NeoOffice Download and Installation Issues

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Downloading NeoOffice

I can't figure out how to purchase NeoOffice download and support services

Beginning in 2011 and reaching overwhelming levels in summer 2012, rude and nasty messages, complaints, and disputes/refund requests from new Mac and NeoOffice users placed an extraordinary burden on the NeoOffice project and its one full-time engineer. These abusive messages and payments-followed-by-refund-requests were so numerous that handling them took almost all the time available, severely diminishing the ability to ensure compatibility with new Mac OS X releases and fix bugs. This situation was unsustainable and threatened the very existance of NeoOffice.

As a result, in July of 2012, all new payments for NeoOffice download and support services were disabled. This drastic measure by and large had the desired effect of eliminating abusive freeloaders and allowed NeoOffice development and bug-fixing for NeoOffice 3.3 Beta/Mac OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion” support to continue.

After about a month, new payments for NeoOffice download and support services were again being accepted. However, very quickly new users began to overwhelm the payment system with unreasonable emails, payment disputes, and refund requests, including what appeared to be a large-scale coordinated attempt to "game" the system and to prevent the NeoOffice engineer from fixing bugs and supporting long-time existing NeoOffice users.

Since new users overwhelmingly created administrative hassles while most existing NeoOffice users rarely issued complaints or payment disputes/refund requests, in mid-August 2012 payments for NeoOffice download and support services were once again restricted, this time to only users who have paid for services in the past and have not filed any disputes.

While as of late August 2012, the ability to make payments for NeoOffice download and support services is available to everyone, it is possible that this ability will be restricted again in the future if new users continue to create unreasonable burdens on NeoOffice support and development. Certain payment levels may also be restricted at times when NeoOffice engineering is near maximum implementation capacity.

If the ability to make payments is again restricted, unfortunately, it means that the latest versions of NeoOffice are not available to users who have not previously paid for NeoOffice download and support services (note that NeoOffice 3.2.1 is still available for download by anyone on Mac OS X 10.5-10.7 Intel (without Retina displays), although this release is not supported). While we wish we could afford to include new users, the reality is that throughout the last year it has become clear that many new NeoOffice users not only do not appreciate or understand the sacrifices NeoOffice developers have made to make a low cost, Mac-specific office suite, but their actions are also actively undermining the ability to continue providing NeoOffice to long-time loyal NeoOffice users.

Existing users with a payment during the last year

If you are an existing NeoOffice user who has made a payment within the last year, you will be able to download the newest NeoOffice releases as normal. When your services expire in the future, you will be able to make a new payment using the method described below.

Upgrading your service level

If you are an existing NeoOffice user who has made a payment within the last year and would like to upgrade your service level (for instance, from "download access only" to "direct support from NeoOffice engineers"), follow the first two steps below to log in to the NeoOffice Downloads system. Then cancel the NeoOffice download that begins and click on the "Services" link on the top of the page; you can make an additional payment from the Services page while logged in to the NeoOffice Downloads system.

Note that it is not possible to make an additional payment of only the difference between the amount of your existing service level and the amount of the desired new service level.

Existing users without a payment during the last year

If you are an existing NeoOffice user who has not made a payment within the last year, has not made a payment dispute in the past, and would like to download one of the newest NeoOffice releases, follow these steps in order to make a new payment:

  1. Visit the NeoOffice download page and click on the download link for the version of NeoOffice you would like to download.
  2. Log in to the NeoOffice Downloads system using the email address you used previously when making a payment for NeoOffice download and support services.
  3. Upon logging in to the NeoOffice Downloads system, you will be presented with the familiar payment form. Follow the instructions on that page to make a new payment.

Do I have to make a payment?

The NeoOffice project is funded entirely by payments from our users. The newest versions of NeoOffice do require payment. The oldest version does not require payment. There are other special services to thank our most generous users. Currently there are three levels of services (each with a term of one year from the time of your payment):

  1. Download access only
  2. Download access plus the ability to suggest and vote on new features
  3. Download access plus the ability to suggest and vote on new features plus direct support from NeoOffice engineers on any bugs you may encounter

During periods when a beta release is available, users who have subscribed to a level of services lower than the top level may be able to post in the Beta Support forum; always consult the Services page for the most current information.

Note that at certain times, only NeoOffice users who have previously made a payment and have not filed a dispute are able to make new payments (see above for more information about this change).

I see information about NeoOffice 3.2.1 but can't find the download link

NeoOffice 3.2.1 requires an Intel-based Macintosh running Mac OS X 10.5-10.7 (without a Retina display). Make sure you are browsing the NeoOffice web site from a Mac that meets those system requirements, and make sure that your browser is properly identifying itself (see below for more details).

I can't download NeoOffice (or a patch) even though I'm using Mac OS X

If you see the "Sorry, you requested a file that can only be downloaded to a Mac OS X machine and your web browser does not appear to be running on a Mac OS X machine." error message from the NeoOffice web site when attempting to download NeoOffice and you are on a Mac OS X computer, some software on your computer, or on a computer between you and the NeoOffice website, is corrupting your browser's attempt to identify itself.

Because of a persistent problem with mass downloads from Windows computers in various parts of the world eating up NeoOffice download bandwidth and increasing NeoOffice hosting costs, the NeoOffice website checks to make sure that the web browser attempting to download NeoOffice (or a patch) is running on a Mac. Unfortunately, some third-party anti-virus and firewall software corrupts the standard browser identification string that web browsers send to all websites, causing the NeoOffice website to be unable to identify your browser as one running on Mac OS X. In addition, some proxy servers (possibly one you have installed on your Mac, or possibly run by your ISP or your ISP's internet provider) also corrupt (or remove) the browser identification string.

If you encounter this problem, first check any third-party anti-virus, firewall, or proxy server software you have installed on your Mac and try temporarily disabling it (or turning off the software's option to anonymize your browser, if such an option is present). If this does not allow you to download NeoOffice successfully, try using the instructions on Using curl to download NeoOffice instead to download NeoOffice or the patch.

Before Installing

Do I need to uninstall a previous version of NeoOffice first?

Users often ask if they need to uninstall NeoOffice before installing a newer version. The short answer is NO; in fact, completely uninstalling NeoOffice using the linked instructions before launching the new version may actually cause your old preferences to be reset and dictionaries, macros and other user files to be deleted.

NeoOffice will install over top of an existing NeoOffice installation, replacing the old version while preserving a number of "user" files that live inside of the application bundle. On first launch, the newly installed version of NeoOffice will also offer to import your existing NeoOffice preferences. After upgrading, you should be sure to install the most current version of any language packs and check for upgrades to any installed dictionaries.

Can I have two versions of NeoOffice installed simultaneously?

Users, especially those in institutional settings, often ask if they can have multiple copies of NeoOffice installed simultaneously, for example as they qualify a new version for their environment. This has been possible since NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha, and this procedure is used regularly by NeoOffice developers and testers/bug triage team members to check bugs against multiple versions and in Early Access periods.

To install a second version of NeoOffice, use the following steps:

  1. Move or rename your existing /Applications/, as this is where the new NeoOffice will install to.
    For example, I renamed my NeoOffice 2.2.5 installation /Applications/
    N.B. When renaming your existing NeoOffice and installing a new version, many macros, language packs, dictionaries, and other items that are installed inside the NeoOffice application itself will not be preserved as they are during a normal installation. Your should re-install these items.
  2. Install the new version of NeoOffice
  3. Be sure to always launch the desired copy of NeoOffice by double-clicking on the appropriate NeoOffice icon in the /Applications folder in the Finder.
    Do this as your Dock icon may still point to your moved/renamed installation, and LaunchServices (the part of the OS that handles opening files via double-clicks) may randomly choose the version of NeoOffice it opens.
  4. When you no longer need to use one of the versions,
    1. Simply drag the undesired version of NeoOffice from the /Applications folder to the Trash.
    2. Be sure to empty the Trash; otherwise documents may fail to open in the remaining version (this is an Apple bug)
    3. Rename your remaining NeoOffice installation "NeoOffice" (if applicable).

You can use two versions of NeoOffice on the same machine; however, due to the size of NeoOffice, we recommend that you don't run both at the same time.

Do I need to uninstall first? Can I get rid of

NeoOffice will not harm your installation; both applications use separate locations for e.g. preferences, macros, and other add-ons. (Due to the limitations of the Mac OS X file association system, NeoOffice and may fight over which application will open shared file formats [.sxw, .odt, etc.] by default.)

You do not need to get rid of, but you also do not need to keep if you are happy with NeoOffice.

Installation Issues

When double-clicking on the .dmg file, there is an error about "No mountable file systems"

This error usually means that the NeoOffice .dmg was not completely downloaded. Some combinations of browsers and internet connections frequently cause large downloads like NeoOffice to stop before the entire file is downloaded but do not inform the user that the download has failed.

In this case, you might try using the command-line curl tool to complete the download (this tool is also useful if you are on a dial-up connection and may need to stop and start the download to use the phone line). Instructions on using curl to download NeoOffice can be found here.

When running the NeoOffice installer, the "test" returns with "NeoOffice can not be installed on this computer."

The BSD subsystem is installed by default on 10.3.x and 104.x as part of the BaseSystem.pkg. If this problem occurs on 10.3.x machines, your BSD subsystem may have been somehow removed or messed up. It is not recommended that you reinstall BaseSystem.pkg alone, since this may leave your system in an unuseable state. Instead, reinstall Mac OS X from your retail CD; select the "Upgrade" option to preserve all of your settings, documents, etc. Then reinstall the latest Mac OS X updates and security updates to return you system to an up-to-date state.

N.B.: Since this requires a fairly significant amount of work, and perhaps time, you should probably check the trinity forums first and see if someone can determine if something else is the problem and find another solution.

Installation stalls when it gets to the "Select Destination" screen

Installation sometimes stalls or hangs when it gets to the "Select Destination" screen (and no drives will appear to choose from).

Unreachable or unreadable volumes on your Mac

The Apple Installer is known to hang when probing all of the volumes on your system if any of your volumes are unreadable.

Try opening each of the volumes on your desktop in the Finder and unmounting any iPods. Once you can open all volumes, then try rerunning the installer. If opening any volumes causes the Finder to hang, you have found the cause of the problem and you might need to reboot to force Mac OS X to unmount the offending volume.

Virus Barrier X6 software

VirusBarrier X6 is known to crash while scanning NeoOffice’s pre-installation scripts, thereby blocking the Apple Installer from continuing. Sometimes after a period of 10 minutes Apple’s installer will recover.

You may be able to prevent this problem from occurring by temporarily disabling the “Scanning & Firewall” feature of VirusBarrier X6 before trying to install NeoOffice or a NeoOffice patch.

If neither temporarily disabling the “Scanning & Firewall” feature of VirusBarrier X6 nor waiting 10 minutes of the Apple Installer to recover works, you may have to completely uninstall VirusBarrier X6.

Installation fails with a "Install Failed. The source media you are installing from is damaged" error message

For some users, installation will fail and the following error message will appear:

Install Failed. The source media you are installing from is damaged

If you see this message, most likely the disk image you downloaded was not completely downloaded (but somehow still passed the Mac OS X disk image validation). To verify that the disk image is actually the same size as the original on the servers, you can follow these steps:

  1. Select the downloaded file in the Finder
  2. Choose Get Info from the Finder’s File menu
  3. Compare the number of bytes (listed in parentheses at the end of the Size: line in the Get Info window) to the number of bytes listed on the NeoOffice download page, Language Pack download page, or Patch download page for the file you downloaded.
  4. If the size does not match, your download is incomplete.

You can also compare the MD5SUM for the file you downloaded to the MD5SUM of the original files, which are listed on the NeoOffice MD5 Checksums page along with instructions for computing the MD5SUM.

If your download was incomplete, you may be able to complete it by using the curl Terminal command instead of re-downloading the entire file. For instructions on using the curl method, see Using curl to download NeoOffice.

Installation fails with a "generic" error message

For some users, installation will fail and the following error message will appear:

There were errors installing the software
Please try installing again.

If you see this message, you need to open the System Preferences application (/Applications/System Preferences), click on the International icon, select the Languages tab, move English to the top of the list, log out, login again, and then rerun the installer. After installation, you can (and should) revert to your preferred language.

This behavior is required to work around a rare but serious bug in the Mac OS X Installer on some versions of Mac OS X; for more information, see this section of the Download instructions.

Why does the NeoOffice installer request my administrator password?

In this thread, Patrick Luby explains the reasons for this requirement:

Administrator access is required because Neo/J uses's multi-user installation. This doesn't require admin access, but in the early days of Neo/J testing, we found that the OOo code has a very bad habit of trying to edit the installed files if the files are owned by the same user that is running Neo/J. This can really muck up a Neo/J installation over time.
So, to prevent the OOo code from editing any of the files in the installation, the installer executes chown -Rf root:admin and chmod -Rf a-w all of the Neo/J files.

Patching Issues

The patch installation fails with a "generic" error message

For some users, installation will fail and the following error message will appear:

There were errors installing the software
Please try installing again.

See Installation fails with a "generic" error message in the Installation Issues section above.

The patch installer refuses to start the installation.

Under Mac OS X 10.3.x and 10.4.x, the installer will provide a red "stop" sign with exclamation point; clicking on the volume will produce the error message "You cannot install this software on this volume" as well as some further information about the problem (or on 10.4.x, "Could not find specified message for index 16", which is a bug in the 10.4.x installer).

There are two cases in which these messages might appear.

The patch is for a version of NeoOffice newer than the version installed on your computer

Patches for the latest version of NeoOffice will not apply to earlier versions of NeoOffice. Each time NeoOffice moves to a new version of the codebase (including minor point releases), the patches for the new version will be incompatible with older versions of NeoOffice. The latest version of NeoOffice uses a certain codebase while earlier versions of NeoOffice used a different (also earlier) codebase. As described in this thread, "It would be like trying to apply the Mac OS X 10.3.1 updater to Mac OS X 10.2.8...."

If you open NeoOffice and select "About" from the "Help" menu, the version reported in the About window should be the latest version of NeoOffice. See the NeoOffice Release Notes to learn which version is the latest.

To fix this problem, drag NeoOffice from the Applications folder to the Trash. Then download and install the latest version and the new patch that goes with it.

NeoOffice is not located in the /Applications folder

The message will also appear if you have moved NeoOffice from your /Applications folder, or if you have renamed NeoOffice. The patch installer will only search the /Applications folder for NeoOffice installations; /Applications is the only supported location for installing NeoOffice.

To fix this problem, quit the installer and move NeoOffice back into your /Applications folder (or rename the application "NeoOffice"). Because the underlying stores a number of absolute pathnames in its configuration and preference files, you will also have to delete the ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-x.x folder or you will experience errors running NeoOffice in the future. Then run the installer again to install the patch.

Post-Installation and First Launch Issues

Check your language settings before launching NeoOffice

NeoOffice adopts the uppermost language of the Languages: box of the International pane of the Mac OS X System Preferences as its own language for spellchecking (assuming that the necessary language pack is already installed or the language is one of the default 12 languages).

Be aware that some languages have more than one form (e.g., English has US English, British English, Australian English, etc.) as the possible selection; click the Edit List... button in the Language tab of the International pane of the Mac OS X System Preferences to add your version of the language, and then drag and drop it to the top of the list in the Languages: box before launching NeoOffice for the first time.

See Troubleshooting Spellcheck for further details on issues with certain languages.

Why doesn't NeoOffice let me run it as “root”?

In this thread, Patrick Luby explains the reasons for this requirement:

Running as root is disabled on purpose. Over a year ago I added this code because we found that running as root causes the underlying code to act like it is in "single-user install" mode. In this mode, starts writing user preferences in the /Applications/ files. This, in turn, makes Neo pretty much unusable for any other user account on your machine.

Also note that running as (or even enabling) root is discouraged under Mac OS X, and one should only use root if one is an experienced UNIX admin and has a good reason to do so.

Why does NeoOffice access the Internet after the first launch?

NeoOffice is regularly being improved. Bugs are being fixed and new features are constantly being added.

When you first install a version of NeoOffice, and about once a week thereafter, the application will check the Internet to inform you of any new recommended patches or updates so that you can be sure that your version is always up-to-date.

If a new patch is found, your preferred web browser should open and take you to the patch download page.

Staying up-to-date will not only increase the stability of your software, it will cut down on the large number of "duplicate" bugs filed that have already been fixed in released patches. This helps ensure that limited development time can be spent on unfixed bugs and adding new features.

If you do need to disable the "patch-check" feature (for instance, you are in a managed environment and will be handling mass-deployment of NeoOffice patches yourself), see Disabling Patch Checking for instructions. If you disable patch checking, we strongly urge you to subscribe to the NeoJUpdate mailing list, closely watch the NeoOffice Release Notes page in this wiki, or use another method to keep aware of the latest patches.


Troubleshooting tips for other common problems can be found on the Troubleshooting Tips page.

How do I get rid of NeoOffice?

You have tried NeoOffice and decided it is not for you. This happens sometimes. You can use these instructions to remove NeoOffice without leaving any trace. Please note that you will no longer be able to read any spreadsheet (.ods), presentation (.odp), database (.odb), math (.odm), or graphics (.odg) documents you may have saved in the OpenDocument file formats (TextEdit will open word processing [.odt] files).

How do I cancel a recurring payment (subscription) to NeoOffice?

If you have decided that NeoOffice no longer fits your needs and had previously set up a recurring (monthly) payment via PayPal, the following methods will allow you to cancel that payment.

Method 1:

  1. Log into your PayPal account
  2. Visit your account's "My Account" > "Overview" page.
  3. Click on a recent NeoOffice payment listed on that page.
    This will display the details of that payment and you should see a link to the PayPal subscription number.
  4. Click on that subscription number link, and the page that appears should have a "cancel subscription" button.

Method 2:

  1. Log into your PayPal account.
  2. Go to "My account" > "Profile" > "My money" > "My pre-approved payments" > "Update" to see a list of recurring payments.
  3. You can then cancel those recurring payments you no longer wish to continue, e.g., the one for NeoOffice.

If these steps are not clear or you need more help, vist the PayPal Help Center and search for "How do I cancel a subscription?" to see PayPal’s step-by-step walkthrough.

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