History of NeoOffice and OpenOffice.org: Introduction

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Brief Overview and History of OpenOffice.org and the NeoOffice projects

This overview and history consists of several pages. Click on the links in the box to the right to move to the previous or next section.


The amazing story of how NeoOffice (formerly NeoOffice/J) came to the Macintosh looks in some respects much like a pyramid.

At the base—the efforts of countless thousands of software engineers from around the world who toiled (and still do) on the StarOffice™ and OpenOffice.org releases for Unix and Windows. These technical wizards have created from scratch an amazing word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, and database tools.

After that massive effort, a far smaller number of programmers worked hard (and for no money) to port this unbelievably complex program into a version that could be run in the X11 windowing system in Mac OS X. This accomplishment was nothing short of remarkable. Finally, OS X users had access to this terrific office suite!

Article about Ed's speech on porting OO.oX11, 2002

But as useful as it was, OpenOffice.org on X11 doesn't look and behave like a regular Macintosh application. So a subset of the programmers working on the X11-port decided to take it yet ANOTHER step. NeoOffice was the result of much trial and effort to create an office suite that finally felt at home on the OS X desktop.

It's not there 100%, but it's stable and making amazing progress. At present, at the top of our pyramid, there are only TWO developers who regularly work on NeoOffice. But, as you'll read, these are no ordinary programmers!

To understand how NeoOffice has come to exist, it helps to start at the beginning...

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