IBM hopes its second Symphony beta hits an even higher note

Latest free office suite is available starting today

Two months after launching the first beta of Lotus Symphony, its free OpenOffice.org-based desktop office suite, IBM today unveiled the second beta of the suite with a raft of improvements and bug fixes.

Intended to take on Microsoft's entrenched Office applications, IBM released Symphony in September. The software has been downloaded by more than 250,000 registered users, according to IBM. About 88% of the users are running the suite on Microsoft Windows, while about 12% are running it on Linux, the company said. The new version can be downloaded free at the Symphony Web site. There are versions for Windows XP or Vista, Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 or Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.

Mike Rhodin, general manager of IBM's Lotus division, said the new beta fixes "lots of 'gotchas' from Beta 1," as well as some significant performance improvements. Symphony's download site has also been improved, with new blogging capabilities and a gallery where users can download document templates, he said.

"We're treating this as a new distribution medium for us to get new technologies out to our customers," Rhodin said.

Symphony is built on OpenOffice.org's open standards-based office suite, which includes a word processor, spreadsheet program and a presentation application, using Open Document Format. The suite also supports Microsoft Office and Lotus SmartSuite. "Symphony's becoming a key strategic focus as we try to break down a fairly monopolistic distribution regime" by Microsoft, Rhodin said. "I don't think it's any secret that Microsoft has a lion's share of the market."

As part of its Symphony strategy, IBM plans to release new betas of the suite every six to eight weeks, he said, with a Macintosh version planned for release next year as a result of customer requests.

So far, Symphony is only available in English, but Beta 3, which is due by the end of the year, will include support for 23 languages, Rhodin said. "We're pretty serious about this," he said.

Early reviews of the first beta were mixed , but reviewers also said the suite has some good features and a slick interface.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Todd R. Weiss

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?