IBM VP Bob Sutor just posted this to his blog, following discussion on some of the Apache mailing lists over the last 24 hours:

Six weeks ago I noted here that Oracle had to decided to offer the codebase for OpenOffice.org, the open source word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet software suite to the Apache Software Foundation. Two weeks after that, Apache voted to accept the proposed project for incubation. Now, one month later, IBM is announcing that it will offer the Symphony source code to the Apache OpenOffice incubator for consideration.
We've been working on Lotus Symphony now for a few years and, since after all it is derived from OpenOffice, now saying that we want to give back as much of our innovation into the open source project as possible, while contributing to future innovation -- both for Symphony and the open source project. As Sutor explains:
Work on Symphony will continue with the Apache OpenOffice code an essential part of its core. Just as IBM’s WebSphere Application Server ... uses Apache open source code but has code also written by IBM, so too will Symphony continue to evolve within IBM using code from Apache. Employees of IBM will contribute to OpenOffice as part of the community. IBM will benefit from the work done by others in the community, but so too will we all.

As the core OpenOffice code gets better and better, downstream projects and products like Symphony will benefit because they can focus on the features that distinguish them and add particular value for their users. This other software might have alternative user interfaces, support different devices, or be optimized for particular consumer or enterprise applications.
I think this is a very strong message for the future of our Symphony strategy. Our work with Apache is clearly designed to ensure that Symphony is no longer simply our own fork of OpenOffice, but tapped into the main vein of the future of desktop productivity and innovation.

Link: Bob Sutor: IBM to donate Symphony code to Apache for consideration >
Link: Network World: IBM bequeaths Symphony code to Apache >

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