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Sun, committed to developing OpenOffice for Mac

According to Philipp Lohman, Sun engineer, “From now on, Sun engineers will support the effort made in the Mac / Aqua port.” Lohman and other Sun developers will work on the project full time.

In 2003 OpenOffice.org shelved the development of a native version for Mac (one that uses the “Aqua” interface aspect of OS X), although it reopened the project in February. Currently Mac users must install X11, a Unix windowing environment, to run a non-Mac edition on their computers.

Lohman has cited the growth of the Mac and its user community as the reasons given by Sun. “We are enduring this bearing because of community interest and activity,” Lohman says. “If we add the growing Mac community as a whole, and from Sun’s point of view, the Mac represents great value because of our multiplatform strategy.”

Sun, which acquired the precursor to OpenOffice.org in 1999, sells a commercial version of the product called StarOffice. In 2000 he gave the source code to the OpenOffice.org volunteer group, who have developed the Linux and Windows editions. The former is supplied with most distributions for the Linux operating system, while the latter is a free alternative to Microsoft Office.

OpenOffice.org has applauded Sun’s move. The group states on its website, “with Sun’s contributions we hope to have an Aqua version very soon.”

As planned by OpenOffice.org for the Mac port, an alpha version is scheduled for later this month, with a beta version scheduled for the end of the year. This planning also envisages the WWDC (Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference) as the framework in which the first version with the specific aspect of Mac OS X will be presented.

Sun’s contribution isn’t just limited to two of its engineers, Lohman says. “Other Sun developers, experts in different areas, will surely be involved when the time comes.”

Web: www.openoffice.org; http://blogs.sun.com/GullFOSS/entry/sun_microsystems_engineering_joins_porting.