Archive for the ‘September 2007’ Category

IBM’s Lotus Symphony is a software suite that includes IBM Lotus Documents , IBM Lotus Spreadsheets and IBM Lotus Presentations. It includes a spell checker, Instant Corrections and a Stylist that creates and modifies styles for paragraphs, individual characters, frames, and pages. The Navigator links to areas in large documents, displays documents in an outline view, and keeps track of the objects inserted into the document. Sound familiar ? That’s because IBM Lotus Symphony is based on Open Office.org. The current , free version is not based on the 1983 release, which sold for $595.

IBM Lotus Symphony Beta can be installed on Linux and Windows systems.You can access the IBM website to download the installer. This requires you to register and sign in.


To avoid the hassle, you can go to the Softpedia website, where you can download without registering:


However, Softpedia only has the installer for Windows 9X/ME/NT/2K/XP/2003 systems. The file size is 133 MB.

OpenOffice.org and more

Although based on OpenOffice.org, Lotus Symphony offers additional features that large enterprises would expect from IBM. These include multiple language support , more powerful information gathering capabilities from several discrete sources, and a consistent view of the information across the organization. What it does is to gather information from thousands of important documents located on PC desktops throughout the organization and make it accessibile for the organization.

“It’s all about making information universally accessible and putting it to work on any platform and on the Web in highly flexible ways,” according to Steve Mills, the senior VP of IBM’s Software Group.

Rivalry reborn

Lotus 123 , which ran on MS , was the killer application that made the IBM PC hugely popular. Lotus Symphony was introduced in 1983 to expand the rudimentary all-in-one Lotus 1-2-3 into a fully-fledged spreadsheet, graph, database and word processor for Windows. However, it was a flop mainly because it was too expensive. Microsoft Windows, in its infancy, was able to capture the personal computer market through its spreadsheet application, MS Excel, which gradually surpassed the position of 1-2-3 and achieved for Microsoft , the position of leading PC software developer.

IBM’s recent move to offer an improved Lotus Symphony free of charge resumes an old rivalry between IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp. Lotus Symphony is clearly targeted at the capabilities of the popular Microsoft Office suite. The Symphony software costs nothing, while the home edition of Microsoft’s Office lists for $120 on Internet retail sites. Symphony will be given to customers who buy the latest version of its Notes collaboration software, which costs $145 per user. Notes, which includes email and instant messaging, rivals Microsoft’s Outlook email software.

An Open Strategy

ODF is an international standard that allows documents to be read by multiple software applications, rather than requiring any one system. IBM had been backing Open Document Format for several years. Recently, IBM committed 35 veteran programmers to the development of the OpenOffice.org specification, which incorporates the ODF.

By using Open Document Format in Lotus Symphony , IBM hopes to boost acceptance of that standard, which Microsoft does not support.

IBM claims that the free Linux operating system and other open-software products , helped make them successful. With the new release of Lotus Symphony, IBM hopes to achieve similar success with open desktop products.


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Converting from MS Office to OpenOffice.org does not mean you have to leave your old MS Office templates behind.

The fact is that you can simply open these templates using OpenOffice.org. Just click on File > Open in OpenOffice.org then locate the template from your MS Office template gallery. Click Open. The MS Office template opens in OpenOffice.org and you can edit it as you wish. Then select File- Templates- Save. Choose the category, My Templates. Then type in a name. Press OK. When you select File-New-Templates and Documents, you will find the template you just saved.

If you do not want to use the My Templates category , you can create a new one. To do this, select File-Templates-Save. Select Organizer. Select a category in the button that opens , right click, select New . Type in a name for a category. Press Close. Click on the name of the category , then type in the Template name. Press OK.

If you want to convert many templates at the same time, you can use Document Converter. Here’s how:

1. Launch OpenOffice.org. Choose File > Wizards > Document Converter. Select Microsoft Office. Choose from Word documents, Powerpoint documents or Excel documents. Click Next.

2. The next step is to import the files from their current location and save it to your hard drive. Remember the location you specified since you will be needing this information later on. Click Next.

3. Document Converter starts converting the MS Office documents it finds in the location you specified. This may take some time. Follow the succeeding instructions.

4. The next step is to make the converted files accessible from within OpenOffice.org . Choose Tools – Options – OpenOffice.org – Paths. The Options-OpenOffice.org -Paths box opens. Select Templates .

5. Click Edit. The Edit Paths: Templates box opens. Click Add. Choose the folder where you stored the converted files earlier. If you want to make that folder the default path for your new files, then mark it and press OK. Then press OK in the Options-OpenOffice.org -Paths box .

6. When you choose File > New > Templates and Documents from OpenOffice.org, you will find your MS Office templates from the Templates and Documents box that opens.

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