NeoOffice Early Access FAQ

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This FAQ supplements the official Early Access Program information found at


What is the NeoOffice Early Access Program?

The NeoOffice project is funded entirely by donations from our users. Since over half of our donations come from a small percentage of our users, the NeoOffice Early Access Program is a way for us to thank our most generous users by allowing them to download a NeoOffice release before the official release date.

Users who donate a total of US$25 (or €19 or £13 or CA$28 or AU$30 or ¥3200) or more will automatically become NeoOffice 3.3 Beta 2 Early Access Program Members and will be allowed to download the NeoOffice 3.3 Beta 2 Early Access release from the NeoOffice Early Access Program download page.

Any donations made on or after 27 March 2007 - the end of the last Early Access Program - until 10 August 2012 - the end of the current Early Access Program - will automatically be counted. So if you want to participate in the current Early Access Program, but you have donated less than the minimum amount, you can qualify simply by donating anytime before 10 August 2012. Please note that your membership will expire at the end of the NeoOffice 3.3 Beta 2 Early Access Program and any donations made after that date will apply to the next Early Access Program.

Very generous users who donate a total of US$50 (or €38 or £26 or CA$56 or AU$60 or ¥6400) or more during the same time period will automatically become NeoOffice 2.x Early Access Program Subscribers. In addition to being members in the current Early Access Program, NeoOffice 2.x Early Access Program Subscribers will also be members in the Early Access Program for every future NeoOffice 2.x release.

For more information about the NeoOffice Early Access Program, please visit the website.

What will NeoOffice do with these donations?

The cost and time spent on NeoOffice are trivial for a large corporation, but they are very large for the two people that operate the NeoOffice project so donations are used to help pay for NeoOffice cash expenses like bandwidth, machines, and webhosting fees that we would have to pay for ourselves.

While many free software products like Firefox and are funded by huge donations from large corporations, NeoOffice has no corporate sponsors.

Without any corporate sponsors, we must rely exclusively on donations from our users to exist. If users do not donate enough funds to cover the real costs of operating the NeoOffice project, we must scale back the project to fit within the available funds. Since we already run the NeoOffice project with a bare minimum of funding, any shortage of user donations can have a huge impact on what we are able to provide to our users.

In short, giving away software is not a good way to put food on the table and support one's family.

Some statistics:

  • Developers currently put in a combined 70-80 hours a week working on NeoOffice
  • 2500 to 3500 hours per year depending on donations
  • NeoOffice is currently averaging nearly 3 million downloads per year
  • As the number of downloads increases rapidly, so does the cost of the bandwidth used to deliver those downloads
  • is developed by a small company-sized contingent of paid Sun engineers plus paid employees from Novell, RedHat, and others, with the assistance of true volunteers, and Sun pays CollabNet a huge sum of money annually to host the website and master download server; by contrast, NeoOffice is developed by two volunteer developers who are not employed by large companies for this purpose, and they must fund all project expenses, including bandwidth, themselves or from donations.

What about the GPL?

Starting on 10 August 2012, all users will be able to download NeoOffice 3.3 Beta 2 for free. If you cannot wait until then to use NeoOffice 3.3 Beta 2, the source code is always available for free and you can check out the source code and build it yourself at any time.

Distribution of NeoOffice binaries obtained under the Early Access Program

Distribution of NeoOffice binaries (and all software with the NeoOffice wordmark) is governed by the NeoOffice CD Distribution & Trademark Usage Policy. While the GPL covers the rights to distribute, build, and modify the source code of NeoOffice under copyright law, rights to distribute, build, and modify software branded as “NeoOffice” are restricted under trademark law (and this dichotomy is common among major free and open-source software projects; see the introduction to the NeoOffice CD Distribution & Trademark Usage Policy for examples).

In short, you cannot distribute software using the “NeoOffice” name without an appropriate license from the holder of the NeoOffice® trademark (either under the license terms in the NeoOffice CD Distribution & Trademark Usage Policy or a separate license you negotiate with the trademark holder). This protects the NeoOffice brand and ensures that anyone using software labeled “NeoOffice” is using software built, tested, and released by the NeoOffice project. (You are free, however, to recompile the software yourself, call it “BobOffice“ and excise all mentions of “NeoOffice” from the product, and then distribute it in any manner consistent with the GPL, unrestricted by the NeoOffice CD Distribution & Trademark Usage Policy.)

While it is currently unclear whether we can legally restrict the distribution of NeoOffice binaries obtained under the NeoOffice Early Access Program, we ask that you do not redistribute these binaries to others until after the Early Access Program for the specific binary release has ended (e.g., until 10 August 2012 for NeoOffice 3.3 Beta 2).

Each person who obtains a copy of NeoOffice 3.3 Beta 2 during the Early Access Program without donating represents $25 to $50 of lost funding that could have otherwise been used to continue development of NeoOffice. Given the large number of people who normally download each NeoOffice release, this could potentially lead to a substantial amount of lost funds and could cause NeoOffice development to cease.

Other Questions?

Please be sure your question isn't answered by the official NeoOffice Early Access Program information.

If you still have additional questions, please ask at trinity.

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