After sitting on the fence for a while, trying not to show too much Lotus bias, I finally decided to give Lotus Symphony a trial.
For the record, my work PC is old..
It's an IBM 8194 P4 2.8GHz with 3GB RAM and not a lot of available hard drive space.
Downloading and Installing
I went to the IBM Symphony site (http://symphony.lotus.com) and selected the Windows version and in the English Language. I've got lots of issues with IBM's downloading services - I really don't think they're designed for lay-people. I decided to play "dumb" and just click on the first thing I saw. It defaulted to the Java applet which never works well on my system. I waited for the inevitable error message, then switched to downloading via html. The 197MB file downloaded relatively quickly.
IBM - The download facility for this is too user-unfriendly for the people you really want to capture as users. It should be as easy as downloading Mozilla Firefox or Open Office.
When the download was finished, I Double-clicked on the EXE and it started extracting to a folder determined by the TEMP/TMP environment variable. I was a bit miffed that I didn't have any choice about where these temporary files went - as they consume about 266 MB of additional disk space. I cancelled the setup and changed my environment variables - the next try was much better.
As far as the rest of the install process was concerned, it was fairly straightforward and gave me the ability to choose locations etc. The overall consumption was to be 494.6 MB.
The only other installation issue I had was the fact that for some bizarre reason, my McAfee Anti-Virus scanner decided to sit at about 90% during the entire installation process. Eventually I closed the McAfee task and all worked beautifully. I'll blog another time about Anti-Virus and whether they are appropriate in today's world or not.
Working with Symphony
Wow... I was expecting a long load time with Symphony but it seems to start faster than MS Office.
Symphony seemed to work well with my word processing documents and power point slides but didn't preserve the charts from my Excel 97 spreadsheets terribly well. I'll have a bit more of a "play" and provide an update later.