Matt Jones

OpenOffice.org Fireballed

I think John Gruber is wrong to write so negatively about OpenOffice.org. It seems like the people working on the project are doing an honourable job bringing a free Office Suite comparable to Microsoft Office to OS X, albeit in a manner that’s particularly clunky and Windows 95-like.

Gruber counters criticism leveled against him for refering to it as ‘vaporware’:

> > Insult or not, however, vaporware is precisely apt. As defined in the American Heritage Dictionary: New software that has been announced or marketed but has not been produced. > >

OK, so an OS X native version of OpenOffice.org has not been produced, but neither has it been announced or marketed; instead an estimated time for completion has been given as the year 2006. What has been produced, announced and, to some degree, marketed is an OpenOffice.org port for OS X that runs under X11. It’s ugly, but it’s functional and I believe that it’s wrong to call it vaporware.

I do agree that to develop an OS X native version of OpenOffice.org that offers a decent user experience is a herculean task - especially for a team of 2 part-timers - and the hope that this will ever come to fruition may be in vain. However, I’m puzzled by John Gruber’s apparent indignation towards the project; maybe he would just rather pay for a better user experiece, i.e. Microsoft Office, which is fair enough. I, on the other hand, choose not to. Roll on 2006.