Wednesday May 02, 2007

Is this Cool or What?

                      



I am very pleased to announce that Sun has joined the OpenOffice Mac Porting Project!   This is great news for Mac users who seek open source alternatives to MS Office.

You can read all about it at http://blog.sun.com/gullfoss/ :  the blog of OpenOffice.org Engineering at Sun.

OpenOffice.org is a very attractive alternative for many people because it allows users to use the same applications and the same open standard file format across all key platforms including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris and FreeBSD.

Apple has a significant market share in the desktop space and more and more people out there are using Apple notebooks. Since Sun's software strategy is a multi-platform strategy, it was a natural decision to join the Mac porting efforts in order to accelerate the development. Eric Bachard, who is leading the Mac porting effort on OpenOffice.org, described Sun's involvement as a “win” for the Mac porting project. The OpenOffice Mac Port is very popular: on average the Mac porting web pages get about 15-20K page hits per week. Per Eric, this number can go up to 30,000 or 50,000 clicks per day when he puts interesting Aqua screenshots on his blog.

We should be able to show the first working version of Aqua at the OpenOffice.org Conference in Barcelona in September. However, it probably will take a few extra months before it will be on par with the other platforms. I strongly encourage users to join the community and help test developer builds. There can also never be enough developers. If you can write code or know how to design user interfaces, join the effort. The more people the faster the job will get done. Everybody who has a Mac can help, because it's always important to have people who can do QA and testing. For the core development, C++, OpenOffice.org API and Mac API skills would be perfect, but probably the eagerness to help is is the most important thing!

What about StarOffice, NeoOffice and Sun's support strategies? StarOffice is Sun's professional distribution of Openoffice.org, so it's quite possible that a Mac version of Staroffice will be released. Stay tuned. With regard to NeoOffice, Sun has chose to support projects under the umbrella of OpenOffice.org, i.e. projects that use the same hosting and communication infrastructure as well as the same open source license. From our point it's important to have one coherent code base maintained by one single community. With regards to support, it's also quite likely that Sun will officially offer support and services for the Mac version of OpenOffice in addition to our other supported platforms.
 
With regard to features, native support for the Open XML format in OpenOffice for Mac is an ongoing development effort led by Sun engineers. It will be available in future OpenOffice.org releases on all supported platforms, including Mac OS X. Integration with Spotlight is already listed on the current roadmap.

Go here for more details: http://porting.openoffice.org/mac/timeline.html. Have a look and get involved.

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