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September 18, 2007

Two More Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office Apps

IBM has jumped in the game of offering an Microsoft Office alternative.  It's Lotus Symphony, which is neither the successor to Lotus 123 (ah, the 80s) or a candy bar from Hershey.  It is a suite of three applications, Documents, Presentations, and Spreadsheets.  These are probably the three most used apps in MS Office beyond Access.  The download is free but be warned, the registration process is a bear.  One has to create an ID, a password, and a contact profile. Typical IBM. And the download, once you can get to it, is slooooooooooooooow.  At least that's my experience on a campus network.  I'm up to 24 KB/sec., which should take at least another hour plus to download the 133 MB file.

From the Lotus Symphony FAQ:

Lotus Symphony can save documents, spreadsheets and presentations in a variety of file formats. In addition, Lotus Symphony can also convert documents, spreadsheets, and presentations types into Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF) files.

Note: The following file formats are supported by the three IBM Lotus Symphony applications. OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) specifies the ODF (Open Document Format) file standards:

.Lotus Symphony Documents supports .doc (Microsoft), .dot (Microsoft template), .odt (ODF), .ott (ODF template), .sxw (IBM Lotus Symphony native format), .stw (IBM Lotus Symphony native format template), .lwp (IBM Lotus SmartSuite®), .mwp (IBM Lotus SmartSuite template), .rtf, and .txt formats
. Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets supports .xls (Microsoft), .xlt (Microsoft template), .ods (ODF), .ots (ODF template), .sxc (IBM Lotus Symphony native format), .stc (IBM Lotus Symphony native format template), .123 (IBM Lotus Smartsuite), .12m (IBM Lotus Smartsuite template), .xml, and .csv formats
. Lotus Symphony Presentations supports .ppt (Microsoft), .pot (Microsoft template), .odp (ODF), .otp (ODF template), .prz (IBM Lotus Smartsuite), .mas (IBM Lotus Smartsuite look template), .smc (IBM Lotus Smartsuite content template), .sxi (IBM Lotus Symphony native format), and .sti (IBM Lotus Symphony native format template)

While we're on the subject of large corporations attacking MS Office, Google makes available Google Presentations, which is a PowerPoint alternative.  It works like PowerPoint, if there was such a thing as PowerPoint Lite. The software has all the basic features for straightforward presentations with graphics that don't require special effects.  That is approximately 95% of presentations everywhere.  The files seem to be compatible with .ppt format.  How far that goes without supporting multimedia and other advanced features of PowerPoint, however, can be problematic going between the two programs.  Access it through the Google Documents section of a Google login.

September 18, 2007 | Permalink

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