Please come on inside and check out the screen shot. It shows OpenOffice, on the Macintosh, running with native Aqua menus. This is big news. [Update: Oops, I pointed to the wrong patch.]
This would be NeoOffice/J, the Mac port of OpenOffice with the X-Windows UI switched out and Cocoa switched in. It works fine, good enough to be used for vitally important presentations to the European Commission; but it was always in an awkward position halfway between an X app and a Mac app, with a bunch of things not quite right, chiefly the fact that the menus were right there in the app in the broken Windows/Linux style as opposed to at the top of the screen where they belong.
Well, as of now, there is “Patch 3” which moves the menus back to the right place. Patrick Luby, the genius whose project NeoOffice/J is, tells us that this was the single most difficult piece of the UI to Aquafy.
Neo/J already used the native Mac fonts and printing system and so on, so with this step forward, we’re really getting into the end-game.
Which Office? · So, as of now, if you have a Mac and you need an Office package (and everybody does), you can go pay some real money to get Microsoft Office 2004 for the Mac, which is actually quite a decent product, or you can get NeoOffice/J for free. Up till now, the Microsoft product has been good enough to, for many people, compete successfully with free. But that story is getting less compelling.
It seems obvious to me that it would be better for Apple if they didn’t need help from Microsoft to succeed; and thus, that they should be in there helping the Neo/J people big-time.