Lotus Symphony is a free office suite that IBM has been offering for the past few years. While the software is based on OpenOffice.org, it’s been largely maintained as an independent fork, and much of the code separating Symphony from the main branch of OpenOffice.org has not been contributed back to the original project. Now it looks like that will change.
Last month the OpenOffice.org project changed hands. Oracle handed over control of the software to Apache. Now IBM”s Rob Weir says the company will be contributing the code for Lotus Symphony to the Apache OpenOffice.org project under an Apache 2.0 license.
This means that some of IBM’s software could find its way into future versions of OpenOffice.org.
Of course, these two projects aren’t the only game in town anymore. A different group of developers branched out from OpenOffice.org a little while back and started LibreOffice: a new cross-platform suite of office apps designed to run on Windows, Mac, and Linux. For the most part, LibreOffice still looks a lot like OOo, but the developers have been releasing updates and enhancements at a pretty fast pace, making LibreOffice a pretty good alternative for anyone who’s been frustrated with the slow release cycle of OOo.
My experience with the bloated and buggy Lotus Notes will keep me away from OOo now that IBM have got their claws into it. I switched over to LibreOffice and it will remain as my choice of best free office suite.
The LibreOffice guys have already made it pretty clear that they are not at all impressed by the move of OOo to Apache. I doubt the IBM code dump is going to make much difference.
Hmm wonder if the guys behind Libre Office will team back up with the guys behind OOo now that Oracle is gone. Will be a tough choice deciding between the two now that IBM is in the mix.
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