It’s bad news for OpenOffice.org fanatics out there. This time there is an actual rival: IBM Lotus Symphony.
Let’s start with the installation for Ubuntu:
1. Get the .bin file from here.
2. Right-click and make the file executable.
3. Turn off any desktop effects. The installer is allergic to them.
4. Double-click and select “run in terminal”.
5. After the setup finishes, type “gksudo nautilus” in a terminal.
6. Browse into your home folder, hit ctrl+h, right-click .lotus folder and change the permissions for your user.
7. You’re good to go.
Open the program through Applications > Office > IBM Lotus Symphony.
– The first thing i noticed is the tabbed structure. You can open different document, spreadsheet and presentation files in just one window. I saw something about importing different clients (like a mail client) but i haven’t got to be able to do that, yet. Still it feels very compact.
– Another difference is you have a panel on the right. It’s a properties panel and works like the one in Visual Studio. Seems more useful than having everything on two linear panels.
– Not to get lost in a sea of documents there is a thumbnail button, you can browse the documents on a compiz’s scale-like pane.
– The software mainly supports .odf format but you can also import and export Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org and Smart Suite documents.
– At least but not least, they’ve got a support forum.
I must say, it seems very promising. The layout is a little different than the usual, though. But it’s easy to get used to. The tabbing is just useful when you get the hang of it. The only negative side i can think of it is that it is a ram-monster. As it is just a Beta 2, I’m hoping that they will fix that with the final release.
The best thing about Lotus Symphony is that IBM promises that this software will ALWAYS be free. Go free software!