IBM to contribute Lotus Symphony to Apache OpenOffice.org
IBM's ODF Architect Rob Weir has announced that IBM will be donating the standalone version of Lotus Symphony to the Apache OpenOffice.org project under an Apache 2.0 licence. Weir says that the company will be working with the project to select components to integrate and points out that IBM has already "done a lot of work with replacing GPL/LGPL dependencies", which he hopes could accelerate the development of Apache OpenOffice.org.
He also points to the accessibility work done in Symphony which makes it work better with assistive technologies, and to IBM's implementation of VBA macro support, as suitable candidates for merging. Another option for integration is potentially the Symphony UI; Weir says it has reviewed well with media and users and hopes the Apache OOo project will consider it. A proposal is also being made to the Apache Software Foundation for it to incubate the ODF Toolkit, as an independent project for lightweight document processing in Java.
Weir does admit that IBM "have not been exemplary community members when it came to OpenOffice" but says that this "wasn't necessarily by design, but for various reasons, that was the effect." Symphony, at least till now, has been maintained as a fork, and IBM only occasionally, and not very well, contributed code to OpenOffice. IBM sees the fresh start at Apache as a good opportunity to make some changes in how the company does things, and the code contributions are part of those changes.
The statement was welcomed by many in comments on the Apache OpenOffice mailing list. IBM plans to shift over time its primary development focus to Apache OpenOffice and is in a "fairly radical re-planning exercise" to "get off the Symphony fork".
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