An update on Lotus Symphony for the Mac

A topic close to my heart, Symphony support for the Mac OS X platform.

An update from the blog over at the Symphony product site:

Undoubtedly, the most frequently asked request in the forum is when is Symphony going to support Mac OS X ? Just search with the keyword “Mac OS X” in the Support forum …. you will find more than 50 postings on the subject, some of them dated back to last September when the first Lotus Symphony Beta version, Beta 1, was released.

As the development manager who is responsible for porting Lotus Symphony to this platform, I observe with some pride the team’s solid progress we have made since last year in order to release public version of Lotus Symphony on Mac. As a MacBookPro user, I am just as eager as you are to see Symphony on Mac.


Let me assure you that the team is very hard at work on answering this request and delivering Symphony on Mac. Please be patient a just a little longer, we need time to guarantee the product we deliver meets your expectations and our quality threshold. Right now, we are paying close attention to its stability as Lotus Symphony runs in single process on the Mac.


Single process? Well, what that means is Symphony on Mac is different from Symphony on Windows and Linux where there are two processes which talk in UNO language — one is Java process and the other back-end native process in C++. On the Mac platform, it’s impossible to embed main window of back-end native process into the window of Java process by setting the former as child window of the latter (commonly referred to as window reparenting), the window reparenting has to be done in single process. Actually it’s the first technical challenge that we must address last year when we started this porting. (Ed: are you following this?)


Aqua, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqua_GUI, is the system theme that helps define one consistent user interface for all applications developed for Mac OS. In order to make Lotus Symphony behave like other Mac applications, we focus on Native Look & Feel enhancement, drawing common controls’ appearance in Aqua style and supporting more Mac behaviors like activating and deactivating window, theme change and etc.


I guess that was a long way of saying that this porting task is far beyond the single process and Native Look & Feel enhancement. Anyway, it is a challenging but enjoyable journey, please stay tuned. Soon, we hope to deliver Lotus Symphony on Mac
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Well, that’s a great update as it explains some of the reasons for the delay in shipping the Mac version, though it seems odd that the Notes client for Mac doesn’t seem to suffer in the same way (or at least that hasn’t been communicated as being the case), and it would have been good to have this info earlier.

You may also note that there is no mention of a ship date for either the beta or the full production version!  Fortunately this is contained in a comment to that post:

As stated already by a Manager in the forums, Symphony for the Mac is expected early November as a beta and final release early 2009.

Ed Brill also stated a similar view in a recent comment on his blog:

Beta of the Mac version coming still this quarter, shipping in early 2009.

So, good news – it is on its way!

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!