A decent office app on the Mac?

Maybe I’m just a fussy git, but I’m pretty disappointed with office applications on the Mac. It’s not that there isn’t a lot of choice; it’s just that each app has its annoying drawbacks:

  • MS Office: It’s slick, but it’s expensive, it locks you into Microsoft file formats, and the next version won’t support Windows Office macros.
  • OpenOffice.org X11: Free, and supports a big range of file formats. However it’s clunky, it needs X11, it’s ugly, and it doesn’t behave anything like a Mac app.
  • NeoOffice: Free, and looks more like a Mac app than OpenOffice, but it’s slow as molasses, it has annoying interface quirks, and it insists on taking you to the developer’s homepage each time you start it.
  • iWork ’08: Slick, cheap and fast, but again it uses Microsoft file formats as well as its own proprietary format. It doesn’t support ODF.

So I was very pleased to hear of the first alpha release of OpenOffice.org Aqua for the Mac recently. Maybe this will deliver the holy grail of Mac office apps: open source, open file formats, and looks and behaves like a Mac app! Time will tell. I’ve played with the alpha a bit and it’s not exactly stellar so far – many functions don’t work properly (or at all), and it makes NeoOffice look like a speed demon – but it is only an alpha release. It definitely feels like a Mac app, which is cheery.

(There’s actually already a second alpha release of OpenOffice.org Aqua available. Thanks Eric!)

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4 Responses to “A decent office app on the Mac?”

  1. Si Says:

    This is totally true. Most of the current Office apps are just poo. Best of the bunch so far for me is iWork, which feels like it should be on the mac, is relatively speedy and doesn’t cost a bomb.

    I think I’ve reconciled myself t the fact that .doc and .xls are effectively the industry standard. I don’t moan about .PSD files after all…

  2. ericb Says:


    I’m surprised to see you only mention the first development snapshot of Aqua OpenOffice.org, while a second one is available since more than a month.

    Please have a look at :http://porting.openoffice.org/mac/news/index.html

    FYI, we’ll present a Carbon version for OOocon2007 ( Barcelona 18th September), but Cocoa ( real Cocoa port) already started. A lot has to be done, but it already works.

    Developers are warmly welcome

    And if you wan’t to contribute (donations), feel free to use the Paypal button you’ll find: http://www.cusoo.org/spip/ (don’t forget to mention this is for Mac OS X port )

    Eric Bachard
    Mac OS X porting project Lead, for OpenOffice.org project

  3. Matt Says:

    Thanks Eric. Wow, it’s great to get feedback from the lead Mac OpenOffice.org developer! 🙂

    I’ve updated the post to mention the second snapshot.

    Great work with the Aqua port – I’m really looking forward to seeing how it turns out. And the best of luck with the project.

  4. Steve Jacobs Says:

    Projity has released an open source replacement to Microsoft Project that runs on Mac’s This complements OpenOffice and the others since Project is part of the “Office family” http://www.openproj.org