IBM debuts beta of Lotus Symphony 4.0 for Linux

The Armonk, N.Y. company's software is based on code from OpenOffice, and is being marketing as an alternative to Microsoft Office.

Symphony is based on the Open Document Format standard, and includes tools for users to import Microsoft Office and Adobe PDF files into the suite. IBM says this would make it easier to integrate the suite into current deployments.

The Linux version of Symphony is now in beta, and available for download from CNR.com, a Linux software distribution service operated by Linspire. The site supports several Linux distributions including Freespire 2.0, Linspire 6.0, Ubuntu 7.04 and 7.10.

It was not immediately clear when the software would become available from other distributors.

IBM looks to be attempting to attract business from companies who might find deployments of Microsoft's Office platform too expensive. In fact, in comments announcing the availability, IBM executives pretty much said exactly that.

"Symphony was designed to provide freedom of choice and freedom from overpriced commodities," Lotus software chief Kevin Cavanaugh said. "Symphony and Linux are a natural fit for the growing ranks of businesses and individuals who have better things to do with their money."

IBM has not announced when they plan to make the final version of Symphony 4.0 available.

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