INDUSTRY HEAVYWEIGHT IBM has handed its Lotus Symphony office suite over to the Apache Foundation in a move that mirrors Oracle's decision with Openoffice.
IBM's Lotus Symphony office suite is built on top of Openoffice foundations with the firm making a number of under the hood and user interface changes. Rob Weir, an ODF architect at IBM told the Openoffice developer mailing list that IBM will contribute the standalone version of Lotus Symphony to the Apache Openoffice.org project under the Apache Foundation.
Weir told the mailing list that IBM will continue to work with the project in order to bring forward an Apache Openoffice.org release date. Weir also pointed out that work will have to be done to decide whether the work IBM has put into changing the user interface from the stock Openoffice interface will be kept.
Finally, Weir said that IBM will be proposing a new project, the Open Document Foundation Toolkit. The project will have Java libraries that will allow "new kinds of lightweight document processing applications". According to Weir "this would work well as an Apache project, and we look forward to moving that into incubation and developing that complementary project forward".
After Oracle's debacle with Openoffice, which ended with the company donating it to the Apache Foundation, it is good to see IBM doing the same with its Lotus Symphony suite. It also reassures Lotus Symphony users that their office suite isn't suddenly going to become expensive closed source software overnight.
The problem from both IBM and Oracle's point of view is that Oracle's widely publicised wavering over Openoffice has given Libreoffice the perfect kickstart and it's now the default office suite on Fedora, Mandriva and Ubuntu Linux distributions. Nevertheless, with Openoffice and Lotus Symphony both under the Apache Foundation's spell, it won't be too long before an Apache Openoffice hits the download mirrors. µ
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