Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

After I spent few days getting familiar with usability and interface design field, I've got a question.

Apple was the initial leader in GUI design research, and today most Mac users use OS X, because its best at usability and increases productivity very much. iWork is a great lightweight office pack, which has all the benefits of its OS.

But when it comes to open source, we have OOo and LibreOffice, which almost entirely copy MS Office. Okay, that's probably to make os-office adaptation less painful, but I didn't find any kind of open source iWork alternative. So I have to use this buggy (yet?) and slow monster(imho).

My questions are:

  • Is there currently any kind of open-source office like iWork? Released or in development?
  • Microsoft doesn't seem to worry about OOo looks like MS Office 2003. But how to start iWork replacement development without risk of lawsuit from Apple? Could someone explain the situation with this to me?
share|improve this question

migrated from Jan 23 '11 at 20:27

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

It jumps from Beans and so on (can read docs, but badly) to iWork/Office/etc. LibreOffice might be worth a look, I haven't yet. If you really need office-compatibility look at M$ Office live or Google docs. – tobylane Jan 23 '11 at 21:14
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Part of the answer to your question is that iWork itself was designed to be an Office alternative. It's not open source, true, but it does try to offer file compatibility the same way OpenOffice does.

And actually, there is at least one product out there designed to look like iWork. is a Keynote clone that runs in a web browser. It's cool because it's built with Cappucino, an Open Source web framework that runs on Objective-J which is built on top of JavaScript. (both are modeled after Cocoa and Objective-C.)

@woodleader is correct that Apple (or any software developer) can only sue if you've stolen intellectual property, such as graphics, trademarked brands, or if you literally stole source code from Apple. Writing an open-source clone with infringement-free graphics and trademarks is totally legal.

Be aware that there is also a port of OpenOffice for Mac OS X called NeoOffice.

share|improve this answer
I've not used NeoOffice since 3.0 had a native OS X build. Is there any reason to use NeoOffice nowadays? When moving away from (Oracle's) I for no real reason guess I'd use LibreOffice instead. (As an aside: consider changing "original graphics" into "self-made graphics", to ensure one cannot read that as "Apple's original graphics"?) – Arjan Jan 23 '11 at 22:08
Thanks a lot, it's all clear now. – creitve Jan 24 '11 at 8:50

No there isn't an open-source office suite that is made to look like iWork.

Apple can't sue you for making an program that has the same functionality and looks like iWork. But you are not allowed to use exactly the same icons and themes. You need to design these on your own and I think this is the reason why there is no open-source alternative to iWork. iWork is different to MS Office because of it's design and not it's functionality... And I think the hard work you would need to redesign every tiny graphic inside of iWork is the big problem with this.

share|improve this answer
Thanks in advance! – creitve Jan 24 '11 at 8:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .