Archive for the ‘Mac OS X’ Category

May

02

by Kaj Kandler

I just started to use multiple monitors on Mac OS X (Leopard) and immediately encountered issues with Outlook for Mac OS X. When I open a new window, to write a new e-mail, it positions the window on the main monitor and not on the second monitor where I have Outlook open.

That becomes very annoying when you use Screen Sharing and look only at one monitor at a time.

A small tool, SizeUp, comes to the rescue. SizeUp lets me most of all move the current active window to the other monitor, using a keystroke. So when I open a new window and it appears on the wrong monitor I can easily put it into its place.

SizeUp also allows to size the currently active window to the right or left half so I can have two windows side by side on a monitor, which is great for copying comparing documents.

June

29

by Kaj Kandler

For over 8 months I have been working on a Mac Pro now. Let me share some of my experience with the you.

First I ran the beast with Windows XP on it. And this machine is a beast! It’s quad core server type processors are fast and the box in itself is put together in a way that it deserves the “Pro” for professional in its name. After realizing that memory under Windows XP was limited to 2 GB for some reason and we could not get it to even accept 3 GB of the 6 that it was configured with, I decided to switch to its native Mac OS X.

Let me share a few of my impressions to use a Mac OS X for programming, lots of reading/browsing, e-mail and Office work:

  • It does use memory economical. I can run way more apps at the same time than on my Windows XP laptop with the same amount of RAM (only 4 GB of the 6 GB it originally had). Not to mention that is stays responsive even with my usual 20 – 30 tabs in Firefox.
  • It is rock solid. It runs weeks w/o reboot, unless I start Windows in Parallels. The Windows VM does bring the machine to a crawls after a day or two. Don’t know if it is Windows or Mac OS X.

More in my next post.

March

12

by Kaj Kandler

At ZDNet, Christopher Dawson compares NeoOffice vs. OpenOffice vs. Office 2008 vs. iWork. He obviously comprares them on Mac OS X, as GeoOffice or iWork and Office 2008 are special releases for the Apple Mac platform.

His report is influenced by his experience managing the IT for a school in Western Massachusetts. Chris concludes:

iWork is very slick and integrates well brilliantly with iLife. It’s easy to use, but powerful enough for serious users. However, it’s lack of compatibility with open file formats is of concern. Office 2008 is also slick and highly functional but not nearly as effortless to navigate. Even with academic pricing (iWork is priced around $10/license academic versus almost $70/license for Office), Office is a bit pricey and hard to justify when cheaper or free alternatives exist. OpenOffice for the Mac really isn’t worth a second look right now given its lack of integration and compatibility. NeoOffice has its niggles, but is generally a solid, easy to use office suite. Even if you choose iWork of Office, it should be installed on all of your users’ machines to ensure compatibility with their students. It could certainly stand alone, as well, but the relatively inexpensive iWork is a hard bit of kit to pass up.

October

26

by Kaj Kandler

Apple releases tomorrow its latest version of Mac OS X called Leopard. It’s build-in text editor TextEdit now supports ODF and MS OOXML. This means it can exchange text documents with OpenOffice.org Writer, NeoOffice Writer and also with MS Word 2007.

Many Mac OS X fans now hope that Apple will soon support the ISO standard ODF in the iApplications such as iWork.

September

18

by Kaj Kandler

Today, IBM released Lotus Symphony, its version of OpenOffice.org as a free offering to business, government and consumer users.

The productivity suite is free to download. Interestingly the website only presents three applications, “Documents”, “Presentations” and “Spreadsheets.” The Database functionality of OpenOffice.org is apparently missing. The Suite supports Windows XP or Vista and Linux RedHat or Novell SuSE. A discussion about MAC OS X support has already started in the support forums.

Lotus Symphony does naturally support ODF and also can read and write the Microsoft Office formats most of the time. The latest MS OOXML is not yet supported.

Unfortunately this is another species in the jungle called Open Office eco-system.

P.S.: If you are PC veteran, you might remember the Lotus Symphony for DOS, which included Lotus 1-2-3. This is not the same!

May

23

by Kaj Kandler

It was bound to happen sooner or later, OpenOffice.org caught it’s first worm. Sophos reports the first sightings of an OOo scripting worm in the wild. It uses an OOo document to carry itself. Remarkably, the worm is cross platform and uses perl on Linux, ruby on Mac OS X and JavaScript on Windows to infect other files and distribute itself through instant messaging.

The damage? It looks like the worm does download and display a porn image.

To the delight of Sophos, the presumable author did send the file directly to Sophos address.

May

09

by Kaj Kandler

Apple’s notebooks have become increasingly popular. OpenOffice.org does run on Apple’s MAC OS X operating system However it does not comply with the OS X user interface, called Aqua. Sun Microsystems has now decided to commit two full time developers to produce a full MAC OS X compliant port of OpenOffice.org.

Even among the geeks at recent BarCamp Boston 2 it seemed they had gained a majority. So it comes to no surprise that OpenOffice.org on Apple’s OS X is seen as deficient, because it lacks full integration into the User experience. The current version requires the X windowing system to be installed. This poses a double whammy for users, because

  1. It is an extra installation step, that might not so experienced users from using it
  2. It does conform to the X Window user interface created for Unix systems, with significant differences to the way other programs work on OS X

There is a porting project underway which has been run solely by volunteers so far. Sun now committed two full time developers to support these efforts. Unfortunately this is only one of two projects that work towards the same goal. The second project being NeoOffice, which tries to achieve the Aqua user interface through using Java. I wished that those two projects could pool their resources and expertise in order to achieve this very desirable goal faster.

October

13

by Kaj Kandler

Highly anticipated, the next minor release of OpenOffice.org is out officially today. You can download release 2.0.4 here.

It is mostly a bug fix release. However it brings support for several new local data such as Namibian Afrikaans, Tigrigina Eritrea, Amharic Ethiopia, Tajik Tajikistan, Kirghiz, and Farsi Iran. OpenOffice.org is now capable to format locale dependent information such as date and time in these languages.

Release 2.0.4 improves the integration with KDE, using now system wide parameters correctly. Apple OS X users will like the better integration of native fonts into applications.

Calc became a function “INFO” that allows to ask for system data and makes spreadsheets more compatible with Microsoft Excel. An improve HTML import makes is more likely for Calc to read HTML formatted tables correctly.

Impress got a new feature to save shapes as images directly from the context menu.

OpenOffice.org can now also import LaTeX formatted files. Also this release lays the ground work for OpenOffice.org extensions to be come popular and easier to manage.

And last but not least, OpenOffice.org release 2.0.4 is supposed to be wicked fast at start up.

I’ll report on my experience after I have used the new release a few days.

August

31

by Kaj Kandler

A french lead team works feverishly on porting OpenOffice.org natively to Mac OS X. Don’t get me wrong, OpenOffice.org runs already on Mac OS X. However, the current port does require X Windows. This means the software does not look like an OS X application and it requires an extra package to be installed. These are extra hurdles to overcome and might prevent new users from trying out OpenOffice.org. One solution so far was NeoOffice, an effort to integrate OpenOffice.org more closely with OS X.

It appears another team is working towards the same goal right in the original OpenOffice.org code base. They are ready to present their work at OpenOffice.org Conference 2006 (Lyon), September 11- 13 and Apple Expo (Paris), September 12 to 16.

August

09

by Kaj Kandler

eWeek reports about Microsoft’s plans for the next version of Office for Mac. They will ditch support for Visual Basic macros in favor of AppleScript and and automator integration.

Does this open an opportunity for OpenOffice.org (and its OS-X cousin NeoOffice) to become the true enterprise office suite that ensures macro compatibility across Windows, Linux and OS-X?