Why VRML Failed and What That Means for OpenOffice

Why was VRML an also-ran in the flood of new technologies introduced in the 1990s? It wasn’t fundamentally broken or a bad idea. It wasn’t worse than other technologies of the day like Java 1.0 and Shockwave. It certainly didn’t suffer from a lack of hype, investment, or development resources compared to the winners. VRML fail for one reason and one reason only: it didn’t run on the Mac; and OpenOffice is failing now for the same reason.

The problem was all the VRML vendors looked at the Mac’s marginal market share, and decided they couldn’t afford to support it. (Linux either.) Of course they completely missed some very important factors:

  1. Many Windows PCs were doing boring, ordinary tasks like data entry that were never going to need VRML.
  2. Mac marketshare was much higher in education, though still not a majority.
  3. Mac marketshare was much higher among home users surfing the web recreationally.

Thus VRML chopped off a good portion of its potential user base at a stroke. In fact, it chopped off enough that nobody who actually wanted to reach end users could seriously consider it. However, that’s still not the most important reason VRML failed.

The real reason VRML failed is that Mac market share approached or exceeded 50% among the Web designers creating the early Web in the mid-90s. Every web shop in business at the time was just raring to jump on the next hot bandwagon, but when they looked at VRML the first thing they saw was that there weren’t any tools for them to use. So instead they looked at Java, Shockwave, Flash, HTML, Acrobat, and other things that at least ran on the Mac, even if they didn’t run well. VRML never recovered.

OpenOffice is in a little better shape than VRML was. It does run on the Mac, but so poorly no Mac user can seriously consider it for anything but opening the occasional OpenOffice document emailed to them by a Linux zealot. NeoOffice is a much better alternative, but it is still crippled by sitting on top of a code base written with little to no concern for the Mac. Too many user interface idiosyncrasies are the result of anti-Mac design decisions made in the core OpenOffice code base. NeoOffice is painting a pig to look like a tiger, but it still oinks instead of roars.

If OpenOffice is serious about supplanting Microsoft Office as the standard office suite (not merely the standard office document format) then it has to learn something Microsoft learned decades ago. It is not enough to run well on the preeminent desktop platform with 90% market share. You have to run on the Mac too. Microsoft Office is the de facto standard because people don’t have to think about who they’re sending a document to or what software they’re running. Publishers don’t have to force authors onto a specific platform. They just send out a Word template, and everyone’s happy. OpenOffice doesn’t make everyone happy.

Linux users will put up with crappy user interfaces that are never consistent from one program to the next. Windows users often will. Mac users never will, and there are too many Macs out there to ignore. On the Mac, OpenOffice and NeoOffice are dancing bears. It’s amazing that the products dance at all, but what we need are ballerinas, not bears.

It is possible to write good, cross-platform software that Mac, Windows, and Linux users will all enthusiastically adopt because they want to, not because it’s cheap or because some Linux zealot sysadmin installed it on their PC when they weren’t looking. Firefox proves this, and consequently Firefox is well on its way to 50% market share or better. Until OpenOffice makes a similar commitment to treating the Mac on an equal footing with Windows, it will not supplant Microsoft Office. It can achieve a few adoptions here and there in cost conscious businesses and government agencies. It can find a reliable place on the miniscule fraction of the desktop market running Linux. However, it’s never going to come close to 50% market share or establish itself as the standard office software.

33 Responses to “Why VRML Failed and What That Means for OpenOffice”

  1. Guy Rixon Says:

    Looking at the examples, in the article, of Bugzilla tickets for NeoOffice, it’s clear that the cross-platform parts of OOo stop NeoOffice from acheiving full Mac enlightenment. This can’t change without a massive fork. I value the cross-platform nature much more than the details of the Mac UI; I think it would be a shame to break interoperation just to tweak the menus. For me, basic OOo was obnoxious because it needs X11 and NeoOffice comes close enough to a Mac-native suite.

    If OOo fails it will likely be not because of a non-native UI but because it seems it seems to copy all the worst flaws of MS’ design without adding much. Example: in both PowerPoint and OOo (and therefore in NeoOffice), text boxes are vastly bigger than the text they contain, making it difficult or impossible to select items on complex slides. This is something that OOo could have fixed. It’s not necessary to copy the bugs to preserve user familiarity!

  2. Ian Phillips Says:

    There is work underway to release a Carbon based version of OO, they claim that an early beta will be available fairly soon now.

    While I know that this doesn’t alter the fact that OO is still very much a Windows app, it will go a long way to improving the situation. Hopefully this release will gain them some more support amongst developers who know Carbon/Obj-C (which isn’t me, unfortunately).

  3. dave Says:

    You specifically split the two in your post, but surely the entire point of ODF as a widely used standard is that you can use whatever software you like to edit the documents? If that happens to be OO then great, but I don’t see why it should be an issue if people are creating/viewing/editing those documents using Google Docs, some random back-office process, or the upcoming support for OpenDocument in Mac OS X in TextEdit at least and hopefully system-wide e.g. Spotlight and in iWork (or at least Pages) too.

    http://impulsivehighlighters.blogspot.com/2006/08/leopard-preview-textedit.html

    If a nice Cocoa Mac app bundled by Apple can do 99% of what you need then I can’t imagine people complaining too much about using a slightly clunky app when they need to do something out of the ordinary.

    The distinction is particularly pointed as VMRL (as far as I’m aware) is a file format, not an application, so it maps across better to ODF than OO.

  4. Cormac Says:

    VRML failed because it was a solution looking for a problem. There are still no real competitors because no-one cares. Whereas there is demand for a decent free office suite. That said I am not a big fan of OpenOffice. The UI sucks on every OS not just Macs (not as bad as GIMP though).

  5. David Megginson Says:

    But who is the they that will fix the problems? Granted, since OpenOffice has corporate backing, Sun could hire a roomful of Mac coders to help out, but in general with Open Source projects, my impression is that Mac users (Rusty and a few others excepted) are generally happier complaining than contributing. The tiny groups of brave Mac developers who do contribute hundreds or thousands of hours to porting OSS projects to the Mac ports often get nothing but grief from the rest of the Mac community, which has trouble distinguishing a volunteer OSS project maintainer from Adobe customer support.

  6. Parand Says:

    I’m with Cormac on this one – VRML failed because it had no viable and interesting applications. Browing the Web in 3D? It was just silly.

  7. Russell Says:

    VRML is by no means dead. I used to think the same thing. VRML is a standard that, for people who have bulilt 3D models with it ten years ago will still load, and so it still works today. That’s not dead. It has also continued to upgrade: VRML, VRML2.0, VRML97, and now X3D. All are based off of XML and show the power of sticking with a standard. Pretty much every major 3D modelling application has an export file format to VRML. Here’s a blog article to dispute:

    VRML isn’t dead

    Don’t be surprised when you start playing 3D games online made with it. Not just VRML, but 3D web is getting quite the following, via Second Life (approaching 6 million residents). The next step – and it’s not very far away, is an open platform with a truly 3D web, since Second Life has announced they are to go open source. Flux Studio has also been developed to allow the same idea to unfold, and was just released about a month ago (and that’s VRML/X3D with a GUI). Collada and X3D have also formed a partnership with their standards. Collada is a basic 3D format used by Sony to develop video games, and a lot of other big shots have picked it up, one of them being Google Earth. Get up to par on the topic before declaring false information.

    I do enjoy the idea of developers giving Mac a little more respect and their fair share of the market. They were the first computers I used at school growing up.

  8. Pupeno Says:

    Until OpenOffice makes a similar commitment to treating the Mac on an equal footing with Windows, it will not supplant Microsoft Office.

    OpenOffice can’t make a commitment to anything because programs can’t make commitments. Yes, this is a rant! I am tired of people treating programs like companies (i.e.: “Linux should improve its marketing”).
    If you think it is important for OpenOffice to run on Mac, mail the organizations, companies and individuals that are working on it stating your concerns. Submit bug reports about how to make OpenOffice work better on Mac. If you can code, get the source code and start working, if you have money, donate it for the cause (of making OpenOiffce work on Mac nicely). Those are useful actions.

  9. alisdair Says:

    a vast majority of oss developers think osx doesn’t need to be considered, since osx users can just run x11. they don’t put nearly enough thought/time into seperating form from function and they’re often hostile to any attempts to do so as it delays development. this makes it beyond ridiculous to suggest that mac developers should just devote some time to submitting patches so that things work better on osx. they need cooperation from the *nix/windows developers as much as the *nix/windows developers need osx developers to contribute.

  10. Cross-platform Matters! « Shebanation Says:

    […] I read a post by Eliotte Rusty Harold on why VRML failed and why OpenOffice needs to make their product work better on the Mac. I was particularly struck by […]

  11. David Megginson Says:

    Alisdair: most OSS developers build for what they use and what they have available: unless you have a lot of commercial backing and a lab available, there’s no point deciding to do an OSX (or Gnome, or KDE, or Windows) UI unless one of the key project members happens to have the hardware sitting around (and the software, knowledge, and need). Sending in patches doesn’t do much, because unless there’s a MacOS developer on the inner project team, there will be no one to maintain them.

    There’s no way around it, Mac people: if you want better OSS on the Mac, you’re going to have get seriously involved with the OSS projects. That’s how the OSS projects got ported to Windows. Complaining doesn’t write code.

  12. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    David,

    In my experience many open source projects including OpenOffice and Eclipse are actively hostile to making necessary changes to enable truly native Mac applications. It is not enough merely to submit patches. The patches have to be accepted, and the primary developers have to be willing to make changes that make life less convenient for them in order to support alternate platforms. It’s too often not a matter of simple patching. It sometime srequires deep architectural changes to remove hidden assumptions that the world looks like Windows or Unix.

    In many projects the problem is not that the time and the talent are not available to do this work. It’s that help is refused. Patching is not an option for Mac developers. The choice is do nothing or fork. Faced with that, many developers simply choose to write in Objective C for Cocoa instead.

    This isn’t true of all projects, of course. Firefox is an excellent cross-platform application. NetBeans has made great strides and well surpassed Eclipse on the Mac. Indeed NetBeans has thoroughly debunked IBM’s claim that Swing is not an adequate foundation for developing truly native cross-platform applications. The reason is simple many of the NetBeans paid core developers use Macs, and few if any of the paid core Eclipse developers do.

  13. David Megginson Says:

    Elliotte:

    Your point about Eclipse and OpenOffice is well-taken, because both of those have big corporate backers who could provide Mac developers to help with the project if they cared enough to. You did touch on the more general problem, though: to affect the course of an OSS program, there have to be Mac people among the primary developers. Submitting patches isn’t enough, because the primary developers might not have the ability to test those patches or fix bugs in future releases, especially if none of them owns a Mac.

    Through I didn’t have a lot of Windows experience, I remember many of these same problems and debates with Windows ports of OSS in the 1990s, from Emacs (which didn’t really work well under Windows until the mid-to-late 1990s) to the Gimp. Back in the 8+3 days, especially, there were huge differences between the Windows and Unix worlds. In the end, it wasn’t the Unix people who made the Windows ports work but Windows developers. At first, they launched as side projects (like NeoOffice), then once they had proven themselves, they fought their way in to the main project and started to have a share in the control over the central code base. It’s going to be harder for the Mac people because Mac has less of a developer tradition than Unix and a smaller user base than Windows, but it should still be possible.

  14. Tony Parisi Says:

    Yes, we have to get Flux Player on the Mac.

    We will. This summer.

    Nuff said.

  15. len Says:

    VRML isn’t dead. It just smells funny.

    See http://3dontheweb.blogspot.com

    http://home.hiwaay.net/~cbullard/rol/TakingMyTime.html

    VRML is alive and well. What failed was the web. It didn’t have the bandwidth or the training for building good open 3D. Now it does. So those of us who can are and those who won’t don’t. No problem really. X3D and 3D in general are the language and medium for the new generation of web designers. Most of us, you me Dave, etc., are already past our sell-by dates as web thinkers, pundits and designers. 3D is to the 18 year old of today what rock and roll was to my generation. They like it, they understand it, they can build it and they won’t take excuses.

    SVG? A different story. It’s failing pretty miserably. Why? No Mac support.

    You are trolling, right?

  16. Howard Lovatt Says:

    Excellent article. I am not an expert, but I think that Neooffice uses Java for the cross platform bits and as pointed out Java via Swing is excellent at cross platform (I think someone already mentioned Netbeans as an example). Therefore the OO people could get radical and adopt Neooffice as the primary platform – no fork necessary.

  17. Keith Says:

    I was a developer for the VRML plugin Live3D/Cosmoplayer. Personally I think VRML failed because people expected it to be as simple as HTML but it wasn’t. A beginner with 3 hours to spare could knock out a HTML site with a few pages and images. 3 hours with VRML would probably give you a red sphere – if you figured out how to make your lights work!

    Neat stuff in VRML required decent 3D modelling skills (rare in 1996) and attaching of javascript or java behaviours (again, something the average joe would find too complex). Mac’s has nothing to do with it – the mid to late nineties was when the mass exodus from macs began – which didn’t turn around until candy imacs in the late 90’s.

    Openoffice is the Mozilla of Office suites…… it needs a skinny Firefox to come along, take the best bits and do it properly.

    Keith

  18. John Prado Says:

    MS Office rules!!!

    And stand still…

    Until someone with a LARGE budget make the decision to work in serious competition…

    Google?!?!?!?!? Who knows???…

  19. John Prado Says:

    And VRML has his RIP for one reason:

    Bring bricks to developers… Where are they???

  20. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    Len,

    Maybe today VRML will make a comeback somewhere. I still don’t see it. But 10 years ago, for the use case that was originally envisioned? It failed. As you point out, it was not a beginner technology. However the vast majority of non-3D-beginners in 1995 were using Macs, and they weren’t excited enough by this to switch platforms. As I recall there were a few folks using really expensive NeXT cubes, SGI workstations, and other fancy Unix boxes to do this stuff back then too. But guess what? VRML didn’t work for them either. The one community that had essentially no experienced 3D folks? Windows. VRML probably would have done better if it had been just for the Mac and ignored Windows instead. Global marketshare isn’t all that important. Marketshare among people who might actually use your product is. It’s not a coincidence that the Web or Mosaic was Unix only for the first several years of its life. Had it been rolled out on Windows (or DOS way back then) it would have flopped.

    Of course, I’m getting off topic here. Office software is a very different market than 3D authoring and rendering. In office software, Windows really is the primary target, but it’s not the only target; and ignoring the others or relegating them to second class status is a recipe for failure. Microsoft knows that. Sun does not.

    SVG not working on the Mac? Now who’s trolling? I think I’ve done all or almost all of my SVG work on the mac, and I’ve never had a point (unlike Java and XML) where I had to roll my chair over to my Linux or Windows PCs to get something done the Mac couldn’t handle. SVG is exported by Illustrator, displayed in Firefox, and most of the best software seems to be written in Java that runs as well on my mac as it does on Linux or Windows.

  21. zappini Says:

    I was present during the VRML 97 phase.

    The people adopting VRML were largely from the CAD and 3D modeling communities. And that meant PC. At the time, the Mac was a no show for 3D. A short while later, John Carmack (of id Software, Quake, and Doom fame) convinced then iCEO Steve Jobs to give up proprietary and adopt OpenGL. Since then, 3D for the Mac has improved.

    VRML once had a vibrant and diverse community. It had the mindshare.

    The first hiccup came from the quixotic need to push VRML 97 through the standardizations process. ECMA, the most prestigious of such institutions. There were problems with the spec, mostly with event processing, that needed to be worked out. But the leaders continued to soldier on.

    The push to standardize and the need for correction were in direct conflict. A small vocal minority of us pointed out that other standards groups, like OMG, insisted on functional implementations before standardization. But the wise leaders of VRML wouldn’t hear of it.

    Even so, the community adapted to VRML 97’s problems, much like web monkeys routed around the various browser incompatibilities (e.g. box model, CSS, DOM, JavaScript events, etc.).

    Enter XML.

    What finally killed VRML was the ill-advised rush to embrace XML. X3D was an attempted syntactic transliteration from the beautiful and elegant VRML syntax to the worse-than-wrong XML syntax. A small vocal minority of us, some of whom had actually implemented VRML browsers, tried to point all you get with XML is a new syntax. The schema description languages DTD and XML Schema could not representation the VRML data model. So browser implementations would still need their own validation. So by adopting XML, much complexity was introduced with exactly zero benefit. Well, there was some marketing hype.

    Whether or not going XML was a good idea (it wasn’t), the massive redirect completely sapped the VRML community of its momentum. With the uncertain future, the ecology of interesting projects, tools, and artistry pretty much evaporated.

    So the true cause of VRML’s demise was the classic stuff explained by Fred Brooks in “The Mythical Man-Month” and others. Causes such as the inexperience and hubris of the leaders, the always bad idea of a rewrite, the folly of standardization without working implementations. Etc.

    Cheers, Jason Osgood / Seattle WA

  22. len Says:

    And I say again, go to web sites such as http://www.octaga.com and look at the work being done in X3D. Osgood, you gave up too early. Your’s is a common complaint among those who did. Is XML uglier than classic VRML syntax? XML is uglier than almost any alternative syntax. But it comes with millions of lines of supporting code so while you are in a vocal minority, you are also in a very small one. As the song says, “you made your move too soon”.

    If all X3D is is a transcoding, I would agree. It is an ugly transcoding. On the other hand, significant improvements were made in the VRML design that you overlook including much improved nodes, a much better object model, a much better API (SAI) that supports AJAX.

    Blaming the standards group for making your move too early is like blaming your parents for your last failed relationship. They may shape your decisions but they don’t make them for you. You turned on it early when it disappointed you, and you won’t look ahead or give those who stayed the course credit for what they have achieved. That’s mean-spirited and not just a little self-immolating.

    If VRML had failed, it wouldn’t still be the single largest supported format for all tools combined when importing and exporting. If VRML had failed, companies like Octaga and BitManagement wouldn’t be doing multi-million dollar 3D projects today. If VRML had failed, worlds built ten years ago wouldn’t still be running in browsers built in the last two. If VRML had failed, the US Homeland Security department wouldn’t be using it in HLS projects for training emergency responders nor would it be a US Navy approved standard.

    What VRML could not do as has been pointed out so often is make 3D designers out of web page builders. It couldn’t make real-time 3D as easy as document design. What it can do and is doing is provide a royalty-free unencumbered means to create 3D on the web and off. It saved a information space for use by those who cannot afford Maya but can master tools such as Flux Studio because they have the time and are willing.

    You are missing the point, Elliotte, because you need a whipping post for another project that isn’t winning mindshare as fast as you want it to. Like so many I’ve talked to about Open Office, you don’t want an open unencumbered royalty free means to create and maintain information, you want to beat Microsoft. You want to hurt them. You want it so bad that you’ll tell any story you have to and make the point on any back you can find. You are a better man than that.

    X3D/VRML is succeeding. Do your homework and look at the URIs. Look at the projects. Look at the software. I don’t want EVERYONE to use X3D. We learned in VRML that too few have the talent and that ensures just as you find in SecondLife that a lot of the 3D is terrible. If they want to try, we provide the tutorials for free, software for free, and guarantee the lifecycle. That is all that can be expected. If they can’t make a go of their business or their relationships, that’s life. The world will let you die, it will let you starve, it will let you lose. All a standard can provide is a chance to live, to make money, and to win at the business or hobby or art that you choose, but if you don’t, it can’t.

    If you don’t need 3D, don’t use it. If you do, look at the costs of building it and maintaining it because it is by nature one of the highest cost content types, so if you do use it, figure that out fast because you will burn your customers just as the early wysiwygers before HTML and XML burned customers with closed encumbered systems that died without even a chance of rehosting. Then take another look at VRML/X3D and ask if the only metric for winning in some markets is surviving. Osgood has an axe to grind. Elliotte, you have a cause and may you get what you need, but don’t do it on the back of a worthwhile effort that has done everything necessary to succeed with its values intact and its content still wrling a decade later. There aren’t too many pre-dot.bomb standards that can make that claim and those that can did because their real users kept them alive. Don’t insult them because you didn’t.

    Caveat vendor.

  23. J Gruszynski Says:

    Having “lived” through the VRML hype back in the mid-90s I have to say it wasn’t simply or even primarily the Mac issue that prevented adoption of VRML. It was mostly usability and content creation problems that left it stillborn.

  24. len Says:

    Yep, Grszynski. It was and still is hard if you don’t have the training or don’t do a lot of it. Among things that improved in the last decade is there is a lot more open content out there to provide good View Source code. That means snapping a pretty good world together faster is easier. With the SAI now making HTML DOM to X3D SAI Ajaxable, it is a lot easier to combine everything you learn as a web designer. What you can’t get around is needing good X3D models if you can’t make them. Where a single person can put together a good web page, AJAX X3D just like VRML tends to be a team effort.

    Fortunately, really good tools are dirt cheap or free now and thanks to the efforts of ISO and the W3DC, the IP stayed unencumbered. Those that knee the standards effort in the groin need to grow up and understand how the web really works. This isn’t gibonian cyberspace. This is a business built on values and it is the values that kept it alive when the money and the thin-skinned left to do Flash.

  25. zappini Says:

    Hi Len-

    Few things are more fun that rehashing old debates, no?

    If VRML/X3D is gaining, then I’m glad for you and that community.

    I posted to rebut ERH’s assertion that lack of Mac support was a large cause in the demise of VRML. That simply wasn’t the case. Said as a person who has always loved Macs (I worked for an Apple dealership while in jr high, saved for a year to buy my own Apple IIe, played with the Apple III, Lisa, and first Macs, currently typing on a PowerBook G4). Where Mac got sideways with the CAD and 3D community is lack of software support which was due to lack of commodity accelerated graphics. If AutoCAD, MicroStation, etc, users had Macs, then VRML would have been on Mac too.

    It’s easy to criticize, hard to create. So in arguing against ERH’s theory, I felt it only fair to post my own, to allow him to rebut me.

    Cheers, Jason

  26. len Says:

    It’s going pretty well thanks to the uptake of SecondLife in getting more press for the the idea that 3D On The Web works. More critically, the big organizations talking to the Web3DC to join includes names that surprise even me.

    If Macs had been that important to the web’s growth or the dot.bomb, I might agree with Elliotte because the incontestable truth is the Mac is the platform of choice for artists who could give a fig about the deep geekery of computer science. Unfortunately, it tends toward being a boutique platform and there is nothing wrong with that because particularly in the States, the same people who buy SUVs buy Macs and there is a healthy profit margin. Even in the early days of VRML as one commenter noticed, those with CAD/CAM backgrounds best understood the real reasons to make a 3D standard for the web, and that was not a Mac strength. Anytime the Mac users want an X3D browser for their machines, they can campaign Jobs, or wait for the current vendors to get one ready. There are a couple of projects for that going on as we speak.

    What the American web pundits who declared VRML dead or a failure weren’t noticing it the uptake in Europe and European universities. Even after the dot.bomb and pre-SL, VRML communities running on Blaxxun servers were running with fair numbers. There has never been a time when there wasn’t a commercial VRML browser available. There has never been a time when significant commercial work wasn’t being done with VRML.

    VRML failed in the imaginations of the Americans, most particularly, in the minds of those who think Silicon Valley is the rightful center and heir of all commercial web projects and that is not just silly, it’s provincial. The French, the Germans and the Russians all have going companies based on VRML. Most of them have made the switch to X3D and one is holding out on X3D while simultaneously duplicating the nodes they like in X3D into their own fork of VRML. All are doing good business. VRML/X3D comes down to the applications, so if the question is does it succeed like HTML, the answer is no and it never will. No graphics format or framework ever has or ever will. We tried to tell Pesce that but he was enjoying his celebrity. What failed? Celebrity failed. It is a bad idea to measure oneself or any technology by ‘fortune and men’s eyes’. This is the problem Elliotte and Clay Shirky have with VRML. This is the problem Silly Valley has with it.

    X3D is doing even better and that is good because as the money is looking better, the campaigns to privatize 3D on the web have gotten more attention and are extremely well-funded using all the standard tricks of network-marketing using social media. But that is going on in almost all of the core web technologies through increased private equity purchasing and stacking the boards of the companies and consortia. The next ten years will be very telling on those who espouse one set of values for their own personal favorites and could give a fig about the rest. Sad but so.

  27. Mokka mit Schlag » Silverlight Makes the VRML Mistake Says:

    […] guess Microsoft didn’t read this article. Silverlight will run on the Mac but can’t be authored there. This means at least half the […]

  28. dave Says:

    wow,
    looks like someone at sun is reading this blog..

    Mac OS X port officially supported by Sun !
    Sun Microsystems joins porting effort for OpenOffice.org for Mac

    spooky!

  29. Ian Phillips Says:

    David, you commented “But who is the they that will fix the problems? Granted, since OpenOffice has corporate backing, Sun could hire a roomful of Mac coders to help out…”, and the response is
    http://blogs.sun.com/GullFOSS/entry/sun_microsystems_engineering_joins_porting

    So, now that you apparently have the power to control the actions of major corporations, try to use it responsibly, OK?

  30. Doug Says:

    I’m a developer (not of openoffice), and I was all mac for over 10 years, but around 2002 or so I dumped it after all the misleading marketing (i.e. lying) such as the “megahertz myth” and the fact that K12 schools had mostly dumped macs by then too.

    Now though I have to get a mac again, and I have to choose between a slow expensive macbook, with a smaller screen that my old laptop even though it’s twice as expensive, or a desktop that may or may not run Ubuntu, and costs 3 times what a pc desktop costs. Oh, and if the computer fails, I can’t keep the monitor and replace the computer, because they are both in the same housing.

    But I know one thing, I’m not buying Microsoft Office. OpenOffice is great. Yes, it is slower to start up and uses more memory, but it is fantastic and free and open source and has even more features than Microsoft Office such as save as pdf.

    If Apple wanted to be the “best” platform for java (like it said it wanted to be) or the best platform for OpenOffice or for 3D or for games or for multimedia, they could have simply used some of their engineers to do it, but they didn’t and have always lagged in all those areas. See: http://createdigitalmotion.com/2007/04/26/why-is-apples-support-for-java-multimedia-so-poor/#more-1668

  31. Roland Pibinger Says:

    News
    3rd May 2007
    Sun Officially supports the OpenOffice.org Mac Port
    http://porting.openoffice.org/mac/

  32. struberg Says:

    alisdair Says:
    > a vast majority of oss developers think osx doesn’t need to be considered, since osx users can just run x11.

    Yes, Mac is cool, Mac means good and stable hardware, Mac means perfect graphic integration (compared against Linux) and many other things.

    But a vast majority of OsX users i know are essentially programmers and technicians which only bought a mac because OsX can run X11 applications and you can compile most Linux/BSD stuff on it! It takes more effort to let it run on a Mac, but at least you can.
    The fact that you could only run native Mac Software up to OS9 and can not even compile most ANSI-C stuff really was a showstopper for almost all now-Mac users i know.

    Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:
    >In my experience many open source projects … are actively hostile to making necessary
    >changes to enable truly native Mac applications.

    In the early 90ties I worked a lot with a Mac Quadras and also with a NeXT cubes at the TU Wien, and since OsX essentially is NeXT what do you mean with “truly native Mac applications”?
    After a quick glimpse building a OsX app to me looks much more like building building a Unix application than building a OS8 or OS9 application.

  33. Don Says:

    With my limited experience with publishers, I don’t see Microsoft Word being the defacto standard. I’ve done some technical editing for Macmillan and their preferred tool at the time was OpenOffice.

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