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Office Suite alternatives: IBM's Lotus Symphony Print
November 2009

Some organisations may feel uncomfortable using free software, on the argument that they may want support of the software. Sun Microsystems offers corporate support for StarOffice, and recently IBM has announced offer of support to end users and companies through a Business Partner Programme on Lotus Symphony (http://symphony.lotus.com).

So what is Symphony? Based on the OpenOffice 1.2 code base, it is a complete revamp and update. The user interface is definitely more modern than OpenOffice, and a huge number of plug-ins, templates and galleries are available directly from the main start up screen. IBM has also created a very comprehensive online help facility on just about any question a user might have. The software is aimed squarely at the corporate, collaborative user, and it is easy to see why IBM could standardise on this.

Symphony offers three components: a word processor, a spreadsheet generator and a presentation manager. The UI is easy to learn for somebody with a Microsoft Office background, and probably not as confusing as the Ribbon interface for new users. It installs easy and runs on Windows XP/Vista/7 and Ubuntu Linux.  As usual, the price is $0. Download it (around 200MB) and give it a whirl - you might like it!

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions