IBM Goes After Office With Free Desktop Suite

The no-cost alternatives for Microsoft Office just keep growing: IBM announced yesterday that it is now offering Lotus Symphony, a free suite of "enterprise-grade" software featuring word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications for Windows and Linux.

The suite is based on the Open Document Format (ODF) and is compatible with both Microsoft applications plus other suites based on ODF, like OpenOffice. Resulting documents can also be output into PDFs.

"IBM is committed to opening office desktop productivity applications just as we helped open enterprise computing with Linux,"Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Software Group, said in a released statement. "With the Open Document Format, businesses can unlock their information, making it universally accessible on any platform and on the Web in highly flexible ways."

IBM formally announced its membership in last week and marked the occasion by donating Lotus Notes code as well as pledging to help add functionality to the open source suite.

Lotus Symphony is available for download here.

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Becky Nagel is the executive editor of the 1105 Redmond Media Group's Web sites, including,, and, among others.