Lotus Symphony 3.0 Vies to Eclipse OpenOffice.org as Microsoft Office Challenger
IBM's Eclipse-flavored spin of the OpenOffice.org productivity suite undergoes a major update under the covers, moving up from the 1.x version on which it was originally based to sync up with version 3.x of the open-source project.When, in 2008, IBM resurrected its Lotus Symphony brand name for a new productivity suite based on OpenOfffice.org, the resulting product was at once forward-looking and stuck in the past. The suite's Eclipse-based interface lent Symphony a new look and a path toward greater extensibility, but the company's choice of OpenOffice.org 1.1.4 (as opposed to the then-current 3.0) as the backbone for the new product meant that Symphony users would have to do without enhancements added to OpenOffice.org in the interim. Last week, with the release of Lotus Symphony 3.0, IBM harmonized its office suite with the OpenOffice.org 3.0 code base, without doing away with Symphony-specific enhancements added in the interim. For instance, the overhauled interface to the suite's DataPilot tool (analogous to Microsoft Excel's PivotTable) that debuted in last year's Symphony 1.3 is back in version 3.0, as is the format-stripping paste option from OpenOffice.org that I'd missed when I first reviewed the IBM suite. What's more, Lotus Symphony 3.0 offers improved interoperability both with Microsoft Office, in the form of modest VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) macro support in spreadsheets, and with OpenOffice.org, in the form of support for that suite's OpenDocument Format version 1.2.
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