IBM re-enters the PC business, at least in Eastern Europe

The company that brought forth the Era of Compatibility so long ago, announced today it is teaming up with VDEL (Austria) and LX Polska (Poland) to produce Linux-based PCs for the Russian business market.

VDEL and LX Polska will produce the machines under the moniker "Open Referent," and will pre-install Red Hat Linux and come with IBM's Lotus Symphony software suite. Lotus Symphony competes with Microsoft Office, and supports Open Document Format (ODF).

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Among the first interested parties in this Open Source IBM product are the Russian Ministry of Defense, Aeroflot Airlines, and Alfa Bank.

Lotus Symphony was developed using the Eclipse-based Lotus Expeditor open framework, allowing simultaneous multilingual support, ideal for companies working in a linguistically heterogeneous environment. According to IBM, since Lotus Symphony's English language release in September 2007, it has been downloaded by approximately 1.6 million worldwide.

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