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May the 2nd 2003
OpenOffice.org for Mac OS X: version 1.0 to be released for WWDC, help from developers needed.
I've recently contacted Dan Williams who is, along with Ed Peterlin, one of the two main developers working on the Mac OS X port of OpenOffice.org and also on the experimental Aqua-look NeoOffice project. I asked him how the development of OpenOffice.org is going, which are the new directions that this development is taking (what they're going to focus on...) and if we're going to see a public beta release soon. I think the simplest way to tell you what his answers are is to quote his reply mail:
Status update. We are still working :) Both of us have real jobs of course which "interfere" with OOo development (or OOo interferes with our real jobs, whichever you like). So the biggest issue for the project is manpower. We do have people who are willing to help, but as of yet nobody puts as much time into the Mac OS X port as either I or Ed does.
OpenOffice.org Mac OS X Port:
We are trying to push out our 1.0 X11 Final release soon, hopefully to coincide with WWDC in June. We are going to enter the final testing run very soon, in a matter of weeks once some issues with printing and fonts get sorted out. We are running pretty much daily builds on our tinderboxes, some of which are served up for general download, but they aren't as useful as Camino nightlies for example, because we simply don't commit as much code as they do. Plus, we're really only committing bug fixes right now. So the short of it is that a 1.0 X11 Final release, based off of OpenOffice.org 1.0.3 code (most current as of now), is coming up soon. Around this time we are going to shift development of the project to the Quartz phase, where we bring in the basic code from NeoOffice and get the Quartz port up and running again. We are also going to start to target the OOo 1.1 codebase this summer so that we catch up to current development that's going on.
We've had a large number of improvements (mostly behind the scenes) land since your review last year. Namely, all our graphics primitives are drawn with CoreGraphics right now. This means things are nicely antialiased (see attached PDF), which wasn't possible with QuickDraw. We've had some event handling cleanups from Scott that improve responsiveness a great deal. I'm working on converting the image handling code to Cocoa, which deals with _all_ images: toolbar buttons, other internal art, internal images, and user inserted images. This is a big part of what goes on in the background. We are incrementally converting all the backend from Carbon/Quickdraw over to Cocoa and CoreGraphics. Later on, we'll actually implement a real Cocoa event model, as right now its really hammering the system on events. Its not playing nice. This should help a lot with processor time and create fewer event handling issues underneath. It will also allow us to use Cocoa threads, which play much better with the Cocoa code than the pthreads we are currently using. We're targetting release of an updated binary that includes _some_ of these features for WWDC as well.
We've been part of the process at OpenOffice.org to create a new toolkit for the graphics layer there. This is expected to land with OOo 2.0 way next year. It is basically a re-write of the graphics layer and will allow system native controls and system behavior much better than our current method with NeoOffice. Its still in the planning stages right now though, but we got into it so we can make sure that future pieces of OOo respect the Mac look and feel on Mac OS X.
Furthermore, in the mean time until 2.0 is out, we are coordinating with OpenOffice.org and Sun engineers to add native mac control capabilities into the current graphics code. This is basically the same approach we are _currently_ using with NeoOffice, but officially sanctioned and much more extendable. This is currently also in the planning stages, but much further along then the 2.0 rewrite above. We have the plans down but haven't had time (neither us nor the Sun guys) to start writing the code. But it will help them out with supporting Windows XP themes and things like Tablet PC, so they have a lot of interest in seeing this work too.
As you see, although there is some lack of people to help on the development of these projects, the current team is active and the development is going on. It seems they're trying to have something ready to release for the WWDC. Dan also joined a recent screenshot of NeoOffice development to illustrate his mail.
I guess many of you would really like to see a final version of OpenOffice.org on the Mac coming soon. So if anyone has some free time and can help the team to bring it us quicker, I encourage you to contact and join the OpenOffice.org:mac team.