn't need to wait for NeoOffice 1.2 Alpha to get them ;)


The only reason I post this comment so long after the fact is to let everyone know that stable final releases have automatic patch-check disabled, so if you only run stable versions, you should check the patch download page from time-to-time, as we do release patches to fix bugs in stable versions, too.

zohar
2006-03-02 16:59:51
Totally worth it.
I prefer it to any Microsoft program, and it feels better then Apple Works and does a lot more than pages.


The interface is rather on the down side, and I would like it to be more aqua like, instead of the Windows 98 feel.


But I think its good work and it should continue and improved.
Now waiting for OOo 2.0 to come aboard