Mac advocates awaiting OpenOffice.orgs release of its open-source productivity suite with native support for Mac OS X will be waiting until 2006—unless they pitch in to help.
OpenOffice.org is delaying the projected release, originally expected in early 2004, until the first quarter of 2006, largely because of a lack of developers contributing to the effort, said Louis Suarez-Potts, community manager for the open-source project.
“To move to Aqua requires substantially more resources for development,” Suarez-Potts said, referring to the user interface built into Mac OS X. “Weve had tremendous response … and many developers say they want to help out. But theres a big difference between people saying they want to help and them actually helping.”
One of the two main developers, Edward Peterlin, posted the revised timeline this week on the OpenOffice.org Web site. Peterlin and Dan Williams have handled not only development but also user support for the current Mac OS X release, OpenOffice.org 1.0 XL, Suarez-Potts said.
OpenOffice.org released its first Mac OS X-compatible version at Apples Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Since the release, OpenOffice.org has recorded between 17,000 and 20,000 weekly downloads of the free software from its mirror sites, Suarez-Potts said.
The current release runs on the Mac within a separate interface, the X11 standard for Unix, rather than on Mac OS Xs Aqua interface. In its download, OpenOffice.org includes X11, or users can download Apples X11 for Mac OS X.
Even before its Aqua version, OpenOffice.org is expecting an update for Mac OS X with the X11 interface. OpenOffice.org 1.1 for Windows, Solaris and Linux is slated to arrive in the next few weeks, and a Mac OS X release should follow by October, Suarez-Potts said.
There is still some hope of an earlier native Mac OS X release, since the 2006 timeline was based on no new developers contributing to the project.
“If we can get developers from any source to Aquaify this, then well go faster,” Suarez-Potts said.
The port to native Mac OS X will follow the release of Version 2.0 of OpenOffice.org. That version of the software for Windows, Solaris and Linux is slated to come out in the first quarter of 2005, Peterlin wrote in his timeline.