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IBM calls its new office productivity suite, built upon OpenOffice, Lotus Symphony. This disappoints two groups. The first group, fans like me of OpenOffice, wish it kept the OpenOffice name to help further the open cause. The second group wishes the old Lotus Symphony office suite, an early competitor to Microsoft Office, had climbed out of the grave.
Some people get sniffy about OpenOffice.org, calling it mickey mouse in comparison to the “serious” and “grown-up” Microsoft Office. That may have been a vaguely plausible jibe for version 1, but I've found version 2 to be incredibly fast and powerful – it really does everything I need in an office suite, and it does it well. And yet OpenOffice.org rarely gets the respect it deserves.
When you think about office suites, two names come to mind: Microsoft Office and OpenOffice. Although the vast majority of Linux users depend upon OpenOffice for their office needs, the alternatives should not be overlooked.
For the past six years or so, my office productivity suite of choice has been OpenOffice.org. In that time, I've watched the suite progress slowly but steadily toward the goal of being "just as good" as Microsoft Office.
Last month, just one week after IBM announced it would help with OpenOffice.org's development, the company released Lotus Symphony, an office suite based on OpenOffice.org code. I found a lot of slick features in Lotus Symphony, but I worry that Symphony could affect the OpenOffice.org community adversely.
At the beginning of the year I wrote about IBM Lotus Symphony Beta 3, IBM's closed source OpenOffice-based free office suite. Now the final release, Lotus Symphony 1 is out. I wasn't impressed last time, but I installed the final release on Ubuntu 8.04 to test it out.
Expanding its efforts to offer an alternative to Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT)'s Office desktop applications, IBM (NYSE:IBM) is making its free Lotus Symphony office productivity suite available for Apple (NSDQ:AAPL)'s Mac OS X and Canonical's Ubuntu Linux.
Typing documents, use of spreadsheets and slideshows are essential tools in the life of almost every professional. The largest of the problems found in Microsoft Office according to the vast majority of users is its price. This obligation on having to pay for an Office application suite has stimulated the development of OpenOffice.
The developers of the beloved OpenOffice.org office suite are giving serious development time to the despised and reviled ribbon interface of Microsoft Office 2007. I was, well, shocked to say the least.