By davidleetodd on Aug 20, 2007
Suppose you buy a Mac (nice thought!) What will you use for an office productivity suite? I've been toying with the idea of getting a Mac, so my interest in this subject is more than academic. Also, since I've been doing StarOffice and OpenOffice.org services product management, I've got a professional interest, too.
It turns out that there are lots of choices in this space, maybe the most on any platform. Let's see what's on offer:
Microsoft Office for the Mac -- probably the most popular choice. Microsoft has put a lot of effort into this product over the years, in spite of their rivalry with Apple. Back in the day when Apple had a huge share if the personal computer market, I've been told, Office for Mac was a major profit center for the Redmondians, and it's nice to see that they've kept it up. I've always been a big Excel fan, though I often find Word to be quite frustrating and unintuitive.
Apple iWork -- this one is starting to get interesting. It wasn't a complete choice until now, because it lacked a spreadsheet. Now it has one, and it's been getting good press. The price is right, too. It's always nice to use software built by the guys who built the hardware, just like Solaris on Sun. iWorks is the replacement for the obsolete AppleWorks.
NeoOffice -- I don't know too much about it, except that it is the brainchild of a couple of guys who used to work on OfficeOffice.org, and started life as a port of OpenOffice to the Mac. Main claim to fame: it uses the wonderful Mac Aqua screen interface instead of X11 and also has the virtue of being an open source project. I know guys within Sun who use it and like it.
OpenOffice.org for Mac -- helps pay my salary, so I'm not objective, but I use its twin StarOffice (on Windows XP) on a daily basis, and I've been very happy with it, much more than I thought I would be when I stopped using Microsoft Office. I haven't used OpenOffice.org on the Mac, but I think it's clear in general that StarOffice/OpenOffice.org is the only professional-quality office suite out there that can rival Microsoft Office. If I get a Mac soon, OO.o will be my choice. The main drawback of OpenOffice.org on Mac is that it uses the X11 windowing system, instead of the native Mac Aqua, and there are folks for whom that is a major issue.
OpenOffice.org, Mac Aqua port -- yep, it's coming. There are engineers working on it full time, and the screen shots I've seen look amazing. All the professional quality of OpenOffice.org combined with the elegance and clarity of Aqua.
Lots of choices! It's nice that Sun plays a big role in the diversity available on the Mac.