Lodahl's blog: Questions for IBM

12 November 2007

Questions for IBM

In the late summer IBM announced their support to the OpenOffice.org community and about a week later, they announced a new free (of charge) product, IBM Lotus Symphony. The new product is basically a stand-alone version of the productivity tools in Lotus Notes 8.

If you ask me, I think it's great that IBM is now standing up behind OpenOffice.org together with other large companies and I think it looks great that IBM will contribute with better acceptability and usability, I'm sure that OpenOffice.org can take advantage of that. Just have a look at the work IBM did to make Symphony look that nice.

I'm using Lotus Notes 8 from IBM and I think it shows that IBM Lotus is going in the right direction. But I still need answers for two questions:

  1. Will IBM Lotus productivity tools (in whatever product package you get them) follow the OpenOffice.org code line in the future ?
    The version we use now is a very old OpenOffice.org
  2. Will IBM Lotus productivity tools support OpenOffice.org extensions (oxt-files) ?
I would very much like to tell customers that the IBM Lotus product line is on the right track, but I can't do this as long as the code is more than two years old and doesn't support one of the most important and most significant improvements in OpenOffice.org.

I have tried to ask around at IBM in Denmark without luck. If anyone here can find out who can answer these question, please let me know.


Douglas Heintzman said...

Answer from IBM.

Lief I can answer your question. I'm the director of Strategy for Lotus. First of all you should realize that you should understand that we have been actively working on the Symphony code base for quite a while now. We have done a UI overhaul. We have re-hosted the code on the Expiditor client framework (based on Eclipse RCP) nad added a number of features including the accessibility framework (implementation of iAccessible 2) and Smartsuite filters. We are evolving the code very quickly and actively incorporating feedback from users posted at the symphony website. Beta 2 has just gone public. You will see some substantial performance increases.

To the specifics of your question. We are and will be contributing many of the IBM enhancements to the Open Office community. We do plan to incorporate the most recent code form open office as soon as we can into Symphony. The question of which features, such as otx files, get in and get in first is a mater of prioritization. Much of this prioritization is being driven by user feedback.

Leif Lodahl said...

Thanks very much for your quick reply.

As you can read from several of my blog posts, I am very happy that IBM has joined the OpenOffice.org community and is supporting the ODF file format.

I know that you have been working hard on both Symphony and Notes 8 over the last years. As mentioned, I have been using Notes 8 since Beta 1 or something.

Why is this so important ?
When I speak to customers in Denmark, I would very much like to say: You don't need to go to ODF. ODF will come to you (if you are using products from IBM Lotus).

Keep up the good work, but please provide us with some more clarifying information a little earlier in the future.