"Something borrowed, something blue..."
That pops into my head when reading of IBM offering Lotus Symphony. It's OpenOffice being offered under the recyled name of Lotus' office software package -- before it was bought out by IBM.
At one time, Lotus had the #1 spreadsheet -- running on DOS. They even worked to define a memory standard to help provide uber-large spreadsheets with RAM. The LIM EMS spec was named after Lotus, Intel, and Microsoft; EMS was extended memory specification, which allowed compatible programs to access RAM beyond the 640KB limit imposed by Microsoft's MS-DOS operating system.
Like WordPerfect, Lotus stumbled when the move to Windows was required, what with Microsoft using undocumented APIs to have their apps run much faster. Ah, the joy of having a monopolistic mindset. When office suits became popular (as a cheap way to get lots of software, not because they worked together), Lotus bundled 1-2-3 with the acquired Ami Pro word processor and so on.
But the bundle never got traction, and Lotus eventually sold itself to IBM. Many years later, the name re-emerges.
I downloaded the "new" Lotus Symphony to see what it was like. (Before downloading, you need to register with IBM, which is a pain.)
My first two attempts to install it were a failure:
-- I accidentally tried to install it on my primary computer, which runs Windows 2000. This software apparently works only with Windows XP and Vista.
-- I copied the install file to my Windows Vista notebook computer, and re-ran the install. Still no go. There is no evidence that the program exists. I've left a message on the painfully-slow Lotus Symphony support forum, so we'll see what happens.
Lots of people are reading my request for help at the Symphony forum, but no answers yet.
In the meantime, I figured out the problem. I re-installed the software, and found that the IBM_Lotus_Symphony_w32.exe file is only an executable unzipper that deposits the Setup.exe file in the same (busy) folder. You'd think IBM could figure out how to write a dialog box that tells you to run Setup.exe next, instead of being silent.
Ran Setup.exe, installed Symphony correctly. And wow! It looks nice. Someone really worked on the user interface; until you start using the software's menus and right-click menus, it doesn't look like OpenOffice at all.
One immediate GUI problem, though. There is a prominent Open button, but it should be relabeled New, because all it does is create new, blank documents.