Lotus Symphony 3 beta goes OOo
IBM clambers onto Microsoft, Google coattails
IBM flung out a second beta of Lotus Symphony 3 yesterday, that brings the free productivity suite closer to Microsoft Office.
The software, which is based on current OpenOffice.org 3 code stream, comes loaded with support for Visual Basic macros, OLE Objects and embedded audio/video.
The company has tweaked the user interface and added lots of new features including support for nested tables, presentation masters and DataPilot tables for pivoting on large datasets.
"Users will also find enhanced support for and interoperability with Microsoft Office 2007 files and OpenOffice.org file formats," noted IBM.
In other words, its applications slot more comfortably in with Microsoft and OOo documents.
IBM launched Lotus Symphony in 2007 in a move to rival Redmond's ubiquitous Office suite. Since then Google and OOo have begun muscling on that territory.
Google's effort is, of course, a web-based one and IBM wonks have been beavering away at its own webby version of Symphony, dubbed Project Concord, which is expected to land in the first half of this year.
Similarly, Microsoft is planning to release Office 2010 in June that will include a web-based version of its suite. ®
Microsoft Office is a damn fine product.
Yep. And fresh dog turds make a damn fine dessert.
@ Morris Maynard
Today's Lotus Symphony has absolutely nothing to do with the Lotus Symphony of yore. It's only connection is the name.
I use Lotus Symphony 2 and prefer it to OO because it is less clumsy under the fingers, but IBM is missing a beat or two in its construction. First, it is unable to open old 1-2-3 files in the WKS, WK3, and WK4 formats. Second, it too slavishly imitates the horrible user interface of Office instead of going back and reviving the very simple, flexible interface and menus of the Lotus 1-2-3 R5 (a program I still use regularly in preference to any other spreadsheet); thus those of us with piles of WK4 files are still stuck. Third, they did not even think about resurrecting Improv, which represented a complete rethink of spreadsheets and how they work.
MS tried to mimic Improv in a release of Excel a decade or so ago, but as usual, missed the point. If anyone knows where the source code of Improv is, they'd do the world a favor by releasing it as Open Source so it could be implemented in modern environments.
Horses for courses...
I still have Smartsuite on my home Vista machine. Don't know any other application that's lasted me so long, and been on so many of my PCs - or overall has cost so little.
Does just about everything I need. Probably wouldn't serve me too well in a large office environment, but then I'm not in a large office environment. I don't use Word - just too big and bloated for my needs. Not to say that would apply to everyone, but surprisingly few people need full-blown applications like this, even if the industry would like them to think they do.
For the few things I need that Lotus can't do, I have OOo. Though I can't recall the last time I used it.