A user’s view on why Symphony has replaced OpenOffice on his machine

Great post from Ankur Banerjee:

Frankly, I’ve lost all interest in OpenOfficeImage:A user’s view on why Symphony has replaced OpenOffice on his machine ever since I came across IBM’s Lotus SymphonyImage:A user’s view on why Symphony has replaced OpenOffice on his machine. Yes, I’m perfectly aware that right now it’s under a proprietary license – but that’s because it modifies an older code-base of OpenOffice (v1.x), which was dual-licensed. Anyway, Symphony 2.0 will also be released, and will have to be open source as the OOo v2.x code-base is under LGPL. Why do I like this new entrant? Here’s why:

  • Tabbed interface: It’s high time someone did this, given that it has been so popular in the web browser market. Lotus Symphony has a tabbed interface – which means, you can open up a word document, a spreadsheet, and a presentation – all in one window in tabs. Or any combination of the type of documents.
  • Context-sensitive editing: Many people have said time and again that they find MS Office 2007’s Ribbon-style confusing. Symphony finds an elegant solution to that, by keep the normal formatting bar where it should be; and instead, adding a context-sensitive sidebar. So for example, when you open a presentation, the sidebar shows stuff that you can do on a slide / page; while if you click on an object (like a picture or a text box), it changes to show stuff you can do on that object. Even the formatting bar at the top keeps graying out options which can’t be used at that time.
  • Better looks!: I wouldn’t have admitted this fact earlier, but since Symphony is out, to hell with OOo. Absolutely childish icons, as if they had been made in TuxPaintImage:A user’s view on why Symphony has replaced OpenOffice on his machine. In fact, I’m darn sure they must have been made in TuxPaint. Symphony’s interface is the total opposite, with a nice cool blue shade, and everything else which doesn’t look like a GTK+ program. Put simply, it looks elegant.
Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!