Balance of Power

IBM Adds Lotus Notes Code To OpenOffice Project
by: Jerry Liao

Can Microsoft Office be dislodged as the most popular office productivity in the computing space? Maybe yes, maybe no – but it’s worth a try.

A couple of weeks back, Google and Capgemini announced a collaborative effort for the later to extend its outsourcing portfolio to include Google Apps Premier Edition which prompted Microsoft to come up with a ten-point list of questions companies should consider if they are considering to switch. Now if that is not enough bad news for Microsoft, here’s another one:

The OpenOffice.org community announced that IBM will be joining the community to collaborate on the development of OpenOffice.org software. IBM will be making initial code contributions that it has been developing as part of its Lotus Notes product, including accessibility enhancements, and will be making ongoing contributions to the feature richness and code quality of OpenOffice.org. Besides working with the community on the free productivity suite’s software, IBM will also leverage OpenOffice.org technology in its products.

“This is great news for the tens of millions of users of OpenOffice.org and the thousands of individual members of the community”, said John McCreesh, OpenOffice.org Marketing Project Lead. “We welcome IBM’s contributions to further enhancing the OpenOffice.org product. But equally important is IBM’s future commitment to package and distribute new works that leverage OpenOffice.org technology supporting the ISO OpenDocument Format standard. ODF is a once in a generation opportunity for the IT industry to unify round a standard, and deliver lasting benefit to all users of desktop technology.”

“In the seven years since Sun founded the project, OpenOffice.org has fueled and filled the need for document data and productivity tools that are open and free. Open source software and ODF are having a profound impact around the world, with numerous communities and organizations coming together to support these initiatives and governments, and corporations and schools standardizing on the software. We look forward to working with IBM and the other members of OpenOffice.org to ensure that this momentum continues. We invite others to join us in the community and participate in building the future as OpenOffice.org and ODF continue to gain popularity across the planet,” said Rich Green, Executive Vice President, Software at Sun Microsystems, Inc.

“IBM is very pleased to be joining the OpenOffice.org community. We are very optimistic that IBM’s contribution of technology and engineering resources will provide tangible benefits to the community membership and to users of OpenOffice.org technology around the world,” said Mike Rhodin, General Manager of IBM’s Lotus division. “We’re particularly pleased to be teaming with the community to accelerate the rate of innovation in the office productivity marketplace. We believe that this relationship will improve our ability to deliver innovative value to users of IBM products and services. We also believe that the collaboration will lead to an even broader range of ODF-supporting applications (ISO 26300) and solutions that draw from the OpenOffice.org technology.”

OpenOffice.org is the leading open-source productivity suite. It includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, database, and other modules; it uses the ODF as its native file format as well as fully supporting other common file formats (including Microsoft Office). The software runs on all major platforms, including Microsoft Windows (including Vista), GNU/Linux, Solaris, and Mac OS X, and is available in over 100 languages. OpenOffice.org is fully interoperable with other popular suites and may be used free of charge for any purpose, private or commercial; the license is LGPL.

Since the project’s creation by Sun Microsystems in 2000, nearly 100 million have downloaded the product; thousands contribute to it. As an international team of volunteer and sponsored contributors, the OpenOffice.org community has created what is widely regarded as the most important open source project in the world today. The OpenOffice.org community acknowledges generous sponsorship from a number of companies, including Sun Microsystems, the founder and primary contributor.

Now why is this announcement big for Microsoft and for every user? Because OpenOffice has been here for quite some time and one of the main reason why people are even considering to use the product is because it’s free. Microsoft fanatics are saying that feature per feature, OpenOffice comes short. For OpenOffice advocates, the application is enough to do ones office requirement.

To me, the main advantage of Microsoft Office over OpenOffice is Outlook, not for it’s email functions but for its integrated calendar, email and personal information manager (PIM). With the entry of IBM, this advantage is shattered into pieces. Having IBM in the fold automatically equips OpenOffice with the functionality of Lotus Notes and Lotus Calendar. Organizer and workgroup functions into OpenOffice? That’s what I call Fire Power.

with this recent development, what is going to stop PC manufacturers to include OpenOffice as part of their package? It adds more value to their offering at no extra cost for them. So now, we can really say that OpenOffice will give Microsoft Office a run for its money.

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