NeoOffice 2.1 Press Kit

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Last updated: 4 April 2007

N.B. This is the press kit for NeoOffice 2.1, released on 27 March 2007. (The press kit for NeoOffice 1.1, released in June 2005, is still available here.) The latest NeoOffice Press Kit can always be found here.

Contents

Writing a story about NeoOffice®?

This Online Press Kit offers press materials and additional background information relating to the release of NeoOffice 2.1 (see NeoOffice 2.1 Announcement. While the Press Kit gathers the most pertinent details and summaries, you will find useful related information elsewhere on this "wiki" web site. We appreciate your interest in NeoOffice!

Key Features

The NeoOffice office suite is a powerful bundle of word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, and database applications for Mac OS X. Based on the latest stable OpenOffice.org codebase, NeoOffice offers a full feature set that individual and business users alike expect from a complete office solution (see feature listing here).

NeoOffice 2.1 extensively integrates OpenOffice.org with the Mac OS X experience. Key Macintosh features added to NeoOffice but missing from OpenOffice.org include native open and save dialogs, a native Aqua menu bar, Aqua widgets, use of the Mac OS X printing system, full clipboard support, drag-and-drop, Mac "command" key shortcuts, mouse scrolling, integration with major Mac email clients, and native support for Mac fonts. NeoOffice 2.1 is compatible with Mac OS X 10.3.x and 10.4.x on both the PowerPC and Intel architectures.

Perhaps most significantly, NeoOffice is free, open source software. By "free", we mean that unlike comparable office suites such as Microsoft Office, one may legally make and use as many copies of NeoOffice as one likes—without expense or costly licensing fees. But "free" has a second meaning. NeoOffice is open-source, meaning the source-code (the written set of instructions in computer language) has been "freed" (or "liberated") for anyone to use, modify, or redistribute in accordance with a license created just for this purpose, the GNU General Public License (GPL).

NeoOffice vs. Microsoft Office vs. OpenOffice.org

See our Feature Comparison page for a detailed comparison of three Mac office suites: NeoOffice, Microsoft Office, and OpenOffice.org for Mac OS X (X11).

Graphics & Images

These NeoOffice logos, icons, and screenshots are in medium- and high-quality. Feel free to use them in print and/or Web coverage of the NeoOffice 2.1 release.

Medium- and High-Quality Logos, Headers, & Application Icons

Transparent PNG
(Logo/Application Icon)


NeoOffice logo (PNG)
256x256, 72 dpi, 83 KB

JPEG
(Logo/Application Icon)


NeoOffice logo (JPG)
128x128, 72 dpi, 9 KB
 

PNG
(Header)


NeoOffice header (JPG)
415x95, 72 dpi, 32 KB
 

Screenshots

Background Information

History of NeoOffice

NeoOffice's story begins in 2000 when Sun Microsystems cancelled its Mac OS X port of StarOffice and donated the partially-completed project to the OpenOffice.org community. The former manager and lead engineer of the port, Patrick Luby, was on hand to help with the transition. Although he moved on to other jobs at Sun and evenutally founded Planamesa Software, in his spare time Luby continued working to make OpenOffice.org run on Mac OS X without the X11 software used by other Unix variants to display Graphical User Interface (GUI) applications. Because the Java programming language was well-integrated with Mac OS X's "Aqua" interface, and because Luby had significant Java experience, he used Java to interface the core OpenOffice.org code with Mac OS X.

In 2002, two developers of the Mac OS X OpenOffice.org community porting effort, Edward Peterlin and Dan Williams, started an open source project at NeoOffice.org. They needed a stable, unchanging codebase in order to make sweeping changes to OpenOffice.org for Mac-specific work, which wasn't possible under the development system employed by OpenOffice.org. Peterlin and Williams worked on a new port, known today as NeoOffice/C, using Mac OS X's native Carbon and Cocoa toolkits.

In June of 2003, Luby open-sourced his Java-based port, which was incorporated into Peterlin's NeoOffice.org project as NeoOffice/J. The first NeoOffice/J binaries and source code were made available on June 19, 2003. Throughout the summer of 2003, Luby and the NeoOffice.org community worked together to improve the application. By fall of that year, NeoOffice/J 0.7 (based on the OpenOffice.org 1.0.x codebase) appeared with support for printing. The 0.7.x and 0.8.x releases that followed added full support for copy-and-paste, support for many languages, and other features and bug fixes. The final release of the NeoOffice/J 0.x series, NeoOffice 0.8.4, appeared on June 23, 2004, giving users a relatively stable version of the old OpenOffice.org 1.0.x codebase that offered a partially "native" Mac OS X experience.

Over the year that followed, Luby and Peterlin, with help from Williams and the NeoOffice.org community, moved NeoOffice/J to the current OpenOffice.org 1.1.x codebase and added significant "native" Mac features, including drag-and-drop, use of the Mac OS X menubar and "Aqua menus," enhanced multilingual support, and dozens of smaller features and GUI improvements that make the application more at home in Mac OS X.

The June 22, 2005 release of NeoOffice/J 1.1 (based on OpenOffice.org 1.1.4, the latest stable codebase at that time) marked not only the culmination of a year-long version 1.1 development effort, but also several years of early "behind-the-scenes" trial and error by the developers, the testers, and the entire NeoOffice.org community.

Following the successful NeoOffice/J 1.1 release, Luby and Peterlin began laying the groundwork for supporting Apple's Intel-based Macintoshes. A series of 1.2 releases of the renamed NeoOffice followed, bringing users support for reading international standard OpenDocument file formats and fixes from the latest stable OpenOffice.org 1.1.x codebase while the developers began to focus their efforts on NeoOffice 2, which would be based on the OpenOffice.org 2.x codebase.

As development continued into 2006, early builds were "pre-released" for NeoOffice supporters and bug-hunters as part of an innovative Early Access Program, which helped raise funds to support the project. NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha releases brought full support for new Intel-based Macs, as well as dozens of new features that came automatically by switching to the OpenOffice.org 2.0 codebase. The beta releases of NeoOffice 2.0 introduced many new Macintosh-specific features—native open and save dialogs, improved printing support, fantastic new Finder icons, a new splash screen, the beginnings of a new icon set, and perhaps most significantly, nearly complete "Aquafication" of scrollbars, buttons, and other "widgets". The level of Aquafication was so astounding that the beta releases were officially dubbed "NeoOffice 2.0 Aqua Beta".

Finally, on Tuesday, March 27th, 2007, NeoOffice 2.1 is being released to the world completely free of charge. The final release of NeoOffice 2.1 (which shares both code and version number with OpenOffice.org 2.1) will include support for VBA macros in Microsoft Excel documents, import filters for Microsoft OpenXML Word documents, and other advanced features developed by Linux distributors through the ooo-build process.

As a result of this massive effort, Mac OS X users again have access to a stable version of the latest OpenOffice.org release—one that looks and behaves, to a very large extent, like a regular Macintosh application.

For a more extensive history of NeoOffice, the NeoOffice.org projects, and OpenOffice.org on Mac OS X, please see the "NeoHistory" article in this wiki.

Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is NeoOffice?
    NeoOffice is a Mac OS X-native version of OpenOffice.org that runs on Mac OS X 10.3.x and 10.4.x. It looks (mostly) like a "normal" Aqua Mac OS X application and does not require X11 software to run.
  2. Is NeoOffice a Java application?
    No, NeoOffice is 99% C and C++ code, just like OpenOffice.org. NeoOffice uses small amounts of Java code for graphics drawing and configuration.
  3. What is OpenOffice.org?
    OpenOffice.org is both an open source project and a suite of office applications available for many operating systems and in many languages. The OpenOffice.org suite is largely feature-compatible with Microsoft Office. Sun Microsystems is the primary corporate sponsor of OpenOffice.org.
  4. What is the relationship between NeoOffice and OpenOffice.org?
    NeoOffice is part of the NeoOffice.org project, which is separate from the OpenOffice.org project. However, NeoOffice's primary developers were both main contributors to the port of OpenOffice.org to the X11 environment on Mac OS X, Patrick Luby as the manager of Sun's cancelled port of StarOffice to Mac OS X, and Edward Peterlin as lead developer of the Mac port of OpenOffice.org 1.0.x.
    NeoOffice uses core cross-platform OpenOffice.org code under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), and the NeoOffice.org developers have contributed bug-fixes in code shared by both applications back to the OpenOffice.org project and to the ooo-build process used by Linux developers working on OpenOffice.org. In addition to contributing bug-fixes, the NeoOffice developers have provided advice and assistance to the Mac X11 porting team from time to time.
  5. Why is NeoOffice separate from OpenOffice.org?
    NeoOffice was originally separate from OpenOffice.org because of both licensing and resource issues. At the time the NeoOffice project began, OpenOffice.org's SISSL license allowed companies to create proprietary products using OpenOffice.org. While the creators of NeoOffice have no problem with people making money selling software, they felt that the SISSL license would result in several proprietary Mac OS X versions of OpenOffice.org. So, instead, the developers created a separate open source project that releases code under the GNU General Public License (GPL) to ensure that any improvements to NeoOffice made by commercial organizations can be added back to NeoOffice where it can benefit everyone and not just the commercial organization that made the improvement. Beginning with OpenOffice.org 2.0 Beta 2, the leaders of the OpenOffice.org project dropped the SISSL license and left the code licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public Licesnse (LGPL) only.
    Though the potential for proliferation of proprietary Mac OS X versions of OpenOffice.org is no longer an issue, the problem of resource consumption and coordination persists. NeoOffice remains separate from OpenOffice.org because the developers can develop, release, and support a native Mac OS X office suite with much less time and money than they could if they worked within the OpenOffice.org project. The OpenOffice.org project and infrastructure is designed to handle tens or hundreds of millions of users on Windows, Solaris, and Linux, and the project requires intensive coordination that can only be performed well by full-time employees—Sun staff whose jobs are to code OpenOffice.org and StarOffice for those three platforms. Because Mac OS X is not a "tier 1" platform for OpenOffice.org or Sun, any Mac OS X work in OpenOffice.org would have to be coordinated with the OpenOffice.org paid staff to ensure that the Mac OS X work does not conflict with any work on the Windows, Linux, or Solaris platforms and with Sun's goals.
    By contrast, NeoOffice averages less than 500,000 downloads per month and NeoOffice only runs on a platform that Sun Microsystems has rarely released software for. Both NeoOffice.org developers have worked within the OpenOffice.org project in the past and found that the coordination necessary to perform even limited Mac development required a significant amount of time. Since the developers are volunteers, they have very limited time and such coordination can quickly use up most of it. By running a separate project, the NeoOffice developers have eliminated most of this coordination time and have used that time savings on things that are important to NeoOffice users such as frequent bug fixes and responsive support.
  6. Why is NeoOffice released under the GNU General Public License (GPL)?
    NeoOffice development is done entirely by volunteers. The developers of NeoOffice believe that users of Mac OS X benefit from a free (both in cost and in usage rights) office suite, and they want to ensure that any improvements that are made to the NeoOffice codebase are freely available so that everyone may benefit.

For more FAQs about the design and development of NeoOffice, visit the NeoOffice and Aqua page.

User Testimonials and Migration Stories

I just registered for the forums specifically so I could drop by and heap you guys with praise. Seems NeoOffice is a bit more of a struggle than the technical challenges alone, so I thought perhaps a little success story would be encouraging.

I do IT for a small newspaper in Central NY. Mercifully, we're about a 98% Mac shop, or I'd likely have gone postal long ago.

MS Office has always been a gigantic pain for me. We had a few licenses dotted around the building with people constantly whining about not being able to have their own copy, or not fully comprehending when I tell them that we're limited to x concurrent users so someone else will have to quit theirs, etc... I guess the best way to put it is that Microsoft's licensing doesn't scale down well.

When I first heard of OpenOffice, I was naturally very interested. I tried it. I suppose it might have worked, but it certainly wasn't something I could deploy, maintain, and invest time trying to get my userbase to understand. I mentally filed it away under 'geek tool' and let the idea go. I'd revisit the idea periodically, but it never seemed ready for prime time.

Oddly enough, NeoOffice had completely escaped my notice. Our Business Office manager read about it and passed it on to me. At first I figured 'oh great - yet another cheesy Unix port.' Fortunately, my first exposure was from the Aqua age. I was delighted to see that rarest of beasts - a competent and useful Unix port.

One barrier remained to wide adoption, however. Being a small, independent company, our purchasing power isn't what it could be. Couple that with the longevity of Apple iron, and I wind up having quite an amazing base of older G3 and G4 PowerMacs still plugging along like troopers. NeoOffice performance and resource usage on these machines was an issue, so again, I mentally shelved the entire concept of open-source office suites.

A couple months ago, though, I talked the boss into putting a couple of Intel Mac Minis in the business office to replace some truly slug-like machines. Then one day the boss came to me and asked me to inventory our MS Office licenses with an eye to spending large sums of money on upgrades. Repressing the urge to vomit, I sighed and resigned myself to some serious drudgery.

Somewhere in the back of my brain, a thought came bubbling up through the synaptic soup. "I wonder if NeoOffice has an Intel build yet?" Imagine my giddiness at finding one.

Needless to say, it was absolute bliss from the first install. Performance is no longer an issue. Stability is (for whatever functions my users are using) rock solid. Compatibility appears to be total.

From my standpoint, the fact that you're doing real, honest-to-goodness installer packages means that I can manage a large deployment via Apple Remote Desktop.

Bravo. You guys 'get it.'

The boss just told me to buy 14 new Intel Minis to replace aging hardware in our Advertising department. Guess which office suite they'll have installed by default? At this point, I strongly suspect that our MS Office licenses will spend the rest of their pointless existences mouldering away on that same mental shelf that OpenOffice initially occupied.

Anyway - not only have you saved my company from the greedy clutches of Microsoft, you've also saved me personally a lot of effort and grief. IMO, you guys exemplify what open-source is meant to accomplish.

Your efforts are deeply appreciated.

Dan Bronson
Rome Sentinel Co.


I moved over to my PowerPC iMac about 15 months ago, after using Windows for the previous 15 years, where I had always used MS Office.

When I got my Mac, I purchased a copy of MS Word, as I could not afford the full Office package for the Mac. I just wish I had known about NeoOffice before I had purchased Word, as I now use NeoOffice exclusively, and I think that is pretty good.

user drusus in a post on the trinity forums, March 2007 [1]


Hi all,
[I] do not know if this post goes here, but [I] really want to thank the NeoOffice team for creating such a great product at no cost to the end user like me.

I started using [OpenOffice.org], then later [N]eoOffice. This latest version is such a great improvement over the last, it can display my math formulas properly, and works much faster too.

You see [I] am only a student, only have 512 memory in my mac, and no spare cash for other office suite.

One of the best free software [I] have seen.
Many Thanks to NeoOffice Team!

user funnie in a post on the trinity forums, April 2007 [2]


For other testimonials and migration stories, see the NeoOffice/J 1.1 Press Kit.

Additional testimonials and user reviews can also be found by visiting the NeoOffice listing on the popular Mac software download sites VersionTracker and MacUpdate.

Community

Over the years, a vibrant NeoOffice community has emerged at trinity.neooffice.org ("trinity"), where users and developers offer support, bug reporting, beta-testing, artwork, documentation, etc.

The community is a ever-expanding group of active users from all over the world who aid in the development, support and advocacy processes:

  • writing NeoWiki articles that answer common requests for user assistance and support.
  • answering questions and providing user support on the trinity forums.
  • testing patches and filing bugs.
  • translating the download.neooffice.org/neojava website and the wiki articles into several languages.
  • working on new GUI (toolbar) icons.
  • promoting NeoOffice on the web, among friends and anywhere else.
  • providing download mirrors and BitTorrent seeding.
  • donating financially to help offset the costs of bandwidth and development.

Special Thanks

The NeoOffice community would like to extend special thanks to the anonymous donor whose generous contribution funded most of the NeoOffice 2.1 development work and the 12 NeoOffice mirror sites which handle up to 4 terabytes of downloads every month.

Profiles

While the combined efforts of dozens of people have made possible the development of NeoOffice and the 2.1 release, certain individuals have made sustained or key contributions to the code, infrastructure, and other areas of the NeoOffice project. These individuals and their roles or contributions are briefly profiled below.

Patrick Luby

Patrick Luby (AKA pluby) is the creator and primary developer of NeoOffice. He resides in Santa Clara, California, USA with his wife. He was the manager and lead engineer for Sun's effort to port StarOffice to Mac OS X as well as the lead engineer for the Tomcat Servlet Container within Sun's Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) development group.

Patrick is now CEO and Chief Engineer of Planamesa Software, a small software development company in the San Francisco Bay area.

Edward Peterlin

Edward Peterlin (AKA OPENSTEP) is a graduate of Princeton University with an engineering degree in Computer Science and a certificate in Engineering Physics. He is the founding developer of the community OpenOffice.org Mac OS X (X11) porting effort and a co-founder of NeoOffice.org and main developer of NeoOffice. He also provides much of the development and community infrastructure: the CVS server, the trinity forums, and the neooffice.org website. Ed also wrote NeoLight, the plugin for Mac OS X 10.4's Spotlight search engine, that has shipped with all version of NeoOffice since NeoOffice/J 1.1. He resides in Santa Barbara, California. As a lead developer on the Mac OS X port of OpenOffice.org 1.0.x, Ed has been using Writer, Impress, and Calc on his Macs since 2000. He has presented at many conferences including Apple's WWDC, O'Reilly's Mac OS X Conference, and Linspire's Desktop Linux Summit.

Ed is the lead Macintosh developer at BIOPAC Systems, Inc. and has many other interests, as demonstrated on his personal website.

Jacob Haddon

Jacob Haddon (AKA jakeOSX) is a long-time member of the NeoOffice.org community. He hosts and administers the NeoWiki and is working on setting up infrastructure to allow multilingual interlinked versions for our global audience. Back before the demand for NeoOffice required 50 GB/day of bandwidth, Jacob also mirrored the NeoOffice binaries; now he just moonlights as the NeoOffice.org webmaster. Jacob also put together the launch shortcuts for quick launching into the NeoOffice application of your choice. In real life, he's a rocket scientist and author.

Dan Bennett

Dan Bennett (AKA foxcorner) designed the new splash screen for NeoOffice/J 1.1 just to see if he could, and he did the Aqua application icon simply because he wanted to know how it's done. Looked cool, and got adopted (the artwork, that is, not Dan). But he should probably keep his day-job in Hewlett-Packard's workstation division, working with high-end graphics solutions for automotive styling. Dan was so chuffed when he learned Mac|Life selected the NeoOffice icon to be “one of the Best Mac Icons ever.”

Daniel Pimley

Daniel Pimley (AKA djpimley) designed the new splash screen for NeoOffice 2.0 Aqua Beta and the new Finder icons, as well as some of the new icons in the Akua icon set used inside NeoOffice 2.1. Born and bred and living in London, Great Britain, in real life Daniel is a video editor and multimedia producer, working in internal communications for an investment bank. He's been fiddling with computers since he fell in love with his Amiga 500 many years ago. Nowadays he dabbles in Mac programming, design and computer art as a hobby, as can be seen from his website.

Armando Nava

Armando Nava (AKA Punto_Mac) designed the vast majority of the new toolbar icons in NeoOffice 2.1 (aka the Akua icon set). He has an licentiate degree in Graphic Design at Universidad La Salle (Mexico City). He specializes in Internet and multimedia.

Oscar Van Vliet

Oscar Van Vliet (AKA ovvldc) is a long-time contributor to the NeoWiki and to the Trinity forums. Oscar was one of the early pioneers of the custom icon set efforts, and he contributed a number of icons to the final Akua set that is the default in NeoOffice 2.1. Oscar works on sustainable transportation in the Netherlands.

Brett James

Brett James (AKA berchca) is the author of, in turn, NeoIconer, OfficeThemer, and Iconic, applications that helped the toolbar icon set creators replace the thousands of icons in NeoOffice with icons of their own creation. NeoOffice users loved his programs, too, since they made it easy to try out new icon sets (especially in the notoriously hard-to-theme NeoOffice 1.x releases). In real life, Brett works as a filmmaker.

NeoWiki Translators

The NeoWiki is available in five languages thanks to the tireless efforts of a group of translators who bring every word in English into their native tongue. Of the many people working on the wiki, the following have made the largest contributions in the past year. jgd has translated a large number of articles from English to French, added many new articles in French, and translated some of them to English. valterb produced a nearly complete Italian version of the wiki in only a few months and has contributed an number of new articles in Italian and English, too. RoyFocker likewise made the Spanish version of the wiki a reality in just a short time and contributed new articles on styles. Lorinda has added a number of new articles, revised and polished others, and translated into English many of the articles that existed only in French.

NeoOffice Support Team

A large number of NeoOffice community members help every day in the forum and in Bugzilla, helping users with questions and problems and reproducing bugs so that developers can fix them. Among the most active are amayze, aussie149, jgd, LemonAid, Lorinda, mickeyinlalaland, RoyFocker, Samwise, and valterb.

Smokey Ardisson

Smokey Ardisson (AKA sardisson) is the NeoOffice champion of end-user support. He is responsible for bringing a large part of this information into the NeoWiki and also leads the NeoOffice advocacy effort. The NeoOffice document icons displayed by the Finder in releases from NeoOffice/J 0.8 to NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha were also his work. During the road to NeoOffice 2.1, Smokey did less of the actual work and served more as a coordinator of efforts of the ever-increasing number of individuals who donated large chunks of their time to help out other users of the software.

FreeSMUG.org

FreeSMUG.org has provided BitTorrent tracking and seeding for NeoOffice 1.2.2 and 2.0 releases, helping to alleviate the crushing bandwidth demands on the download mirrors.

NeoOffice® is a registered trademark of Planamesa Inc. Other product and company names may be trademarks of their respective owners.


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