Mac software for text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations

Frequently Asked Questions

What is NeoOffice?

NeoOffice is a complete office suite for Mac OS X. With NeoOffice, users can read, create, and edit text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. NeoOffice can open OpenOffice documents. NeoOffice can also open most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.

NeoOffice is extremely stable and thousands of users use it daily. The NeoOffice engineers created NeoOffice in 2003 when they made OpenOffice run natively on Mac OS X for the first time.

Since then, the NeoOffice engineers - Patrick Luby and Ed Peterlin - have continually added improvements to NeoOffice that users will not find in OpenOffice such as:

NeoOffice is not perfect. Although we try very hard to make NeoOffice free of bugs and crashes, our users still find new bugs and new cases that cause NeoOffice to crash. So, if you feel that you need software that has been heavily tested, we recommend that you use a commercially-supported product like Microsoft Office or Apple iWork.

I am having problems. How can I get help?

If you have any problems, a list of suggested steps for finding an answer for a problem as fast as possible is available on the NeoOffice Support page.

Is my payment data private?

We do not sell or share your e-mail address or any of your payment data.

If you make a payment using PayPal, we only store the payment's e-mail address, amount, and date. PayPal does not allow us access to any other data that you have given them so we neither see nor store any private PayPal user payment data such as credit card or bank account numbers.

If you make a payment using the Mac App Store, we do not store any payment data. Apple does not allow us access to any Mac App Store user payment data so we neither see nor store any Mac App Store private user payment.

Can I copy NeoOffice?

Yes. Since NeoOffice is distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), you can copy it as much as you like and give it to whomever you want.

Since providing user support consumes much of our funds, there are some restrictions on when you can use the NeoOffice trademark. So, if you are selling NeoOffice, you must comply with the NeoOffice CD Distribution and Trademark Usage policy.

NeoOffice is open source software. Aren't NeoOffice downloads required to be free?

No. Open source applies to the type of license used for the software's source code and NeoOffice's source code uses the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Selling download services for pre-built binaries is not a violation of the GPL. Apparently this misunderstanding of the GPL is so common GNU - the organization that wrote the GPL - clearly states that there is no such requirement in their GPL FAQ.

The GPL does require that anyone can access, modify, and redistribute source code and so, to ensure compliance with the GPL's source code requirements, we have always provided detailed instructions for accessing and building the NeoOffice source code are on the NeoOffice Build Instructions page.

The cost and time spent on NeoOffice is very large for Patrick and Ed - the Mac software engineers that have created all of the improvements in NeoOffice that are not in OpenOffice. While many free software products such as Firefox and Google Docs are funded by huge payments from large corporations, NeoOffice has no corporate sponsors. Without any corporate sponsors, Patrick and Ed must rely exclusively on payments from our users to continue implementing the latest Mac OS X features in NeoOffice.

Why use the full GPL?

Using the full GPL ensures that anyone has the right to use our GPL source code and create a better product. Funding and operating the NeoOffice project has always been difficult for us so we chose the GPL to ensure that if we are unable to fund or develop what users need, anyone who has the applicable engineering skills can create their own GPL office suite using our source code without having to invest a massive amount of time to redo the work that we have already done.

Essentially, by using the GPL we are trying to make it is as easy as possible for anyone in the open source community to create their own open source office suite. Our hope is that the open source community will someday find our source code useful and will use our source code to create new open source products for Mac OS X users.

Where can I get the NeoOffice source code?

Instructions for accessing and building the NeoOffice source code are on the NeoOffice Build Instructions page.

Note that if you modify any of the NeoOffice code, you must release your modifications under the GPL. In other words, you cannot make proprietary modifications to NeoOffice and we aggressively enforce the terms of the GPL against anyone who does not GPL their modifications.

Why is NeoOffice separate from OpenOffice and LibreOffice?

The primary reason that we stay separate is that we believe that we have produced a more stable and better supported Mac OS X product than OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

Developing the NeoOffice code and supporting our users have required a massive amount of our time. Since neither OpenOffice nor LibreOffice have ever offered to fund our work and none of us can afford to work full time as volunteers, working within the OpenOffice or LibreOffice projects is not a feasible option for us.

So instead, many years ago we took the risk of funding our work solely through payments from our users. While payments from our users have not always fully funded our work, so far payments from our users have provided us with enough funding to ensure that at least one engineer is devoting all of their time to the NeoOffice project.