After Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems, and with it OpenOffice.org, community members of the OpenOffice.org project decided to form an independent foundation, The Document Foundation, which would oversee the further development of the OpenOffice.org project.
Since the OpenOffice.org brand belonged to Oracle, the new fork was given the name LibreOffice, unless Oracle agreed to donate the name to The Document Foundation. Oracle choose not to. However recently Oracle donated OpenOffice.org to the Apache Software Foundation instead.
Nearly all major Linux distributions have now switched to LibreOffice from OpenOffice.org, and in the short period of time that LibreOffice’s inception, it has seen regular updates, with the latest being LibreOffice 3.4.1 (with an RC of 3.4.2 available). LibreOffice’s development continues on with support from major organization like Red Hat, Canonical and Google.
Now IBM is donating their own office suite, Lotus Symphony, which is also based on OpenOffice.org, to Apache to further strengthen the OpenOffice.org suite.
IMB Lotus Symphony features a different interface than OpenOffice.org, which makes better use of horizontal space with panels instead of toolbars like OpenOffice.org / LibreOffice. It also features a tabbed interface for opening multiple documents at the same time.
Previously IBM Lotus Symphony has been free, but not open source, so this is good news indeed. Any open source contribution, especially one of this size, only stands to improve the open source community as a whole.