IBM ANNOUNCED in New York City that it will offer a complete set of office productivity applications, desktop software, called IBM Lotus Symphony, at an event today in New York. The programs will be available as free downloads from the IBM Web site.
The IBM's offerings are versions of open-source software developed in a consortium called OpenOffice.org. The original code traces its origins to a German company, Star Division, which Sun Microsystems bought in 1999. Sun later made the desktop software, now called StarOffice, an open-source project, in which work and code are freely shared.
By joining Sun and Google to develop and promote open source software products implementing ODF, IBM adds welcome resources and marketing power to lure users away from the high costs and vendor lock-in of Microsoft Office.
IBM executives compare its ODF initiative with the support it gave to the open source system Linux by promoting its use in corporate data centers, support that helped make Linux very successful over the last several years.