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Native (but alpha) version of OpenOffice.org arrives for Mac OS X

OpenOffice.org has had an interesting journey on Mac OS X. For roughly half a decade, anyone who wanted to use it has had to also download the not-quite-user-friendly X11 environment which OpenOffice had to run in. Long story short: this cumbersome and resource-intensive setup knocked OpenOffice off the lists of almost all but the most resilient and passionate Mac OS X users.

Today, this unfortunate open source tragedy is no more - as long as you don't mind running alpha software.

Slashdot is reporting that the OpenOffice.org project has unleashed an alpha build of a true, native version that will run on PowerPC and Intel Macs using Mac OS X, and only Mac OS X (X11-be-gone!). Users must chose the correct version for their processor (i.e. - it isn't a Universal Binary for some odd reason), and the downloads are being distributed via BitTorrent. Users are also warned, however - in bold red lettering on the OpenOffice.org download page, no less - that this is definitely an alpha. In fact, a full list of known issues with this version is linked from the announcement post, with a few of the big hitters stated to help wary users make the decision to wait for a more robust version at a later date. These issues include:

  • You cannot print
  • PDF export does not properly work as thetext won't show on the page right
  • Starting OpenOffice.org from a shared folder does not work
  • Copy and paste does not fully work
  • OpenOffice.org will crash after quitting
  • Some text is not drawn in places like Impress
  • Impress will not recognise multiple monitors

Still, this is a massive step forward to bringing a true version of OpenOffice.org to Mac OS X, and we tip our hats to the project for getting this far. Head over to the announcement post for more details on whether this early build is right for you.

Tags: alpha, office, open office, OpenOffice, opensource, x11

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