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IBM Policy Switches From MS Office To OO.o 331

Posted by timothy
from the let's-see-some-school-districts-do-the-same dept.
eldavojohn writes "It's frequent that we hear of a country or city or company switching from Windows to Linux, but it's rare that we hear of one third of a million employees being told to use Lotus Symphony (IBM's OO.o variant) over MS Office, and also to use the Open Document Format when saving files. The change has been mandated to take place in the next 10 days. Of course, they are doing this to illustrate that they actually offer a full-fledged alternative to Microsoft. With i4i stirring stuff up against MS Office and absolving OO.o from litigation, are we on the verge of a potential break from Microsoft's dominant document suite? Hopefully IBM supports OO.o past Sun's acquisition by Oracle instead of concentrating on Lotus Symphony."
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IBM Policy Switches From MS Office To OO.o

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  • OOoh (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    O_oo
  • About fucking time! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lukas84 (912874) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @04:45PM (#29407437) Homepage

    Previously, the used MS Office but actually recommended their customers to use Symphony. That's just a laughable position.

    I'm glad the finally changed this, but i'm not sure if this actually means anything. IBM's slow as molasses in regards to everything. Want a server from them? Better wait 4-6 weeks.

    • by DavidR1991 (1047748) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:05PM (#29407591) Homepage

      If a 10-day change is "slow as molasses" then I'd like to see what happens when they react quickly to something!

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by lukas84 (912874)

        The switch to Symphony has been a standing order for a long time. It's just that nobody cared. Now they've set a very short ultimatum, which is something positive. But i've always seen them as an extremely slow company.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jimicus (737525)

        I tend to agree with the GP. IBM are an absolutely typical conservative company. IMO, if they're dictating everything change within 10 days this has probably been brewing internally for the better part of a year or more.

        • by magsol (1406749) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:16PM (#29407661) Journal
          After interning with IBM this past summer, I can say without equivocation that 95% of IBM's employees use Symphony. Lotus Notes in particular in a central cog in what is otherwise a pretty complete office productivity package.
          For IBM to mandate the use of this package is, truthfully, making official what has already been regular practice for quite some time.
          • by lukas84 (912874) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:19PM (#29407683) Homepage

            Well, all the IBM sales reps i've dealt with had to purchase Office 2007 through their expense account, because IBM wouldn't buy a volume license.

            None of them used Symphony. All the stuff up on PartnerWorld is in .ppt too, created by PowerPoint.

          • by oenone.ablaze (1133385) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:12PM (#29408041)
            As another intern at IBM this summer I can say without equivocation that I don't think you understand just how big IBM is. I was in Research, and I certainly didn't know anyone who used Symphony with any regularity. There's Global Business Services (IBM's massive consulting arm), too, and I know for certain that people working there use whatever their clients want them to use, which is often MS Office.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by magsol (1406749)
              I interacted with offices all over the globe (North Carolina, California, Canada, China, Germany, Armonk) - even traveled a bit - and everyone I spoke and worked with was all about Symphony; it was ODP or bust.

              But you raise an interesting point: Research was the single IBM division with which I was unable to involve myself (and to this day continue to try and get my foot into, so if you have any contacts I'm honestly interested :) ), so I can readily accept that Research has not jumped on the Symphony ba
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by H0p313ss (811249)

                so I can readily accept that Research has not jumped on the Symphony bandwagon yet.

                Its not that we haven't jumped on it.... it's that we tried it out and opened up the engine... and found that this bandwagon has no legs.

          • by diamondsw (685967) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:50PM (#29408331)

            As a ten-year employee, I can say without equivocation that you don't have a fricken clue how large IBM is. Your department may have used Symphony. My department is still stuck with custom programs written in 1-2-3, and does at least 95% of its work in Word and Excel (including more custom programming). I have never seen a single ODF file cross my desk, on any project, for any customer.

            IBM mandates lots of stuff internally that doesn't necessarily matter. And if you wait a a few weeks, they'll reorg and change their mind.

  • Wait. What? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ". . . past their acquisition of Sun . . ."

    I think someone's been misreading recent headlines.

  • Ooo's (Score:5, Funny)

    by ironicsky (569792) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @04:46PM (#29407451) Journal
    All these Oo.o's remind me of family guy

    Peter: Oh my God, Brian, there's a message in my alphabets... it says Ooooo!
    Brian: Peter those are Cheerios.
    Sound Clip [entertonement.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Compuser (14899)

      Yeah, at first I thought Oo.o is the sound a giraffe makes when it cums. //Not a troll. //Yes, this is a ripoff of an old Russian joke about the letter Ñ.

  • In my dreams (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @04:46PM (#29407457) Journal
    In my dreams, Microsoft Word got replaced by a word processor that naturally creates beautiful documents, that lays them out consistently every time you open them (and between versions), and has a simple easy to use interface.

    Open Office is not that program.

    However, the beauty of open file formats is that now someone else can write that program, and there will be no barrier to entry, we can start using it right away. In fact, if I am the only person in the world who thinks emacs bindings in a word processor is a good idea, I can use them, and still interoperate with the rest of the world.

    Because we all have different ideas of what the perfect word processor will be, this is one step closer to a happy software world.
    • Re:In my dreams (Score:5, Informative)

      by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Sunday September 13, 2009 @04:59PM (#29407543)

      > Because we all have different ideas of what the perfect word processor will be, this is one step closer to a happy software world.

      Exactly. Most other data types standardized on one or a handful of formats long ago, it was the Microsoft monopoly that distorted things with formatted text and spreadsheets. Think about it, far more complex data is encoded in standardized formats that a multitude of programs all process and exchange data through. Look at sound, still images, vector graphics, even video! All interoperable. Meanwhile Word docs aren't even certain to be compatible between two different installs of the same version of Word. Buy a new printer and connect it to the same install and previous docs will often need to be reformatted. Good riddence to that!

      Oh, and IBM didn't buy Sun; Oracle bought the corpse to loot it.

      • Still images, check. GIF, JPG, TIF.
        Audio, check. AIFF, WAV, MP2, MP3.
        Vector graphics, mmm not much. EPS, CGM. SVG too new really to count.
        Video, no way. Couple really popular ones(MPEG1, MPEG2, H261/263, FLV). A gazillion not so popular or interoperable ones such as RealVideo, Sorensen Video, Indeo, Cinepak, TrueMotion, Theora, MPEG4.

        I get your point though, the computing world has settled on a small set of file formats, excluding office productivity. MS should have taken a more logical, engineering approac

        • Also, I can open any of those document formats on my linux computer using open source programs and "display" it correctly. If I get a word document (or excel or ppt) then I am lucky if it has all the functionality (not to mention actually formatted the same).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770)

        Exactly. Most other data types standardized on one or a handful of formats long ago, it was the Microsoft monopoly that distorted things with formatted text and spreadsheets. Think about it, far more complex data is encoded in standardized formats that a multitude of programs all process and exchange data through. Look at sound, still images, vector graphics, even video! All interoperable.z/quote>

        I think you're comparing apples to oranges here, with sound or still images or video I don't really care how it's stored as such only that it decodes to uncompressed audio/video frames. It is the decoded version, the simplest of structures, that is the universal intermediary. With documents the whole point is in preserving and manipulating the markup, what it renders to as a screenshot is completely irrelevant. That means to convert from say MS Office to OpenOffice you have to map the content, layout, every setting, every function, every formula, everything. You need to have exact specifications on both formats and things must mean the same, That is completely and utterly the opposite of the examples you make.

        P.S. You're horribly, horribly wrong about vector graphics.

      • Re:In my dreams (Score:5, Insightful)

        by melikamp (631205) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:17PM (#29408089) Homepage Journal

        [...] far more complex data is encoded in standardized formats [...] sound, still images, vector graphics, even video [...]

        Text is far more complicated than any of these, with vector graphics being the most complicated left, IMHO. Sound, raster graphics, and video are just arrays with a fixed data type. There are other data fields, of course, but they are vastly less important. A rich text document, on the other hand, may have to deal with concepts like page layout, paragraph options, text options, text positioning, hierarchical styling, embedded objects, and everyone's favorite embedded scripts. That's why all off their files look like two or more markup languages are colliding in a spectacular explosion. That is if you are lucky and they are not, on top of all that, compressed binaries.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Thinboy00 (1190815)

          [...] far more complex data is encoded in standardized formats [...] sound, still images, vector graphics, even video [...]

          Text is far more complicated than any of these, with vector graphics being the most complicated left, IMHO. Sound, raster graphics, and video are
          just arrays with a fixed data type. There are other data fields, of course, but they are vastly less important. A rich text document, on the other hand,
          may have to deal with concepts like page layout, paragraph options, text options, text positioning, hierarchical styling, embedded objects, and everyone's favorite embedded scripts. That's why all off their files look like two or more markup languages are colliding in a spectacular explosion. That is if you are lucky and they are not, on top of all that, compressed binaries.

          Embedded scripts should be nixed for the security concerns alone. If you need to send someone a script, send them a script, not an MS Word document.

      • Re:In my dreams (Score:5, Insightful)

        by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @07:25PM (#29408569)

        Are you kidding? Still images are ridiculously easy to standardize the encoding of. And even then once you get slightly more complicated such as PSD the standard and the implementation becomes more and more difficult.

        On the video front you have 'standards' such as OMF or AAF that rarely actually work perfectly.

        In 3D we have Collada and FBX. Neither of which adequately describe a full 3D scene completely yet.

        A text document is a very complicated file with the potential for an enormous amount of bizzare formatting and embedded data. None of the XML based standards are simple or small. They're just varying levels of complex. I would say a document standard is representing far more complex data than video but less complex than 3D scenes.

    • Re:In my dreams (Score:4, Informative)

      by CarpetShark (865376) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:02PM (#29407567)

      In my dreams, Microsoft Word got replaced by a word processor that naturally creates beautiful documents, that lays them out consistently every time you open them (and between versions), and has a simple easy to use interface.

      Open Office is not that program.

      Of course not. That's a good LaTeX editor.

      But what OO.o does do is provide a more liberated document format for businesses and other organisations around the world to interchange documents with, and to implement document management and other business processes around. That's a big enough thing in its own right, albeit nothing but an internationalised return to the status that we had years ago with ASCII.

      • Problem is: LyX (the good LaTeX editor) lacks any layouting capabilities. You can't visually design the basic classes (document, paragraph, text, etc). That is a no-go for me, because I don't want to learn yet another layouting language, no matter how good it is. (I don't want to learn any of those, but unfortunately I already know one.)

        What I really really wonder is, why everybody creates this false dichotomy of "text/console = keyboard controlled" and "graphics/GUI = mouse controlled".
        I meant just give m

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          As a longtime faithful LyX user, in addition to agreeing with you completely, I should also mention that stability, consistent output, and less confusingness are needed. They could go one of two routes: either integrate better with LaTeX so that I can do my layout with it, or use it only as a backend and make layout work better. They do neither of these.

          Personally I'd like to see a click-editable one-pane LaTeX editor with dual mode view for source view (even if the live rendering isn't perfect, eg LyX, it'

      • Re:In my dreams (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Schlemphfer (556732) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @09:08PM (#29409223) Homepage
        >>and has a simple easy to use interface.

        >Of course not. That's a good LaTeX editor.

        I've published two books in LaTeX and will sing its praises for hours, but it cannot sanely be called simple or easy to use.
  • by slim (1652)

    Not long ago, IBM's standard word processor was Lotus WordPro.

    I have a load of .LWP files lying around from my IBM days, that I can't read...

    It goes to show that a company like IBM can function using a "minority" office suite.

  • It's genius.. by actually using the product day to day, they will discover it's strengths and weaknesses and know what changes they need to focus on. That they have not done this from day one is the amazing part.
    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      They didnt use it because they knew the weaknesses already. That hasnt changed.. so I guess a new manager decided to justify himself?
  • by supremebob (574732) <themejunky@geoc i t ies.com> on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:04PM (#29407577) Journal

    I used be an IBM employee, and I can remember the corporate mandate that ALL IBM internal documents had to be made in Lotus SmartSuite instead of Microsoft Office. Guess what... most folks still used Office instead. The primary reason was that SmartSuite sucked, and was about five years behind Office in terms of ease of use and functionality. IBM never bothered to regularly update it as well, leaving it in some 1997-era timewarp when the rest of the world was using Office 2003.

    I haven't tried Lotus Symphony myself, but if it's anything like OpenOffice 3, I doubt that most IBM'ers will be raring to convert all of their documents over in a timely manner. Combine that with thousands of customer facing workers that NEED to use Microsoft Office to ensure total compatibility, and you're going to have a hell of a time getting everyone to switch.
     

    • by slim (1652) <`ten.puntrah' `ta' `nhoj'> on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:10PM (#29407621) Homepage

      Guess what... most folks still used Office instead.

      Not in my department. How on earth did "most folks" get an Office license from the IBM beancounters?

      • Your department actually bought licenses for all of the software that it used? ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Orion Blastar (457579)

        They got assigned IBM PC machines that came pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. Up until MS-Office 2007 the license key was included on pre-installed PCs. IBM had a license with Microsoft to pre-load MS-Windows on their brand PCs and Laptops (Lenovo in modern times IIRC).

        Sometime around 1999 IBM stopped pre-loading Lotus Smartsuite and was forced by Microsoft to pre-load MS-Office or lose their OEM status. More modern versions of Microsoft Windows break Lotus Smartsuite compatibilities b

    • Actually the user interface to Lotus Symphony is pretty decent. (better than OO's anyway)

      Its problems are that it takes an ice age to start and its OO.org code is from OpenOffice 2 so it's always playing catch up for the file formats.

      What's needed is someone to do similar what Apple did with khtml. Get something like koffice, improve the code even more, stick a good user interface on there and make sure it launches relatively quickly.

      At the moment i'm in the process of gradually moving over the compa
      • by yuna49 (905461)

        The single consistent biggest complaint (apart from a certain office suite file compatibility) is the speed (and lack thereof) of its launch time.

        Just curious since I don't use OpenOffice on Windows (I use Linux), but doesn't having OO preload its libraries speed up launch times?

        From what I recall, what made Microsoft Office appear to launch so quickly was that most of the dll's it needs are started at boot time. (Helps when you control both the OS and the apps it runs.) I thought the prelauncher, or what

    • by larien (5608)
      I got Smartsuite bundled with a PC in the 90s and have to agree it sucked - it was OK for basic letters, but not much more than that...
    • by swillden (191260)

      I haven't tried Lotus Symphony myself, but if it's anything like OpenOffice 3, I doubt that most IBM'ers will be raring to convert all of their documents over in a timely manner.

      From my perspective, this mostly just means that I no longer have to provide MS Office versions of my work to my colleagues. Because Linux is my platform of choice, I use OO.o, and it's been annoying me for years that I have to save to .xsl, .doc and .ppt before I can send my documents to my co-workers. No longer. I'll send ODF files and anyone who complains will get a polite referral to the new policy (probably along with an MS Office version of that particular file, just because I'm a nice guy).

  • by HermMunster (972336) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:04PM (#29407583)

    Those parts of my career that were in support of software, either as a help desk or as network admin with additional duties, required a large amount of support for every program we used. In corporate environments to small business the use of Office required significant support efforts by everyone. Claims that OOo requires more support than others is specious. One can make a heavy bet and know that you'd win in judging that those people making that claim have no experience supporting others on either platform or have never used Open Office. I've watched many firms take OOo, and though there was a learning curve, use it to good advantage.

    Because you don't like OOo doesn't mean it doesn't work and do the job it is supposed to do. I use it. Millions of others use it. The few people here disrespecting it (without showing proof they actually know anything about it) demonstrates the specious nature of anything they might write about it or any competing product.

  • Implications (Score:4, Insightful)

    by under_score (65824) <mishkin-slashdot&berteig,com> on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:07PM (#29407593) Homepage
    This goes far beyond IBM's employees. Many other large organizations are strongly influenced by IBM still. In my work as a process improvement consultant, I have seen many people using the Lotus environment, particularly in financial institutions. Does this mean that they too will start using ODF?

    As well, as a Mac user myself, and for others using non-MS systems, it will be nice to be able to tell people that IBM uses OpenOffice.org (which will be the shortcut way of telling them that they are using an in-house customized version...) as an incentive / emotional proof that OOo is viable for their own use.

    • Re:Implications (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ClaraBow (212734) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:26PM (#29407731)
      At my school, the business teacher's argument is that everyone uses MS. Office and therefore must be taught to all students without consideration for alternatives will no longer be a valid point! It will be much easier to support Open Office, when such a big player is using it. Not to mention that we can get it for free -- surely that is a compelling selling point in these times of economical difficulty, especially at schools.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LordLimecat (1103839)
        If a teacher thinks that Office has to be "taught" (rather than how to use a generic document editor), I would question his expertise to make such a statement.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by blind biker (1066130)

      This goes far beyond IBM's employees. Many other large organizations are strongly influenced by IBM still. In my work as a process improvement consultant, I have seen many people using the Lotus environment, particularly in financial institutions. Does this mean that they too will start using ODF?

      If they use Lotus Symphony, they are using ODF already! [ibm.com]

  • Facts wrong again (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I just have a hard time taking /. seriously. Oracle is buying Sun. IBM isn't.

    How the hell are we supposed to trust this source for any news when it's always wrong.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:27PM (#29407741) Homepage

    It rather annoys and even pisses me off that so many important business tools are written with dependencies on MS Office. That is, of course, Microsoft's intention and the primary reason for the existence of a programming language built into the office suite.

    I once worked for a firm where a contract writing program that requires MS Office and, if I recall correctly, Adobe Acrobat Professional. What a huge waste of money!? Not only was this "application" quite expensive, but so are the dependencies involved... and on top of that, the application was only valid for a year. Upon learning about this situation, I had two thoughts. One was related to the old saying about a fool and his money, and the other was that my hopes of saving the company any money by going to OO.o was a lot more challenging.

    Using more F/OSS in business requires that people are mindful of the applications and the dependencies [lock-in] that they bring. Moving away from commercial and proprietary isn't as simple as replacing one app with another. There are often deeper considerations.

    The danger of lock-in isn't usually apparent or obvious to people who buy apps. Quite often IT isn't even involved in that decision.

    • by Rockoon (1252108) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:48PM (#29407849)

      That is, of course, Microsoft's intention and the primary reason for the existence of a programming language built into the office suite.

      If your contention is that VBA isnt useful, then explain the billions of lines of VBA code in the world. Integration with the suite is just one of the things that makes the alternatives like Open Office non-competitive. Your idea that VBA is just there as a lock-in is silly.

      To translate your argument to reality: "Features that customers use extensively, when the competition doesnt have them, is only a lock-in"

      • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:15PM (#29408079) Homepage

        My contention is that the reality of the presence of VBA is not necessary for an office suite. It never has been and never will be. Various external APIs say so.

        I don't say it isn't useful -- don't be so defensive. But it is a problem in that VBA applications are a great deal more costly because they are not stand-alone and as a result, the user has to buy other things in order to use the application they want to use.

        Customers do not often use VBA. Customers use applications that use VBA.

        VBA is actually a dangerous thing as it takes an ordinarily trustworthy document and transforms it into a potential carrier for malware infection. It has been done before and continues to be done. There are certain things that shouldn't be done and including a programming language as low and as powerful as VBA gives even entry-level script-kiddies the ability to cause major problems. VBA is bad just as Active-X is bad.

        The reasons that other office suites do not provide similar functionality isn't because they "can't." It's because they know they shouldn't. People who care about security and the like concern themselves with the limitations they can provide in order to protect the users. VBA (and Active-X) grant user level access to the machine and quite often require administrator level access which users have been shown more than willing to grant. (This is irrelevant since there are known exploits that cannot be patched in Win32 without breaking every application ever written that enables privilege escalation)

        The purpose of VBA is to take an office applications suite and convert it into an operating platform.

        If it is somehow appropriate for documents to carry executable code, then why not pictures, sounds and video? Should email carry executable code? Is it appropriate for web pages to carry executable code that isn't sandboxed and limited? From where I sit, for the same reasons all the other common file types shouldn't contain executable code, office documents shouldn't.

  • First, i4i in no way "absolved" OO.o of anything. What they DID do was say they don't "believe" it infringes. That's code for "we're going milk all the money we can out of MS, then we'll figure out who else we can sue".

    Second, the MS i4i suit has absolutely NOTHING to do with the topic at hand. Why was it even brought up? Cmon guys, enough of the MS bashing. It's to the point it has to be brought up in stories about completely different products now?
  • Cunning... (Score:3, Funny)

    by welshbyte (839992) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:49PM (#29407851) Homepage

    ...one third of a million employees being told to use Lotus Symphony...

    This is actually an ingenious way for IBM to stress test its hardware - a third of a million internal Symphony bug reports all hitting the server at the same time. Beat that, Oracle.

  • A Bit Misleading (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:07PM (#29407987)

    A bit of a disclaimer here: I work for IBM.

    With that said, the change wasn't as much as an ideological shift to OO software more than it was a licensing issue. The simple fact was that it is quite expensive for MS Office licenses for the entire company. Lotus Symphony has been available to employees for years, but it hasn't really been forced until three or so months ago when a program was pushed to workstations that removed MS Office and installed the Symphony suite if you did not already have it(default builds come with Symphony on it anyway, so it didn't really need to be installed on many workstations). Now if you want a copy of MS Office on your IBM workstation, you have to have a legitimate business need to order it or you can use your own personal copy if you so choose. There are hardly any instances of the former case happening.

    It was stated before by another thread here by an ex IBMer that SmartSuite was the default for IBM documents and that people used Office anyway. Yes, that is true. The reason that is true is that Office had become the defacto standard across other industries, and that IBM offered it to employees for free on their workstations, so it was the logical choice to make. Couple that with the fact that SmartSuite was not nearly as developed as Symphony was a few years ago, people couldn't be hassled with converting between file formats, or sending files to other employees or clients and pray that the recipient could actually open it. SmartSuite was a boon on productivity and hence the broader use of Office within the company.

    Now IBM is in the market for software. As was stated earlier, the best place to start promoting your own product is from within. In all honesty, a LOT of employees never used Symphony simply because no one knew it existed, and if they did, they did not have the time to learn it. Now that IBM has shifted away from Office for internal uses, our customers may see this and may want to investigate -- that's the theory at least.

    The article is a bit misleading in that Symphony is an OO.o variant. Here's a hint: it's not in no more than a humvee is a variant of a boat. The real only similarity is that they both use open standards as their default file types. With that said, however, Symphony still supports MS Office formats and many people DO switch to using those formats as the default anyway. Having said that, there is not much of an uproar as one may think about this switch. Symphony supports both open standards and Office standards, which is the best of both worlds for us.

    I guess the bottom line is that this was a BUSINESS decision and not one further the development of open standards. IBM is a business and the business will do what is in its own interest to stay in business. I'm sure it is saving us lots of money, and to be honest I thought this sort of change would be forced down years ago. Either way, it gets the word out on Symphony and gets us off office which saves money. It's the best of both worlds, no?

    • Re:A Bit Misleading (Score:5, Interesting)

      by haruchai (17472) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:28PM (#29408177)

      Disclaimer: I used to work for IBM. Having used MS Office, several OpenOffice.org variants, WordPerfect X* and IBM Lotus Symphony, all in various versions
      but, typically only for intermediate use ( no really complex docs or fancy macros ), I have to say that Office 2003 would be my first pick if money isn't an issue.

      Second, would be the Go variant of OO.o ( http://www.go-oo.org/ [go-oo.org] ) and Lotus Symphony would be WAAAY at the back.

      It's slow at everything, and, for what i do, lacking in features. If money is an issue, then any variant of OO.o plus Gnumeric for really big spreadsheets,
      (yes, Gnumeric really is that good and George Ou should have done his tests on it before clamoring that an open source app couldn't match Excel 2003)

  • Document formats... (Score:4, Informative)

    by stagg (1606187) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:18PM (#29408093)
    I'm not sure what the consequences of this would be at the consumer level. The OP talks about breaking MS's monopoly on word suites, and the largest benefit of that would be moving away from .doc formatting. I think the largest concern I have about Microsoft's dominance of the market is that most people seem to assume that .doc is a standard format, and think that it supports any kind of interoperability. Of course it really doesn't and isn't. As far as I can tell however that's only an issue at the consumer level. Sure my friends, and my boss might send me .doc, but any kind professional publisher expects .rtf formats. Basically anything with any legitimacy at all will call for .rtf, which while still spawned by microsoft is at least a standard format that encourages interoperability. A much bigger win would be OpenOffice suites actually supporting .rtf formats properly, so that legitimate work could be done through them.
  • Excel (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tarlus (1000874) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @07:19PM (#29408523)
    I can appreciate the drive to adopt open source.

    However, the money I spent for Microsoft Excel has been worth every penny. There's just simply no comparison, and I find it amazing that all of IBM would be willing to abandon it completely, regardless of cost.

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