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IBM Challenges Microsoft with Free Office Suite 378

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the helping-openoffice-seems-a-bit-insincere dept.
BBCWatcher writes "Reuters is reporting that IBM plans to announce a free, downloadable office suite today in a direct challenge to Microsoft. The news comes only a week after IBM announced they were joining OpenOffice.org and dedicating 35 developers to the project. IBM is resurrecting an old name for this brand new software: Lotus Symphony. The new Symphony, based on Open Office, is yet another product to support Open Document Format (ODF), the ISO standard for universal document interchange. There are about 135 million Lotus Notes users, and they will also receive Symphony free. IBM support will be available for a fee. There are no details yet about platform support, but IBM is supporting Lotus Notes 8 on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows, so at least those three are likely."
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IBM Challenges Microsoft with Free Office Suite

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  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:07AM (#20649891) Homepage Journal
    ibm is a much more trusted source in the eyes of all sizes of businesses. its joining the open office movement have made the movement pass the critical mass. now open office and variants are practically de facto office suites of future.
    • by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:13AM (#20649953) Homepage
      And since IBM isn't really in the PC operating system business any more, they aren't abusing a monopoly position to do this. This is a beautiful move by IBM.

      There's still a long way to go to bring back open standards and real competition, but whittling away at the office suite is a good start.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PunkOfLinux (870955)
        Did anyone else notice the lack the mention of Openoffice in the actual article?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fermion (181285)
      Probably not. IBM provides solutions. The problem was that thier solutions were expensive. MS response was to allow businesses to buy cheap hardware, buy at the time not extravagantly priced OS, and then use whatever IT support one can afford. This allowed firms that previously could not afford an IT solution to have at least a facade of one. Of course reliability and effeciency was often much less, but of course so was cost.

      Recall that Sun also tried this office competition, and tied it to a system

      • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:34AM (#20650137) Homepage Journal
        Let me put it this way,

        in the past, ibm was for big business. ms was medium and small businesses' friend.

        with this move, ibm, who is still the friend of the big businesses is pushing forward something that is more flexible and cheap - open office. it is free and it is going to get so much flexibility with modules, 3rd party apps and so that its going to be a blast of flexibility.

        many big businesses happily using something that is free and they can control means that any small to medium businesses doing business with them will feel compelled, even felt necessary to use the same suite in regard to ease and compatibility.

        then, so long microsoft, in regard to office suite.
      • by Gr8Apes (679165) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:35AM (#20650153)

        My suspicion is that firms like the flexibility that the MS solution provides. Computers will work well enough with almost no support(I have seen no MS shop staff support at adequate numbers to keep the machines running), and the support personal are usually semi-skilled so if they complain about over work, they are easily replaced.
        And those are the reasons why most MS shops are riddled with spyware, adware, viruses, etc.

        Lots of people think they're capable of supporting MS software just like lots of lemmings believe they can walk on air....
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anubis350 (772791)
          Lemmings don't *think* they can walk on air, they *know* it the problem is, gravity doesn't agree with them (SAT time kids, lemmings::most MS techs as gravity::_______ ):-p
    • by speaker of the truth (1112181) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:30AM (#20650091)

      now open office and variants are practically de facto office suites of future.
      Which is a shame because the latest version of Open Office Calc is inferior to Excel 2003 (as I said here). [slashdot.org] I hope that IBM's support for OOo can make it a better program so that it quickly surpasses the old "de facto office suite" in functionality and use.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Renegade88 (874837)
        I use Calc at least casually and I prefer it to Excel, of which I consider myself an expert. I didn't get your "cut and paste" example at all. Calc pastes data exactly where you say and you're upset because it overwrites data that you left in the target area? What? So thanks for your opinion, mine differs.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Open a spreadsheet in Excel and label 6 cells from A1-A6. Now select row 5 right click and select cut. Select row 1 and right click and select "Insert Cut Cells." You still have 5 labelled cells, the order they're in is simply different. Now trying doing this very basic activity in Calc and see if you get the same results. Nope, you don't.

          I'd say Calc is the inferior product in being unable to perform this very basic activity.
          • Hmmm... I've been using excel for years and I've never had occasion to use that feature. You're basing your entire evaluation of a product on one rarely-used feature? Personally I'd like to be able to change the default graph style in excel. Can't do that either, but you don't see me screaming for the exits.
            • As I said in my original post on the other article its a feature I use on a pretty regular basis, so its not rarely used for me.
              • Hmm...I sense two options for you:

                1. Record a little macro or write a quick little script (the operations you need are: copy, insert, paste, delete).
                2. Write to the OOo developers

                The beauty of option #2 is that it is open source, and the developers actually care about what you have to say (most of the time).

              • by NoOneInParticular (221808) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:40AM (#20650871)
                Okay, cut, insert, and paste does the trick. Excel has a menu item for this doing the insert and the paste in one go. What's the big deal? If you really want to, you can add it as a macro.
          • by Idaho (12907) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:24AM (#20650661)

            Open a spreadsheet in Excel and label 6 cells from A1-A6. Now select row 5 right click and select cut. Select row 1 and right click and select "Insert Cut Cells." You still have 5 labelled cells, the order they're in is simply different. Now trying doing this very basic activity in Calc and see if you get the same results. Nope, you don't.


            Goodness my...instead you have to select 'Insert', press enter to select the default option to move the other cells down 9i.e. insert a row), and paste the cell you just cut. Involves 1 extra mouse click/key-press, in exchange for a simpler right-click menu.

            Yes, I would certainly call that a showstopper bug, uhhhuhhh.
          • by myxiplx (906307)
            So you're complaining about a different product, just for being a different product? It's not that you can't do your job with it, just that it means learning a slightly different way to do it?

            Do you also complain about people fitting different handles to their doors? I bet differing brands of kettles or washing machines are a constant nightmare for you, and for the love of god don't try to drive abroad, I think the shock could kill you.

            Getting back on topic, it's a different program, you have to expect a
        • OK mr. Self-Proclaimed-Excel-Expert, please explain how to chart the following in OO.org, on the same graph.

          x1 y1 x2 y2
          01 01 01 01
          02 03 05 11
          03 05 07 21
          04 07
          05 09
          06 11
          07 13


          Fact of the matter is (as of 6 months ago at least, last I tried) you can't - you need to share the same abscissa for each data series plotted on a chart. But if I'm looking at outputs from a simulation at varying data rates, I can't go in by hand and insert fake interpolated data points ... it's time consuming. And why shou
      • Openoffice is fine for a casual user, but once you "get beneath the hood" and start really getting into it, you realize it falls well short of MS Office. The last version of their Word knockoff I used was TERRIBLE for layout. Text boxes would end up in weird places, it couldn't seem to handle transparency in graphics, layering was hit-and-miss. Now 90% of users are never going to use these features, but MS Office has them there for the power users. That's what you get for your $300.
    • by bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:42AM (#20650209)
      Yea, I would much rather become IBMs bitch than MS bitch... or not. Just ignore IBMs absurd pricing, neglect of Lotus Notes (where is the Linux client???), massive lay-offs replacing workers with H1-Bs and offshoring, etc... Yea, bunch of fucking saints over at IBM, until you have to do business with them.
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:46AM (#20650241)

      ibm is a much more trusted source in the eyes of all sizes of businesses.

      I'm not sure how you can support that claim. Pretty much all businesses today are heavily reliant on Windows and Office. I suspect a rather small proportion of all businesses use IBM kit, and I suspect that nearly all of those that do are medium-sized or large businesses, not the small businesses that drive economies.

      now open office and variants are practically de facto office suites of future.

      Sure they are. Also, this is the year of Linux on the desktop and Firefox will have a majority share of the browser market by 2008.

      The fundamental problem here is that OpenOffice just isn't as good as MS Office. If all you want is something to type a letter or a quick table of calculations, sure, it's fine. But it lacks the power, usability and feature completeness of MS Office. Pretending otherwise is just wishful thinking by OSS fans, as is pretending businesses are going to change their office suite just to avoid spending a few dollars per employee on a more productive tool.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "The fundamental problem here is that OpenOffice just isn't as good as MS Office."

        People keep saying this, but not backing it up. I can think of a few things MS Office has that OOo does not. But I can think of a few things that OOo has that MS Office does not. People who have trouble with OOo seem to be people who were originally trained with MS Office, and so it should come as no surprise that they are having trouble. Yes, things are in different places. Yes, things have different names.

        There is a

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          People keep saying this, but not backing it up.

          I've backed it up, in great detail and with many objective examples of features and specific bugs, in multiple previous posts. I didn't see the point in repeating all of that here, but please do Google my posting history (search for things like Writer and Word) if you're interested.

          There is always room for improvement, but what we need is more people trained to use OOo.

          I respectfully disagree. While I really am grateful to the OpenOffice guys for giving me a basic office suite I can use for free at home, I think OO is damaging in the long run, because (a) it insists on trying to be a Word

        • by TopShelf (92521)
          Right off the bat, doesn't the OO spreadsheet have a record limitation that's only around 30K, rather than 62K for MS Office 2003, and practically limitless in Office XP? That's a deal-killer right there for many business analysts.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Bert64 (520050)
            The row limit is 65535, and excel has the same limitation i believe.
            OO is in an unfortunate position that, if they were to have a higher limit, people would use the extra cells and then try to save their files in ms formats, resulting in them not loading. And this would be blamed in OO for having poor compatibility, rather than MS for having the 65535 rows limit.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by sydb (176695)


              user inserts rows

              Warning!

              If you add more rows you will not be able to share this spreadsheet with Microsoft Excel users, as Microsoft Excel does not support more than 65,535 rows.

              Would you like to continue adding rows? [yes] [no] [ ]don't ask this again.

            • by TopShelf (92521) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @11:13AM (#20652797) Homepage Journal
              It looks like the limit for Calc is indeed 32K [openoffice.org], unless the documentation is obsolete.

              I would have liked to use Calc for some of my blogwork (which entails spreadsheets of 70K+ records), but went with Office XP instead.
        • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @11:24AM (#20652999) Homepage
          I'll back it up - and I not only hate MS Office and MS's behavior, but I have a philosophical fondness for open source. I have quite a few 'operational problems' and frustrations when I attempt to use the later versions of MSO; I cut my teeth on word processing with WP511, and then later with MSO 95/97. But it's still "better" (and I have similar 'problems' with OOo, too).

          In my mind there are two, maybe three things which make MS Office simply "better" than OOo. And they're not simply features which MSO has that OOo doesn't. These differences are:

          1) Simple document scrolling. If I have a 30 page document with images in it (or even without images, as is often the case) on a system with a 2Ghz processor and 512Mb+ RAM, hitting the 'page down' key should not result in a lengthy delay. Neither should I see "typing lag", even if I'm editing in the middle of a large document. OOo does all this (and more, including outright momentary and permanent freezes while editing), and I've only experienced brief freezes/lag while opening large MSO documents.
          2) Stability and file support. I've lost close to 20 pages of (single spaced, fictional/creative) writing to OOo 2.x's ODF now, whether it's due to the program crashing while I'm working before a save, or the document getting corrupted on save/crash (likewise for the backup, in two instances). This is why I'll use the older 1.x OOo strain over 2.x if I'm going to use OOo.
          3) It's slow. This pertains to the first two, but it does NOT feel like finessed code in the least bit! (largely a criticism of 2.x, again).

          If IBM can help 'fix' the first two problems, they'll be well on their way to an 'enterprise' application - and they'll likely fix #3 simply in the process.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mh1997 (1065630)

      now open office and variants are practically de facto office suites of future.

      As long as most contracts from the Federal Government (USA) require electronic deliveries in MS Office format (companies buy MS products to ensure compatibility, they can't risk a document not opening properly), and the Government requires computers, networks, email, etc. to be MS products, MS will do just fine.

      Most of those contractors and federal employees will use MS office and other MS products at home because it is what the

  • Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr@bhtooef[ ]rg ['r.o' in gap]> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:10AM (#20649925) Homepage Journal
    Funny. IBM creating a branch of a project that was a fork of a Sun product (which is now a branch of it.)

    Even funnier, IBM already had a product to do just this, Lotus SmartSuite. (Then again, seeing as it was last updated... what, in 2000? 1999? Somewhere in there? it wasn't going to succeed. ;) Wonder if Lenovo will end up putting this on every ThinkPad that doesn't ship with MS Office... they DO hand out SmartSuite licenses already...)
    • notes (Score:4, Interesting)

      by g4b (956118) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:31AM (#20650107) Homepage
      Does that mean they will migrate Lotus Notes into OpenOffice to beat Outlook?

      Just imagine that.

      The OOo logo will be expanded with a big fat third bird on the right bottom, all painted in blue and orange.

      (No, I have nothing against IBM, OOo or Notes, but I have to use Notes on a daily basis)
    • True, but not a whole lot of small business managers care or have heard of Sun. Most everyone has heard of IBM and know that they have "bank", so to speak. This is an amazing development. More importantly is the government use of Lotus and the transition to this office suite.
    • by Nimey (114278)
      Y'know the really funny thing? Back in the day, IBM bundled StarOffice (I think 3.0 or thereabouts) with OS/2 Warp 3.0. That was back when StarOffice was owned by the independent Star Division.

      Full-circle & all that.
  • by scottsk (781208) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:14AM (#20649973) Homepage
    Okay ... so what is this? The "news" article had no details at all. Have they open-sourced SmartSuite? If you throw out the stupid third paragraph which has no meaningful information, and cull the meaningful information from the first two paragraphs, the story says "document, spreadsheet and presentation software in a group of tools" which doesn't tell you what these are - are they re-branding OpenOffice like StarOffice does? And it will be "called Lotus Symphony" -- is this a Lotus product? Are they open sourcing SmartSuite with Lotus 1-2-3 like I've been dreaming for years? Is this brand-new software technology IBM has developed? I want to know more!
    • by beaverbrother (586749) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:36AM (#20650167)
      It looks like it is actually available for download here [lotus.com]
      • by mdm-adph (1030332)
        I like the site, but who the hell chose that ugly italic font on that page for some of the titles? Ugh! Seriously, it looks dated as hell.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tji (74570)
        Wow, those screenshots look about a decade behind current versions of MS Office or Apple iWork. AbiWord looks significantly better than the Lotus word processor (judging only by the screenshots and having used AbiWord). The least they could do is spice up their marketing pages a bit, and put their best foot forward.

        Are those apps from their old Lotus suite? I used those way back in the OS/2 2.x days, when they were the only option for OS/2 Office Suites. The apps don't look like they've improved much
  • by Dareth (47614) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:19AM (#20650013)
    Nobody gets fired for buying IBM.
    Nobody gets fired for buying Microsoft.

    Will anybody get fired for buying both?
  • Back when I had a bitchen Color Graphics Adapter (8 colors!) and Quadram Quadboard in my IBM PC...
  • ....that SmartSuite is dead now?

    Admittedly, OpenOffice is now a better product, but it seems a waste to let some pretty good code (WordPro, 1-2-3, etc.) just go the way of OS/2.
    • by mdm-adph (1030332)
      Aye -- as far as I know, it's good and dead. They're not planning on moving it up to Vista from what I hear.
  • IBM has a long history of adopting failed, failing or about-to-fail products. Lotus Notes was a classic example.

    Even products with some hope of recovery have been driven to their doom by IBM.

    IBM are the kings of big computers and big operating systems - they haven't got a clue about desktop software.

    Leave it alone IBM!

    • by tgatliff (311583)
      So I guess IBM promoting Linux had nothing to do with its increased use in the business server world? Also, so I guess no AIX code (IBM changes only) made it into Linux helping give it credability to most big business? IBM right now is OSS's friend. They know they have a monopolist that must be taken down, and for now the OSS world is aligned to help them with this goal.

      As far as them picking the Lotus Symphony name.. To me, this is obvious. Open Office just has a "cheap feel" to it for most non-tech be
      • Also, so I guess no AIX code (IBM changes only) made it into Linux helping give it credability to most big business?

        No, none did. This was a huge point in the SCO case. IBM made sure no one from their AIX group worked on Linux. The version of JFS that was incorporated into Linux came from OS/2, not from AIX.

        That said, the Xen guys at IBM have said that it helped them a lot being able to stroll down the corridor to the old mainframe guys and say 'hey, you remember that problem you had with your hypervisor 20 years ago? How did you solve it?'

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MemoryDragon (544441)
      IBM also has a history of successful products. Eclipse, WAS, WSAD, Lotus Notes, Rational Developer etc... The utterly failed in the office market with Lotus (They probably didnt have a clue on what to do with it)
  • by MLCT (1148749) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:24AM (#20650049)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/technology/18blue.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&ref=technology&pagewanted=print [nytimes.com]

    Coverage of the announcement plus some comments on the fact that 3 of the "big" firms, IBM, Google & Sun are now squarely behind ODF. As for the announcement - the 35 FT developers on OOO can't be a bad thing - OOO has the potential to become a large force for good, but it has always been a couple of steps away from where it could, and should, be - hopefully this might help rectify that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 2Bits (167227)

      the fact that 3 of the "big" firms, IBM, Google & Sun are now squarely behind ODF.

      Yeah, I'll be more impressed when these firms ditched MS Office totally, and replace it with OO for internal use, and maybe force their suppliers to also use OO (otherwise, no deal!). I want to see all their sales people use exclusively OO too.

      I remember that a few years, when OO was just out, a Sun's product manager was doing a presentation using PPT (surprise, surprise!), while bitching about how MS Office was so ba

  • by aim2future (773846) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:30AM (#20650099) Homepage

    My serious and optimistic view: Soon we will see computing interoperability and software development flourish and we will look back upon the MS dominant time where they were holding free software innovation and interoperability back as an annoying historic paranthesis.

    The next important step in the world of computing now is to Stop software patents! To achieve the similar stimulance to software development as when the movie industry moved to California [cobbles.com] to avoid the film patents that were holding the film industry back on the east coast.

    Support FFII [ffii.org] and EFF [eff.org]

    I guess noone is seriously interested in OOXML any more, but I collected some arguments about our company's opinions about OOXML [neurologic.se] recently.

    If you are interested in reading people's blogs, here is mine about SCO finally dead! MS next? [blogs.su.se]

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mister_woods (949290)
      "Soon we will see computing interoperability and software development flourish and we will look back upon the MS dominant time where they were holding free software innovation and interoperability back as an annoying historic paranthesis."

      There might also be a large gap in the historical record due to the myopic reliance on proprietary file formats for record-keeping by public authorities all round the world and the subsequent inability of future generations to read them.
    • To achieve the similar stimulance to software development as when the movie industry moved to California to avoid the film patents that were holding the film industry back on the east coast.

      How did the movie industry avoid film patents by moving to California? U.S. patents have been enforceable anywhere an infringer resides since 1836. The article you cite says that the courts broke up the patent trust on antitrust grounds, which allowed independent studios to freely operate. Perhaps the courts are also

  • And will it... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:33AM (#20650121) Homepage Journal
    So, will this office suite, which is being sent to Lotus users, be backward compatible with what the recipients are currently using?

    Will it be based on OpenOffice.org?

    Will it run faster than OpenOffice.org?

    Will it have a less clunky interface than common office suites?

    Just some questions from a curious observer. :-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mdm-adph (1030332)
      First off, I like the interface -- it's still familiar to users of current office software, but with a nice sorta "new" feel to it (the colors remind me of Office 2007 or the Notes 8 Beta).

      I've tested it with a couple of SmartSuites files -- Word Pro and 1-2-3 -- and it seems to open them fairly nicely. They've must've tweaked the OpenOffice engine a bit to get them to work better with SmartSuite files, which "vanilla" OpenOffice sometimes had problems with.

      One thing I like about it is the "tabbing"
  • With multiple vendors each supporting the same document format, it becomes a real fight for marketplace dominance. Microsoft Office better than Open Office, well there's Lotus Symphony, Sun Office and KOffice as well. I'm downloading Symphony right now to see if my editor that hates Open Office would find it more appealing. And, by being interchangeable, it does infact become a free-market economy, everyone on the same level playing field.

    No 1 suite will do everything for everyone, so these variety of op
    • KOffice needs a lot of work before I would call it a serious competitor. Right now, it has one advantage: it is light. It doesn't drain my battery as quickly as OOo does. But when it comes to serious document editing, I have to stick with OOo.
  • Notes on Linux (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oyenstikker (536040) <slashdot @ s b yrne.org> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:38AM (#20650177) Homepage Journal
    "IBM is supporting Lotus Notes 8 on Linux"

    No. IBM is supporting Notes on RHEL and SLED. Attempts to install on other distributions will result in silent failures of the installer, undocumented files all over the place, or if you are really lucky (as I was) it will install, but then inexplicably fail to launch after two weeks of very buggy use.
  • hmm. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:39AM (#20650189)
    Just goes to show that even if MS get OOXML adopted as a standard by ISO by their various mechanisms and shenanigans - it would all come to nothing if there is a "de facto" standard already. And ODF is looking to be positioned to be just that.

    It's not always the standards that people recognize and certify that win the day.

    I look forward to the day when MS are forced to implement ODF filters for Office just to stay in the game. They once said that they would not support ODF - like any business they might have no choice if their sales are on the line. Once ODF is the standard then Office is going to have some real problems in the face of free alternatives that support the same format - MS biggest fear will be realized.

    MS main weapons is proprietary formats and proprietary software and OOXML/Office is one of the biggest examples. (Yes I know OOXML is not "technically" proprietary anymore).
  • already released (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:40AM (#20650195)
    see http://symphony.lotus.com/ [lotus.com]

    (less or more) rebranded lotus productivity tools -> ooo1.3 bloated into eclipse with some eyecandy.

  • I still think that was the best word processor I ever used.
    • by 3waygeek (58990)
      As a former developer on the WordPro team, I'd have to agree with you.
  • screenshots (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 4play (720611)
    Lotus notes looks so much better than openoffice 2.3
    http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony/product_ss_wpe.jspa [lotus.com] documents
    http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony/product_ss_pe.jspa [lotus.com] presentations
    http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony/product_ss_sse.jspa [lotus.com] spreadsheets
    hopefully this can help eat into Microsoft's market share in the office world.
  • I would be surprised if any serious, long-term development effort would go into this. Most likely, it's a strawman product to show to the world that ODF is the standard format not only of OpenOffice and StarOffice, but also of "Lotus Symphony", making ODF look better on paper.
  • Free? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mmcuh (1088773)
    Will it be free, or just "free"? I can't find any information on that.
  • by dominux (731134) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:12AM (#20650537) Homepage
    Notes 8 is a major architectural change for the Notes client, it is now presented through an Eclipse framework where it can live alongside other applications in the same Eclipse instance. The Notes 8 client has a bunch of "productivity editors" wordprocessor, presentation tool, spreadsheet, and these live in the same Eclipse instance as the regular Notes client bit. Symphony is the exact same code without the Notes client part. At the moment it is based on a fork of OpenOffice.org 1.x from before the SISL license change, however in the next release (or thereabouts) it will be based on a new LGPL cut of OpenOffice.org. This is really cool, it isn't quite competing with OpenOffice.org, improvements and contributions will flow in both directions. It is competing with Microsoft Office and the branding, packaging, support etc from IBM might go down quite well in some companies. I am not quite sure what the business model is for IBM, I guess they will do OK on the support and consultancy and it is a bit of a loss leader for the Notes client. Plus there is the bonus of screwing over Microsoft which has got to be worth a lot.
  • WordPro Filter (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:21AM (#20650621)
    This sounds great. I wonder if they would offer a WordPro import filter. At my company, they use Lotus Smartsuite (which includes WordPro) as the "official" office suite. Some people use Microsoft and a bunch of the IT folks (myself included) use OpenOffice.org. It would be great to get something which was basically OpenOffice.org, had corporate support backing (useful due to a co-worker/boss who thinks all freeware is inferior to payware by default), and could open our old WordPro documents.
  • I thought they would freshen up the Lotus SmartSuit and release it for free. Now that would have been news. A new competitor on the market backed by a million dollar company.

    But they will just rename OpenOffice.Org That won't change anything except maybe hurt the OpenOffice brand.
  • IBM announced they were joining OpenOffice.org and dedicating 35 developers to the project

    This time a steely barb in another one of its profit centers. Microsoft is too fat to kill with a pointed stick but this will sting all the same.

    Microsoft also stuck a harpoon in themselves with Vista. Something they've been doing a lot lately. Product activation, byzantine EULA's, where renting software isn't enough you also have to buy a license for your users to connect to it. Nevermind you paid for the serv

  • They should open-source 1-2-3 and AmiPro.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:39AM (#20650859) Journal
    As others post suggested and contradicted, IBM may or may not be trusted by corporations. Its execution could be very much ham handed or not. The ISO might yet fast track OOXML in Feb08, or not. Despite all that, the high profile discussions about the issue of file format compatibility, interoperability, archival endurance, upgrade treadmill, vendor lock etc itself will have some amount of good effect on the software world.

    It could be that OpenOffice clearly lacks features. But that could be the effect not the cause. Because it does not have enough traction, not enough people are working on it to add features. Further one of MSFT's strategy is to bloat MS-Office with features mainly to claim this point. One must-have feature by one person in an important position is enough to thwart the adoption or stymie the feasibility studies of alternatives to MS-Office. With big names signing up and with corporations creating a second-source policy will put money on the table. That will attract developers and the lack features in the alternative office software will be remedied in time.

    People know what happened when IE was left alone with no competition. The user base is more aware now a days. Further most developers have stopped trying to come up with the next killer application on the Windows platform. If they really come up with a real run away hit, MSFT will create a me-too app in the next release and usurp the market. So where is the incentive to create killer applications or run-away hits? That is one of the reasons why people looking to hit home runs look at the web not the stand alone PC.

  • Whoope! (Score:5, Funny)

    by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin@NOSPam.amiran.us> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:53AM (#20651165) Homepage Journal
    The install base of the ODF format plus the user interface of Lotus Notes!

    I can smell success!

    (just a joke, I'm actually a fan of both :) )
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @10:29AM (#20651889) Journal
    I'm on OSX and when it comes out on OSX, I'll DL it and see if it is good enough. I'm hoping so... I'm SO sick of MSWord...

    What could make it suck?

    1. If it comes out on OSX, but requires X11.
    2. If it has crapola text control, esp. orphan and widow control. MSWord completely sucks at that, so this should be a fairly easy target to beat.
    3. If it doesn't have a keyboard command to import an image. MSWord AND PowerPoint don't and I HATE THAT. It is such a simple thing...
    4. no support for pdf. I need pdfs for my work.
    5. The presentation tool had best BLOW PowerPoint away. Completely. I hate using PPT, but my students have it, not Keynote, and there is no Keynote for Windows. Grrr...
    6. The spreadsheet had better be MUCH easier to use than Excel. Again, that can't be hard, because Excel oozes puss.

    Any of the above would make it suck for me.

    That said, I am looking forward to working with it to see how it goes.

    RS

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mla_anderson (578539)
      Have you tried NeoOffice [neooffice.org] on Mac?
    • NeoOffice? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cheros (223479)
      There is a version of OpenOffice.org ("OO") that uses the beautiful graphic elements of the Mac interface called Neo Office [neooffice.org]. I don't have a Mac, but I use OO on both Windows and Linux (with less and less taking place on Windows).

      I've been using OpenOffice.org since version 1, and I'm quite happy with it. More importantly, very few people seem to notice that I'm using it so the compatibility isn't as big a deal as they want you to believe.

      Just give it a try, it's not like it costs anything :-).

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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