Forwarding Address: OS X

Sunday, March 13, 2005


Since I last re-installed my system I've made a conscious effort to not use MS software, mostly to see how easily it could be done. The answer: very. There's Adium X for chatting, Safari and Firefox for browsing, Mail for mailing, and Mesa for spreadsheeting.

Yesterday morning I noticed that Abiword 2.2.5 is available for OS X and it is very impressive indeed. A lot of noise has been resonating through the Mac community lately about the veritable demise of OpenOffice for OS X (aka 'glacial development') which makes me sad since it held great promise but I'm happy that Abiword is looking like an excellent Word replacement indeed.

A request: If you're using NeoOffice or know of an OS X equivalent for Visio then please, by all means, post to the comments. I'd like to know.


  • "OS X equivalent for Visio"

    One word: OmniGraffle

    By Anonymous, at 9:57 AM  

  • OmniGraffle Pro supposedly reads/writes Visio XML files - no idea how well that works though.

    By Anonymous, at 10:38 AM  

  • OmniGraffle is indeed fantastic. I use it in a Windows environment in conjuction with Word. Export PDF from OmniGraffle and place in a Word document. It also can do Viso's XML format, which is only supported in Visio 2003 I believe.

    By Josh, at 12:14 PM  

  • Don't forget Apple's own replacement, "Pages" (sold along with KeyNote 2 in iWork '05.) I don't have much use for any of these beyond decrypting proprietary documents sent to me by people who should know better, but Pages is at least "easy on the eyes", much more mac-esque than older versions of abiword (haven't looked at the new one you mentioned.)

    By Mark Eichin, at 1:12 PM  

  • I've used OmniGraffle Professional to read and write Visio 2002 XML files (i.e., in order for OmniGraffle Pro to work w Visio files, the files *must* be exported/saved as Visio XML files 'filename.vxd'). It works to some degree, but I'm hoping their recent release candidate work better than the last. I tried to work with the developers to troubleshoot some problems I was having opening a Visio file. I don't think OmniGraffle Pro can open complicated Visio files, but at least there's an option on the Mac...

    By Anonymous, at 8:48 AM  

  • I don't think it is compatible with Visio, but for diagramming you can use Dia, the open source programming for drawing structured diagrams like flowcharts.

    I'm sure most Mac OS X users are unaware that thousands of open source programs are available for tasks such as this.

    You can install dia through the FINK system, available at

    Once FINK is installed, install Fink Commander, find the dia package and install.


    By Anonymous, at 6:08 PM  

  • I'd never heard of Dia before - thanks! And you're absolutely right: 99% of OS X users probably have no idea how to find out what's available to them out there, especially if it requires X11.

    Thanks for pointing Dia out.

    By Chris, at 6:58 AM  

  • A note on OpenOffice for OSX.
    It happens that the 2.0 (beta) is right now being ported on OSX. Development has never really stopped (check the OOo porting lists and you'll see).

    As for NeoOffice/J it works amazingly well, with a beta based on OOo 1.1.3, and constant patch releases. I always found Abisoft for OSX a little buggy, NeoOffice is really stable.

    By JCH, at 7:46 AM  

  • Sweet - I look forward to getting my 2.0 for messing around with.

    By Chris, at 6:43 AM  

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  • By Anonymous, at 3:36 PM  

  • Yup, I've been using NeoOffice (they seem to have dropped the "/J") for a while now, and it works very nicely. Much better than the yukky X11 port of OpenOffice, anyway. I'm not convinced about the diagramming tool, but the spreadsheet & word processing (does anyone use that term any more?) functionality seem pretty good. It copes reasonably well with MS Office documents too.
    In fact, now I come to think about it, there are some things it does much better, such as the way it handles formulae in tables within a document (as opposed to a spreadsheet).

    By Chrisl, at 5:50 AM  

  • NeoOffice is NOT a a good replacement for Visio. It seems it has everything where you could make the same pictures, however it only allows you to save your files in some NeoOffice propiatory format. The whole point of open source software is to use an open document format like xml drawings.

    By B, at 9:22 PM  

  • Omnigraffle is a great mac alternative for Visio and works really well. The only thing you have to worry about is making sure that you dont have shadows or any fills enabled or else it will come out weird once you export it to Visio format. I have been using Omnigraffle in a professional work enviroment on a project to visually map out the company's computer network. The place has gotten so bug that they sometimes have trouble finding and keeping track of computers. As a mac user, I had to find an alternative to the PC dominated corporate enviroment.The only thing that I have not been able to do in Omnigraffle is add details to an image so it can shows stuff like the computer's ip address, net name, etc. If you have any questions let me know.

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