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IBM Lotus Symphony turns old OOo code into enterprise Judas goat

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Software

Oracle and now IBM seem to have strange ideas about creating a business around open source software for the enterprise. First it was Oracle's Unbreakable Linux program, derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux sans its proprietary bits and supported for peanuts to beat RHEL and similar community projects such as CentOS. Now it's IBM, which has taken old OpenOffice.org code under the now-retired Sun Industry Standards Source License and released it as a proprietary closed source freeware office suite. The first stable release of IBM Lotus Symphony, released last week, has no obvious advantages over OpenOffice.org. The suite is targeted at enterprise customers, at the expense of free and open source alternatives.

There are three clear giveaways that IBM is gunning for the enterprise desktop with Lotus Symphony. The first is the marketing material for Symphony. All the Flash overviews concentrate on examples that revolve around business users and how they can create and deliver business documents, presentations, and spreadsheets with Symphony. A video on the home page shows how resident superhero Crescendo "helps organizations cut down their IT budgets."

Second is the list of official supported Linux distributions. Lotus Symphony 1.0 is supported only on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (and Windows). These two distributions are the two most popular enterprise Linux distros.

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