IBM donates Symphony to Apache
Douglas Heintzman 060000Q98X firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  lotus_symphony openoffice odf
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Some news that you might not have heard yet. Also an important angle to this story about the innovation in the document space and the potential of smarter documents.
This week at the ODF Plug-fest in Berlin, IBM announced that the company will make a substantial donation of code and resources to the Apache OpenOffice project. IBM will contribute the entire award winning Lotus Symphony code base as well as the ODF Toolkit. The approximately 3 million lines of new code contains performance improvements, bug fixes and many functional enhancements including user interface (with side panels for convenient property editing) the iAccessible2 accessibility framework (itself a multi-million dollar IBM R&D investment). The ODF Toolkit is set of Java APIs that allows programmatic access to ODF documents. The move is intended to accelerate the community development of Apache OpenOffice and derivative communities and distributions. IBM will work within the Apache OpenOffice community to assess what Symphony components should be integrated into the main code line.
IBM further hopes that the combination of the original OpenOffice.org donation and this new donation will provide a rich community environment that will attract new resources and energy and drive new innovation into the evolution of document technology.
Documents need to become much smarter. They need to incorporate rich descriptive semantics to aid navigation, discovery, trustworthiness analysis, compliance, and deep Q&A technology. Smarter documents will be used by business and governments in fields such as health care and marketing, for risk or sentiment analysis. People and organizations who leverage document content need to know its accuracy: who authored it? who has had access to it? where it was developed and what the provenance of the content is. IBM's desire is for the very sizable code base and community surrounding the Apache OpenOffice project be a center of gravity for new and valuable work to be co-developed in this space and will work in the community to invite new parties to join the effort.
IBM Symphony, making its desktop productivity suite available free at http://symphony.lotus.com. It recently won the PC magazine Editors choice award (full review: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2387439,00.asp%3Cbr/%3E%3Cbr%3E) . There have been more than 50 million downloads since the product was first made available in 2007.
In the interest in promoting a truly open and productive community, IBM has decided to contribute the entire Symphony source code to Apache's OpenOffice project to work with this development community to build on donations recently made by Oracle (http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/34638.wss). In addition, IBM is working to move the ODF Toolkit components to Apache.
The decision by IBM is designed to enable developers participating in Apache OpenOffice to collaborate on further development of Apache OpenOffice and develop the underlying document technology to allow Watson-like analytics to be used to greatly magnify the value of large repositories of documents. It is IBM's hope that other communities and distributions will be able to leverage these donations and the ongoing innovation in the Apache OpenOffice project. The ODF Toolkit donation will allow programmatic access to Open Document Format (ODF) documents allowing the creation of many new types of document solutions.