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IBM Policy Switches From MS Office To OO.o 331

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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  • OpenOffice variant? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @04:45PM (#29407435)

    In the old days, years before OpenOffice or even StarOffice existed, Lotus Symphony was an office suite. So unless this is another "SBC buys AT&T and then starts calling itself AT&T", how can Symphony be described as a variant of OpenOffice in any way, shape, or form?

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Re:Symphony vs OO (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i.of.the.storm ( 907783 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:09PM (#29407611) Homepage
    Hmm, I'm an eclipse user but I shudder to think of the slowness that marrying eclipse and OO.o would bring about.
  • by lukas84 ( 912874 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:11PM (#29407627) Homepage

    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.

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:11PM (#29407629)

    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 TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:16PM (#29407663) Journal

    Are you as stupid as your post appears? IBM are switching to Lotus Symphony which, although it shares a lot of code with OO.o, is an IBM product, developed by IBM staff. This is not 'getting something for free' this is 'using your own products'.

    Honestly, Microsoft needs to pay its shills more. The current crop really aren't trying.

  • 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.

  • 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:Symphony vs OO (Score:4, Interesting)

    by digitalunity ( 19107 ) <{digitalunity} {at} {}> on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:43PM (#29407827) Homepage

    The speed of Symphony shouldn't be your most serious concern - it's fairly snappy on a fast desktop, aside from the loading time.

    It should be noted that Symphony is a HEAVILY modified version of OO.o. Symphony has a very clean UI and is extraordinarily easy to use. However, it does not offer all of the same features of OO.o.

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted@slashdoA ... inus threevowels> on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:57PM (#29407929)

    Lotus then created SmartSuite. My favorite office suite off all times, up until now! I wait until something like the InfoBox, but with full keyboard control, is available again. For now, the new Symphony is still far away from that. And it still thinks that default/pure menu bars and button bars make sense nowadays. (Face it: They are an outdated concept.)

  • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:58PM (#29407943) Journal

    This is just another in a very long line of people wanting something for nothing.

    Give me a break. It's more important to have the capability of reading and writing documents everywhere and not having to worry about information surviving past the arbitrary economic lifespan of some corporation.

    By focusing on the ROI on document software, something that should be as prevalent and available as air, you're letting a fixation on the rocks in the road cost you your awareness of the horizon. Look up for once and stop muttering at your shoes.

  • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:02PM (#29407969)

    I'm all for switching to open source software. But MS Office works extremely well.

    I think that was in the past, Office 2007 is a super slow dog. I thought the days of typing and then looking at the screen to see the letters draw themselves was something I'd never have to see again (unless it was over a particularly slow WAN link), but no - Office 2007 brings that "Retro" feel right on back.

    I'm not sure about the others now, no graphical consistency, no real integration with Windows, settings hidden away in menus that are themselves hidden... its all become a bit of a over-engineered mess. Too much code has been added over the years to it.

    OO.o may not be the perfect alternative however, but MSO is not the perfect office suite either.

  • by swissmonkey ( 535779 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:27PM (#29408171) Homepage
    (This is irrelevant since there are known exploits that cannot be patched in Win32 without breaking every application ever written that enables privilege escalation)

    I would love to have you clearly articulate those known exploits that cannot be patched in Win32 And I bet you won't be able to, why ? Because they don't exist.
    Hint: I'm a security engineer, watch what you're saying.

  • 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 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 ( [] ) 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)

  • by Gudeldar ( 705128 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @07:27PM (#29408575)
    IBM's Lotus Symphony may be based on OO.o but it is not open source. Sun originally dual licensed OO.o under the GPL and their own BSD style license, IBM took the BSD-style licensed version and developed Lotus Symphony.
  • Re:In my dreams (Score:3, Interesting)

    by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @08:03PM (#29408795)

    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's good enough).

    LyX also has terrible version compatibility; often a document saved in one version will not render in later versions.

    It has a great start, but LyX needs tons of polish before it's anywhere close to achieving its full potential.

  • by swissmonkey ( 535779 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @08:06PM (#29408819) Homepage

    You probably also knew about the message queue vulnerability... didn't you? A professional would know.

    If you're talking about the one you cited, yes, for years. It's a very moderate vuln actually, even on XP / Windows Server 2003

    And I wouldn't be too sure that 32 bit Vista or 7 could effectively patch the problem without changing the Win32 message queue and breaking compatibility. Do you have any references to cite this achievement?

    Look at MSDN : []

    Preferably one that explains why it isn't fixed in WindowsXP.

    That is very simple: the changes are extensive, too big to be ported back.

    I've read through your comment history a bit. You might as well add a signature that says "I'm a Microsoft shill."

    Oh right, since I don't talk shit about MS like you do, I must be a Microsoft shill... Now I could go take a look at your comment history and tell you you're a [some insult], but what good would that be ? That would say more about me than you.

    The reality is, I'm right and you're wrong, you had no idea what you were talking about and got caught red handed.
    Calling others shills won't change any of that.

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @11:23PM (#29409965) Homepage

    The single biggest advantage of Lotus Symphony, it provides choice, now you can choose from four different versions of Open Office and still have full document compatibility and operating system choice.

    It might be viewed as a new corporate status symbol, if you are really significant in the technology sector you produce your own document compatible fork of open office under you own branding and demonstrate your capabilities that to the general public. A way of reminding your employees of the value of the products they produce and putting an end to them staring at the competitors logo.

    This sort of corporate identity creation and branding has a significant impact on the way the public views a company, even major hardware players might start making the shift and supply their computers with their branded office suit, browser et al. With open source the investment needed to achieve that is minimal, especially compared to the marketing advantage that can be gained in highlighting the value of their hardware product and the full range of software tools they provide with it all included in the price.

  • by H0p313ss ( 811249 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:23AM (#29410263)

    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 pegdhcp ( 1158827 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:44AM (#29411031)
    In one of my previous incarnations as a system manager, it was like this:

    "If you are buying IBM we do not care how much over budget you are..."

    BTW, it was a governmental institution... The point was, you would not put IBM on your yard sale list when it is projected/legal life time (5 years) is over. And as far as I know, they are still using IBM PPC 604 based servers I installed in 1995 (14 years and counting...). Of course they are not on the same spot, performing same duties, but they are still useful, as a server class hardware... Given the fact that IBM after sales support in my country sucks (sorry guys), it is a formidable performance...

  • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:20AM (#29411165)

    I've only got a dual-CPU Xeon running at 2.8Ghz with 3Gb RAM. Pity me for my inconsequential hardware specs, I take it back Microsoft, turns out it was my fault all along, Office's not bloated after all :(

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!