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IBM has announced that it is joining the OpenOffice.org development community, with an initial involvement concerning code contributions it has been developing as part of its Lotus Notes product. The code includes accessibility enhancements, and IBM is expected to make ongoing contributions to the feature richness and code quality of OpenOffice.org. As an aside, IBM has also declared that it will leverage OpenOffice.org technology in its own product line.

Since the project's creation by Sun Microsystems in 2000, nearly 100 million have downloaded the product; and thousands contribute to it. As an international team of volunteer and sponsored contributors, the OpenOffice.org community has created what is widely regarded as the most important open-source project in the world today. The OpenOffice.org community acknowledges generous sponsorship from a number of companies, including Sun Microsystems, the founder and primary contributor. The suite contains word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, database, and other modules; it uses the ODF as its native file format as well as fully supporting other common file formats (including Microsoft Office).

The software runs on all major platforms, including Windows, Vista, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, and is available in over 100 languages. OpenOffice.org is fully interoperable with other popular suites and may be used free of charge for any purpose, private or commercial; the license is LGPL.

"IBM is very pleased to be joining the OpenOffice.org community" Mike Rhodin, General Manager of IBM's Lotus division told DaniWeb " We are very optimistic that IBM's contribution of technology and engineering resources will provide tangible benefits to the community membership and to users of OpenOffice.org technology around the world. We're particularly pleased to be teaming with the community to accelerate the rate of innovation in the office productivity marketplace."

"We look forward to working with IBM and the other members of OpenOffice.org to ensure that this momentum continues" said Rich Green, Executive Vice President, Software at Sun Microsystems, Inc. Green also invited others to join the community and participate in building an OpenOffice.org and ODF future.

One who has already joined the gang is Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu with which OpenOffice.org is distributed. He could hardly contain his enthusiasm telling us "We are excited about IBM joining Sun and other contributors to the OpenOffice.org community in pushing development of OpenOffice.org and the OpenDocument Format. We are firmly committed to help set, drive and promote open standards like the ODF world-wide to free all users from any dependency on single vendors and proprietary software. The OpenOffice.org community is showing that it is possible for large, competing companies to collaborate and deliver extraordinary value to all of their users."

Scott Crenshaw, Red Hat's Vice President of Enterprise Linux, agreed: "IBM continues to show their commitment to the proliferation of open-source software and we applaud them on joining the OpenOffice.org community. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with IBM as we work toward a common goal of bringing value to our customers and fostering the adoption of open standards and ODF."

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