Just after Lotusphere, IBM released Lotus Symphony 3.0.1. This new version of Symphony features several incremental enhancements and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the OpenOffice-based desktop productivity market.

In my earlier blog entry, I indicated that our energy around the next release of Symphony is combining with the open-source community around the Apache OpenOffice project. Rather than continue Symphony as a separate fork, we plan to contribute the Symphony codebase into the project that should be released later this year as Apache OpenOffice 4.0. We've hired developers with deep expertise in OpenOffice; I'll be blogging about them later this week.

Unfortunately some headlines in the press created the impression that this merged effort with Apache somehow signaled IBM backing away from the desktop productivity space, and Symphony specifically. To be clear, Symphony 3.0.1 is the current release and will be until the Apache OpenOffice 4 release is done. At that time, IBM will distribute an IBM edition of OpenOffice, with extensions to integrate it with our other collaboration products, and with IBM support in exactly the same way that we support both embedded and stand-alone Symphony users today.

IBM ourselves are in the process of rolling out the upgrade to Symphony 3.0.1 to all 400,000 desktop users internally; we will upgrade to the OpenOffice 4 release once it is complete. All the file compatibility and investment in Symphony just carries forward into that new release, and in our internal work effort the contributions individual IBMers are making to OpenOffice 4 are in the same mindset and energy level we have had in building Symphony.

To help clarify the roadmap and strategy, we've posted a couple of resources.

1) Here is Eric Otchet's Lotusphere presentation; Eric works for me as the Symphony product manager. Eric is signed up as a committer on the Apache OpenOffice project, along with many other IBMers.

2) We've also posted a buzz entry on symphony.lotus.com, featuring an FAQ about the future of Symphony, the Apache OpenOffice project, and more.

Also, my colleague Rob Weir has written on the topic, and as mentioned, I'll have more to say after my visit to Hamburg during the week ahead.

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