Sun lends hand on Mac OpenOffice project

An alpha preview version could be out this month

Sun Microsystems has assigned company developers to work on a Mac OS X version of the open-source productivity suite.

"As of now, Sun engineering will add its support to the ongoing Mac/Aqua porting effort," Sun engineer Philipp Lohman said in a blog late last week. Lohman and another Sun developer will work full-time on the project.

In 2003, put aside development of a native Mac version -- one that would use Mac OS X's "Aqua" interface -- but reopened the project in February. Currently, Mac users must install X11, a Unix windowing environment, to run a non-Mac edition of on their machines.

Lohman cited the Mac's growth and its vocal user community as reasons for Sun's decision. "We are supporting this port because of the interest and activity of the community," said Lohman. "Add in the growing Mac community as a whole and suddenly from Sun's point of view, Mac has a higher value since our strategy is to be multi-platform capable."

Sun, which bought the forerunner of in 1999, sells a commercial version dubbed StarOffice. In 2000, it ceded the source code to the all-volunteer group, which has developed Linux and Windows editions. The former is bundled with most Linux operating system distributions, and the latter is the only free alternative to Microsoft Corp.'s Microsoft Office. applauded Sun's move. "With Sun's contributions, we expect to reach Aqua that much sooner," the group said on its Web site.

A Mac port timeline decided by in March pegged a release of an alpha preview this month, with a full beta expected by the end of the year. The aggressive schedule also set Apple Inc.'s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next month as the debut date of the Mac OS X look-and-feel.

Sun's help will involve more than two of its engineers, said Lohman. "There certainly will be other Sun developers involved in their areas of expertise when the need arises," he said.

And he admitted he'll be asking for help himself. "Mac OS X and Aqua are quite new to me, so please bear with me as I learn about this (for me) exciting new platform. Certainly I will have many questions for my fellow Mac porters."

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?