Chris Nokleberg's Fizzy Weblog
Today we are releasing a free Java-based desktop application which can view Microsoft PowerPoint 97-2003 presentations. Download it here, or look at the screenshots. It uses the same underlying code as our enterprise Java libraries and should run on any platform where the 1.5 JRE is available.
OS X and Linux users should find it especially useful as Microsoft does not provide a free viewer for those platforms (the last viewer for the Mac was for Office 98 and requires OS 9). It should also start up faster and have better overall fidelity than free office suites like OpenOffice. There is no true "slide show" mode yet (we hope to add that eventually), but the slide navigator view and incremental search feature make browsing nicer.
Although fidelity is one of our top goals, there are likely a few things that are "not quite right" because our knowledge of the file format is necessarily reverse-engineered. If you find a presentation which demonstrates a bug, please visit our forums. Of course feature suggestions are welcome too!
On the technical side, there are a bunch of libraries and tools which we used in creating the viewer, besides the standard ones like Ant and Emacs . Here are most of them:
The code is structured so that the viewer could be launched via Java Web Start, although the experience isn't quite as nice as a desktop app. If anyone really wants to run this via Web Start, let me know.