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02 July 2009, 16:42

Hard times for NeoOffice

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The developers of the open source office suite for Mac OS X, NeoOffice, have announced that, due to very low donation levels this year, they will be forced to make severe cutbacks to the services provided for users. NeoOffice is funded entirely by donations from users. The donations are used to pay staff and to provide various services, including answering support questions, providing fixes for major bugs and the hosting required to support hundreds of thousands of free downloads each month. According to a forum post by developer Patrick Luby (AKA 'pluby'), the developers need to "significantly reduce" their costs in order to keep the project running.

As a result of the cutbacks, the developers will now only answer support questions from large donors and the downloads may become restricted if more mirrors are lost. According to the post, donors that have donated enough to be Early Access Program members are currently paying more than 50 per cent of the overall costs, making The Early Access Program business model the primary source of income. Members that join the program by donating $25 (€19 or £13) or more are given access to download the newest release six weeks before other users. The next major release, NeoOffice 3.0.1, will be available to Early Access Program members on the 15th of September, 2009. Other users will need to wait until the 27th of October to download a copy.

NeoOffice 3.0 is an open source office suite based on version 3.0.1 of and includes many of the most commonly used features in Microsoft Office. A detailed comparison between NeoOffice 3.0, Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac and OpenOffice 3.0.1 is available on the NeoOffice Wiki. NeoOffice supports Intel or PowerPC based Macs running Mac OS X 10.4 or higher and is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL).


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