back to article Lotus Symphony 3 beta goes OOo

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 3 code stream, comes loaded with support for Visual Basic macros, OLE Objects and embedded audio/video. The company has tweaked the user …


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  1. Morris Maynard

    History is wrong?

    I remember using and administering deployment of Lotus Symphony ages ago - back in the antediluvian 1980's, I think (late 80s, early 90s, images of big hair and flannel confused) so this product really has an ancient history. What came out in '07 was maybe a re-launch?

    1. ChrisInBelgium

      Just a re-use of a brand

      Not the same software re-launched, but just a re-using of a brandname they got in the Lotus deal. Competition's good, the more the merrier. Problem is company 'deciders' couldn't find their own backside if their life depended on it and will always go for the Ms Office option.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Same name, new product

      This is basically OOo done wrong.

    3. Jeff Deacon

      Re Historical Symphony

      I had always thought of Symphony as the junior partner to Smartsuite (WordPro, 1-2-3, Approach, etc). Symphony was what you got bundled with your new PC in an attempt to get you to pay for Smatsuite.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Yup, it was...

        basically Lotus' competitor to Microsoft Works.

        Whilst it was a much better product than Works (really not difficult...), I know I wasn't the only person inside Lotus UK who referred to it as "Sympathy"...

        Ah, memories.

  2. jonathan rowe
    Thumb Up

    eclipse base

    it's all written atop of eclipse now and is actually rather good, although I couldn't work out how to integrate the symphony plugins into my existing eclipse install, that way I could stay in eclipse all day!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No Smartsuite support

    Lotus has decided to drop Smartsuite file format support in Symphony 3. I will keep 1.3 if this is confirmed in final version, as this was the main reason for which I used it before...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      No SmartSuite in v3

      Apparently they ran out of time to finish the SmartSuite compatibility for this release - allegedly it will return in the next version...

  4. Ossian

    Reply Didn't Work Maynard

    Lotus Symphony was an old DOS program. This Lotus Symphony is related only in name, and is based on OpenOffice. I hope it produces a more compatible OpenOffice as OO isn't compatible enough with MS Office for me to use it for business. I do use it for personal use. Microsoft Office is a damn fine product.

    1. Big-nosed Pengie

      Microsoft Office is a damn fine product.

      Yep. And fresh dog turds make a damn fine dessert.

  5. Ossian
    Paris Hilton

    Message for The Pros

    Most people will remember Lotus Smartsuite much better. It was the Windows suite with 1-2-3, Wordpro, Organizer etc. I rather liked it. However I was an IBMer at the time.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      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.

  6. RW

    @ 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.

  7. Wibble

    Whatever happened to...

    Where's WordPerfect these days?

    I thought that was a Windows product, or did it just die after being run over by the MS Office juggernaut?

    It's relevant as any competition for Microsoft is good.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Improv sounded interesting.

    AFAIK it added applied the notion of templates (as in a pre-defined layout with placeholders for text insertion in a word processor) to spreadsheets. IE structure (of spreadsheet model) is divorced from actual data.

    My further *impression* is that it might have been better if they had looked at Lotus Agenda's ability to construct an implied object hieracrchy and re-structure it on the fly.

    Given it was hosted on a *nix box it should have been possible to re-host to Linux, but I guess that would have gone against the IBM view on IP.

    Mine's the one with UI development for dummies in the pocket.

  9. keithpeter Silver badge

    Works ok

    I noticed reference to Ubuntu 8.04 so I tried it on this pc running Debian Lenny. Just had to add an extra library (dpkg told me which one). Nice way of getting a recent version of OpenOffice.

    Couldn't get it to allow me to customise the toolbars (I like to have the formula editor on the tool bar for writer as I do a lot of maths formulas - I think that oOo math(sic) is easier than Equation Editor).

    It would not let me have toolbars at the side or on the bottom either. Bit Stalinist about the interface design,

    Runs a lot slower than oOo 2.4 on the same machine however.

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