Sun boosts Mac OpenOffice push

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Sun boosts Mac OpenOffice push

Company commits to porting open-source suite.

Sun Microsystems has committed to helping produce a MacOS X version of the popular openoffice.org software suite.

The company said that it will be providing a pair of paid developers to the effort, which is currently comprised entirely of volunteers.

"If you look around at conferences and airport lounges, you will notice that more and more people are using Apple notebooks these days," Phillipp Lohmann, one of the Sun developers, wrote on a company blog.

"We are supporting this port because of the interest and activity of the community wanting this port."

Openoffice.org offers a free alternative to the Microsoft's Office suite. Sun kickstrated the project in 2000 when it released its StarOffice suite under an open source license. The server vendor is still the largest single contributor to the project.

Sun also uses some of OpenOffice.org source code as the base for its commercial Star Office suite. A spokesperson for the company told VNU that it is "quite possible" that the project could eventually lead to a Mac version of Star Office.

Among the projects Lohmann and Herbert Duerr will help with is a version of openoffice.org that is native to Apple's Aqua interface.

The current Macintosh version of the software requires the use of a plug-in for X11, a user-interface designed for Unix systems. The group is working to create a version that runs within Apple's native interface.

"I'm really happy about this new task," Duerr said in a posting to the project's mailing list.

"From a technology standpoint of course and for an important social reason: A lot of people I really appreciate are addicted to the Mac."
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