More “Office Hippies” than “Office Pirates”

Has it been three years already? According to our records it has. Three years ago we first began to wade into the open waters of OpenOffice.org, a free alternative to the Microsoft Office.

At the the time it showed a lot of potential and we knew this was the direction to go; the Microsoft suite of applications had become so expensive and so bloated that it was no longer worthwhile to purchase. If you did you got a pile of programs that had 10x the features you’d ever use dealing you both a performance and financial hit.

Though not necessarily speedier, OpenOffice.org at least let you do spreadsheets for free and enjoy full compatibility with all major forms of document, spreadsheet, and presentation format. It seemed pretty good for Intel machines (Windows, Linux) but wasn’t fully compatible with Mac.

In order to run on Mac you had to install an additional service on your computer called X11 (akin to OS 9 “Classic” or the new “Rosetta”). Setup required a developer kit plus a convoluted setup. Launching the program was done by running an Applescript that would set off a chain reaction of starting X11, then the OpenOffice.org suite.

Once you got it running you’d notice how X11 (unix) looks like ass, has an entirely different interface than OS X (everything from windows to menus to the cursor) and doesn’t work very gracefully with Apple’s fonts or print drivers etc.

Luckily a group of good people took the OpenOffice.org base code and ported it to OS X and have been integrating it slowly with Aqua and more. It’s called NeoOffice and it runs off Java which is alright since OS X is running all the time anyway. After an initial lag on startup performance isn’t terrible, and it looks a LOT better than the base OpenOffice.org. As of this writing I would also say that NeoOffice 2.1 looks a LOT better than Microsoft Office; it’s interface has been given a new set of icons and the interface is really clean and simple.


I have to presume that the pirate ship icon is more a “fight the power” kind of thing than “steal software”. As such, Haus Interactive designed the Mac icon you see below to replace the existing one.

We are happy to re-release it today:

You can download .icns file here.

To use:

  • after downloading the icon single click it to highlight and “get info” (Apple-i on the keyboard or right-click and choose “get info”)
  • “copy” (Apple-c on the keyboard or the menu “edit/copy”)
  • single click on your NeoOffice icon and “get info”
  • click on the icon and you’ll see it highlight in blue
  • “paste” the new icon (Apple-v on the keyboard or the menu “edit/paste”)

If it doesn’t work you may need to change the permission on the NeoOffice application temporarily. To do this:

  • in the “get info” screen expand the “Ownership & Permissions” section and under “details” click the little padlock, enter your password, change ownership from “system” to your name
  • after you successfully paste in the new icon change the permissions back to “system” and lock the padlock

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