From the Lotus Symphony website:

Lotus Symphony 3.0.1 is our latest release. There are many enhancements in this release including support for 1 million rows in spreadsheets, bubble charts and a new design for the home page.
This will also likely be the last release of IBM's own fork of the OpenOffice codebase. Our energy from here is going into the Apache OpenOffice project, and we expect to distribute an "IBM edition" of Apache OpenOffice in the future. We have contributed the Lotus Symphony code into the OpenOffice project, along with human resource across development/product management/marketing organizations. I'm excited by what I see happening at Apache, but for now, the new release of Symphony keeps the current project updated for existing and potential customers.

Link: Lotus Symphony 3.0.1 >

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  1. 1  John Head |

    Ed - is there an overlay install for the Notes client for Symphony 3.0.1?

  1. 2  Henning Heinz  |

    I am wondering if you are

    now switching to the C++ GUI or

    if Apache OpenOffice will continue based on the IBM Java/Eclipse approach or if

    you just share backend code but keep separate GUI concepts.

  1. 3  John Head |

    @2 they showed some mock-ups of 4.0 and it has no eclipse anywhere. It looked like with many of the Symphony UI enhancements, such as the sidebar and the right side verticle icon strip that changes the context of the sidebar.

  1. 4  Julian Woodward |

    Ed, can I

    1) repeat John's question at [1]. And also ask

    2) whether future post-3.0.1 versions will be over-layable on Notes?

    3) what the future of the Symphony LotusScript API is?

  1. 5  shabeer  |

    a. does this mean this is the end of symphony for the enterprises? b. will we have the paid support for symphony partcode in ibm dsw pricelist?

    c. will we have future roadmap for the symphony embedded in notes?

  1. 6  Eric Otchet  |


    I'm the product manager for Symphony and the upcoming Apache OpenOffice the IBM Edition.

    Symphony 3.0.1 add-on installer for Notes is available today in FixCentral. This will update the version of Symphony embedded in the Notes client.

    The new Apache OpenOffice code will NOT be based on Eclipse. We are donating the Symphony code to the Apache project. The sidebar in Symphony is C++ code today.

    Future releases of Symphony 3.0.1 ( fixpacks) will be still be based on Eclipse/Expeditor. Symphony 3.0.1 will be included in Notes 8.5.4 ( in the box) with the exception of the Mac client. Mac will be standalone only due to some Cocoa/Carbon issues.

    We will continue to offer support for our Notes customers on maintenance if they want to use the Apache OpenOffice the IBM Edition when it is available instead of or in addition to Symphony. We will not have the ability to embed the Apache OpenOffice the IBM Edition into the Notes client.

    We are looking at how to extend our Symphony LotusScript support to the Apache OpenOffice code in the future.

    Symphony 3.0.1 will continue to be supported for the lifecycle of the Notes 8.5.x clients. This will be through fixpacks and maintenance releases as needed.

  1. 7  Henning Heinz  |

    @John(3) and @Eric(6)

    Thank you very much. Much appreciated.

  1. 8  Matteo Bisi |

    @6 Thanks for your nice info Eric!

  1. 9  Andrew Pike  |

    No sign of import filters for Smartsuite files (WordPro, 123) in the release notes. Are there any plans to restore these or do I need Symphony 1.3 still for that?

  1. 10  Someone Blue  |

    A brave decision, long overdue.

    The IBM developers working on Symphony have my deepest respect; but I have to admit that I thought from day 1: this will not work out. You cant fork something off and put in your own stuff ... while the rest of the world enjoys bug fixes and new features from the main branch ... and you have to wait so much longer to see these fixes/features in the forked version.

    I think that internally, IBM symphony lost the battle when word was spread that IBM told its employees to not use OpenOffice or LibreOffice (check the "go 2 green" project status on office suites).

    I do hope that OpenOffice gains some movement again. It would be a shame to put all our energy in it; while that other fork LibreOffice is used by the rest of the world.

  1. 11  Eric Otchet  |


    At this point the Smartsuite filters are still only available in Symphony 1.3. We have no plans to add them to Symphony 3.x.

    It is possible that the Apache OpenOffice community could add those filters to a future release of the Apache OpenOffice code.

    There are some Smartsuite filters today in the LibreOffice fork.

  1. 12  susi ochoa  |

    This apache version seems so pointless! It's been standing still for over a year, while the LibreOffice fork has been advancing very quickly, cleaning up its code and making improvements for the future. Heck, they're already working on an experimental Android port, and have talked about rewriting the very core of each of the office apps.

    IBM is known for being supremely practical, and going with the winner. Why don't you just let Apache.OO die, after a first release, and go with the superior codebase? I'm sure if you approach the TDF guys, they'll be more than happy to collaborate.

  1. 13  John Foldager |

    @6 If IBM is not continuing their work on Lotus Symphony, why not try to open source it as a new branch of the Apache OpenOffice so that the community can try to keep the Eclipse (we LOVE the plugins!!!) version up-to-date. I'd really love to see IBM put even more effort into coorporate with the open source world. Anyone know the story of IBM OS/2 *cough*

    @12 I agree with you that the project has not moved for the last year or so. However, I'm not sure the TDF guys want to collaborate with Apache and IBM as long as IBM is going with their own IBM branded version "Apache IBM Edition". Why on earth should they contribute to a project that IBM is then extending with more functionality (which is not open source)? I for one, would be more than happy to see each of the projects merge into one combined version, however, I don't think it will ever happen.

  1. 14  Alessandro Perucchi  |

    I won't go to the flaming discussion from susi(12)

    But the base question is valid... why and not LibreOffice? License reasons?

  1. 15  J├╝rgen Lange |

    @12 The Apache version isn't pointless. I find a lot of advantages in the developer snapshots, I can't find in Version 3.4 of LibreOffice or in the newest release candidate. One thing are Pivot Tables (call them Data Pilot if you want). Pivot Tables are very, very slow in LibreOffice. You don't believe? Take a table with 40,000 lines and build up a nice nested Pivot Table and you will see.

    Those TDF guys (and girls!) should take the Apache code and put it into LibreOffice. The Apache license allows this!

  1. 16  Waldemar Schmuerz  |

    you can't beat them, join them.... Go Office, Libre!

  1. 17  Jefferson Martin  |

    I am just a user of Symphony 3.01 in a small business and not a code aware type by any means.

    We installed Symphony 3.01 in an attempt to normalize document creation and maintenance between various platforms.

    Of the three OO packages, we found Symphony to be the smoothest and glitch-free (relatively speaking) and the sidebar is really nice compared to the others.

    Am I reading correctly that Lotus Symphony is going away? And, that we should go install Apache OpenOffice, instead?


  1. 18  Ed Brill |

    @17 Symphony 3.0.1 is the current release, only days old. It will be supported for years into the future. Our next release will be an IBM Edition of the NEXT version of OpenOffice. We are contributing to that. So for now Symphony 3.0.1 represents our best work, then the Apache OpenOffice 4 will in the future.

  1. 19  Jefferson Martin  |

    @18 Thanks. I am relieved to hear that. We really did not want to lose the integration with LotusLive, which we like, as well.

  1. 20  Eric Otchet  |

    @13 John,

    We are doing exactly what you mention. We are contributing the Symphony source code to the Apache OpenOffice project. We are working with the community to get those code contributions into a future release of the Apache OpenOffice code. We are proposing that for version 4. That release with Symphony code will be open source .. Assuming the community accepts the code and builds a release with it.

    Our plans for the "IBM Edition" are to distribute an identical release of the Apache OpenOffice code under the Apache license simply bundled with some Extensions that we will create to link the Apache OpenOffice code to our portfolio. These Extensions will be no-charge and will also be posted in the Extensions Repository for anyone to access. If someone prefers to download the Apache OpenOffice code and then go get a specific extension for IBM Connections for example and install it themselves .. they are free to do that. We are going to bundle Extensions for IBM Connections, IBM Smartcloud for Social Business and others together in an all-in-one package for install.

    We are not going to release a version of the Apache OpenOffice code with a different license.

  1. 21  John Foldager |

    @20 What a relief, Eric! Thanks for answering my questions and concerns :o)

  1. 22  Kevin  |

    Question here from a non-coder who loves to use both L.O. and O.O.

    I really don't like the fact that Libre or a Mac specific fork known as Neo Office need Java to run. I don't feel comfortable with the performance lag or there being that intermediary layer.

    From what @Eric said above both Lotus Symphony 3.01 and the future Apache O.O. for the Mac will be written in Carbon / Cocoa and not Java -- is that correct? That makes me happy.

    Also which O.O. is LS 3.01 based on, 3.3? Thank you.

  1. 23  Eric Otchet  |

    @22 Kevin,

    Symphony 3.0.1 is based on OO 3.2 plus select updates from the 3.3 code.

    Symphony 3.0.1 is still based on the Lotus Expeditor/Eclipse framework and still uses Java.

    The Apache OpenOffice clients ( including Mac) do not require Java.

  1. 24  Andy Prough  |

    Why did it take over one year to do a simple point release? I'll try this version as I have all the others, but I've got to say I'm not at all impressed by IBM's commitment to this project. There's been a whole lot more hype than substance in my opinion. Too bad - this project really should have been tremendously promising. Looks like the LibreOffice guys (mainly SUSE and Red Hat contributors) are the only ones doing serious work on the original OOo code though - do companies like SUSE and Red Hat often run circles around IBM on projects like this?

  1. 25  Eric Otchet  |

    @24 Andy,

    The community was in the process of releasing OO 3.4 when Oracle decided to pull the plug. This put the release on hold within the community. Until the grant to Apache was final and the new Apache OpenOffice community got off the ground no work on the code was going on. The community needed to migrate the OO websites,wiki,forums etc from Oracle hosting and infrastructure to Apache. There was a huge amount of work going on in the background. In addition the community has been working on the OO 3.4 codebase and converting it to an Apache licensed release. This involved a very detailed walk through of the code and replacement of LGPL'd code from the original OO codebase with replacement code that could be licensed under the ALV2 license. The Apache OpenOffice commnuity has done a great job and much heavy lifting during this time. Once this is all done I think you will see many new and exciting improvements quickly add to the project and new releases. You can get more detail here if you like { Link }

  1. 26  Randall Shimizu  |

    @Eric Otchet

    Subject: Eclipse/Expediter framework....?

    Please explain what the Eclipse/Expediter framework is ....? I searched and could only find Lotus Expediter...?

  1. 27  Eric Otchet  |

    @26 Randall,

    Sorry ..Lotus Expeditor is the IBM branded product that provides the Eclipse framework for the Notes client, Sametime and Symphony.

  1. 28  Jim Carroll  |

    Well, I'm glad to hear the news. I've been among those people trying to get my co-workers to "eat our own dog food" but running into resistance because of a perceived lack of support from IBM itself for the product.

    Now all we need to do is find some way to get Symphony/OpenOffice to be the wiki/messaging editor used in the IBM Connections product!

  1. 29  Eric Otchet  |

    @28 Jim,

    You might be interested in this Symphony plugin { Link }

  1. 30  Ed Brill |

    An interesting follow-up article in SeekingAlpha today:

    { Link }

  1. 31  Fabrizio Marchesano |

    Hi all,

    thanks to Ed and Eric for the info.

    I'm excited about the announcement and will look forward to the project development with deep interest.

    Just a question about custom plug-ins created for Symphony 3: since AOO will not be based on Eclipse, will at least the IBM Edition compatible in some way (even from a developer point of view, may be providing some sort of shortcut to re-code them, avoiding a complete rewriting from scratch)?

    Even if Symphony 3.0.1 will be supported for a long period, it would be nice to have the chance to use "old" and custom-made plug-ins in the new release of AOO.

    Thanks in advance and best regards.

  1. 32  Eric Otchet  |

    @31 Hi Fabrizio,

    What we have found during our work with the OpenOffice Extension model is that the logic of existing code and language moves over pretty nicely it is in the packaging where some work is needed. You can contact me via email if you want some more information.

  1. 33  Fabrizio Marchesano |

    @32 Hi Eric,

    thank you very much for your reply; I will take advantage of your kind helpfulness and contact you via email.

    Thanks again!

  1. 34  Bernfried Geiger  |

    @32 Eric Otchet

    What about the lsx integration of the Notes client - Is it already save to say, that the lsx will survive into 'whatever IBM version' based on Apache OO Version 4 and Notes Next (with whatever name it may have)?

    I am very close to the start of such Project. (Budget is already clear, MS Office is still in the race). I guess I should have stopped by at Lotusphere. too late now.

  1. 35  Jens-B. Augustiny  |

    ... and regarding the LSX, if it is continued, will it have the ability to use Libre- or Open-Office as its target in addition to whatever IBM version it will work with?

  1. 36  Eric Otchet  |

    @34, @35

    LotusScript support is something that we are still working on from an Apache OpenOffice point of view. There are some technical issues we must solve before I am able to give you definitive answers. Our intent is to extend the current Symphony/LotusScript support to the Apache OpenOffice code. There is no intent to have it only work with the "IBM Edition" . I cannot say whether it will work with any other distributions like LibreOffice since there may be code required in the core to enable it.

  1. 37  Daniel Collins  |

    @24 It may have taken a long time but, it has the feature I have been waiting for, to see slide notes while viewing the slide in Presentations in Normal mode. (The Notes mode does not count)

  1. 38  Alex Stockar  |

    @36 Eric Otchet

    I wish that Symphony LotusScript API was still working with Notes 8.5.3 and embedded Symphony 3.0 but I am unable to use it.

    I called Notes support and they do not seem to be much interested with this issue.

    They opened SPR (Software Problem Report) #DPOL8QNLBA / APAR #LO66686 but none is apparently looking after it.

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