Sun yesterday released an alpha Mac OS X developer version of OpenOffice at WWDC 2002.

The OpenOffice.org 1.0 office suite offers vital productivity applications, including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs. A full version is already available for many platforms.

The developer release is an attempt to attract Mac developers to the solution, as OpenOffice.org – the open source group tasked by Sun with developing the project – tries to bring its solution to OS X.

OpenOffice.org is tasked with creating the suite for all major platforms, accessing all its functionality and data, using open-component-based APIs and an XML-based file format.

The current developer release was built using Darwin, the open-source root of OS X. It is hoped that independent Mac-developers will develop a full OS X port, supporting Quartz and Aqua. The current alpha has been in development by the community since April 2001.

Ed Peterlin, community developer at OpenOffice.org said: “I've been astonished at the speed and quality of the work the community has done. We've been working together in a tight, efficient ensemble, and now have something we can use.”

The current build uses the X11 windowing system from Xfree86.org. The group is asking developers to pick-up on the project, track down bugs, test and develop features and make suggestions.

Ron Okamoto, Apple's vice president of worldwide developer relations said: “Apple is delighted that a Mac OS X port of the major open source office suite, OpenOffice.org 1.0, has progressed so far so quickly.”

Sun caused consternation when ceased development of its Sun StarOffice for Mac OS, but the decision to press for an OS X port stands the company in good light. Sun's current statement on this says: “The open-source community now has Sun's contribution to the port, giving it a massive head start which, when built upon, will result in a version of OpenOffice.org for Mac OS X 10.0.x.”

Zaheda Bhorat, community manager, OpenOffice.org, Sun Microsystems said: “Combining the enthusiasm and expertise of the OpenOffice.org community and the Unix-based, open standards nature of Mac OS X – such as its support for popular open source software standards like X11 and gcc – enabled us to add exciting new platforms like Mac OS X to our large and growing list of platforms.”