IBM has announced an open-source desktop, running Lotus apps and Firefox on top of Red Hat or SUSE Linux. It’s based on an internal project which has deployed Linux desktops to several thousand IBM staff, in what IBM said was one of the largest corporate Linux roll-outs to date. It added that its Open Client Solution can also take in Windows and Mac users, as there’s Lotus software for those as well – although it admits that the Mac version of Notes 8 isn’t due until later this year.
IBM Plants Linux on the Desktop
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2007-02-13 9:04 pmKokopelli
Is it any easier to administer than it used to be?
Not really, though I never considered them all that difficult. The admin tasks for Domino have not changed significantly since R5. Hannover (the upcoming R8) is a fairly major change for the client though so who knows.
How does the pricing compare with Exchange?
Not sure. I think from a user perspective the cost is comparable, but the current Notes client seems to be less popular than Exchange.
2007-02-14 4:51 amkaiwai
Not sure. I think from a user perspective the cost is comparable, but the current Notes client seems to be less popular than Exchange.
I think exchange works out cheaper but not by much, the big difference is the flexibility one has with Notes in terms of customisation – but then again, thats only relevant for really large companies; for most people, exchange is more than adequate, and coupled with Office, its a good setup.
2007-02-14 5:19 amKokopelli
Personally I like the Notes Client, but I have been using it since 4.6.
I also like the direction IBM is going with Hannover but the R7 release for Linux left a lot to be desired. Speed was atrocious and memory consumption extremely high. (I develop in Eclipse and have written plugins for it as well. I realize the challenges, but gah. I went back to using Notes in VMWare.)
I almost applied for the Domino 8 beta, but I would not have had time to do the amount of feedback IBM wanted so I decided to defer till release.
Guess I will have to wipe my primary again and install OpenSuse or SLED. RHEL is too expensive for it to be worth it. I prefer Debian based distros currently but so be it.
For those left wondering what C4EB is: Client for E-Business. I was not aware the C4EB had officially targeted Linux though. I thought that was the IBM Workplace push, though I understand that IBM is axing/deemphasizing the workplace brand. Interesting days indeed.
2007-02-14 6:19 amkaiwai
Hmm, try using Notes for NNTP client, the editor is broken, the syncronisation is broken; the whole thing is broken.
Get a copy of Outlook, and compare how easy it is to setup and use compared to Notes – and they wonder why Microsoft are winning customers left right and centre.
For all C4EB is worth, it still isn’t Microsoft Office, its based off OpenOffice.org but is is completely a waste of time when it comes to features required and people are used to when running Office such as the collaboration server via Sharepoint and the like.
2007-02-14 8:39 pmkev009
Correct me if I’m wrong, but Outlook doesn’t even have an NNTP client, so that is not a valid point against Notes in favor of Outlook.
2007-02-15 2:40 amkaiwai
Yes it does actually, given that Outlook is merely an extension of Outlook Express (well, Outlook being a stripped down version), then sure, it uses Outlook Express, but its better than the completely and utterly broken one included with Notes.
2007-02-14 5:22 ambutters
I’m an IBMer and have played around with the Open Client for e-Business (yes, that’s what they call it, or OC4eB for short). From the perspective of a long-time Linux user who doesn’t particular like RPM-based distros, it’s actually pretty nice to use. Particularly at IBM, where Lotus Notes is absolutely required, wireless is protected by LEAP, and VPN is provided by the “AT&T Client,” it’s just a whole lot easier to fit into the computing environment. I’m sticking with it, even though my Gentoo install works fine.
Lotus Notes 7 is still… sub-par. It’s got some major UI quirks, stability problems, and missing features. For example, any email client should have a search bar at the top that provides find-as-you-type searching of message bodies as well as sender and subject. Notes 7 doesn’t.
If you’re interested, take a look at the screenshots for Notes 8 (the Hannover client):
It looks vastly better than Notes 7. Whether it will offer a more enjoyable experience for me is yet unknown. Although I’m not sure how many companies are willing to invest in creating “composite applications” for Notes, it looks like a really great idea for “information workers” like sales, service, and finance. It’s basically a way to create portal-like functionality on Notes, but with rich, native APIs. Notes 8 eliminates the notion of a Notes “database,” since this word apparently scares people. Everything is now an “application,” and these objects can be loaded at runtime as plugin modules.
My impression is that Notes 6 was crippled by the IBM/Lotus acquisition, Notes 7 was a stopgap, and Notes 8 is the first release of Notes to truly reflect IBM’s R&D and quality control. The UI designer they have running the show is one of the best in the business. I hope it’s good…
It’s a positive step and certainly useful in some quarters, but this will do very little for general desktop linux use.
For one, IMB will only likely be interested in large corporate roll-outs and will not be selling a desktop for home use. Within the corporate roll-out, they are only proposing to give it to some users that meet some unspecified criteria.
If you place yourself in a corner, saying I am only good for limited tasks, that’s what people will think. If IBM were serious about the desktop, it would do for it what it did for the 2.4 kernel. Invest seriously into it and fix the few remaining rough edges.
*Buy Codeweavers and put more developers on wine.
*Put some serious developers on Xorg.
*Pressure ISVs to port to linux.
*Pressure Lenovo to sell Linux across all of its desktop line.
2007-02-13 7:05 pmma_d
I still think large corporate rollouts would be a big long term gain for desktop linux. If people use it at work they’ll be more apt to look for it for home, even though they never bring their work home they may just like what they use at work.
The added familiarity will reduce the fear of an otherwise new platform (to them), so if it’s a little cheaper or is offered with some application they really want, or comes on a nicer system or with a better warranty they’ll be that much more likely to buy.
And I believe there are quite a few serious developers on X.org. I’m not sure why you don’t believe they’re serious, some of them are even getting paid for it.
Lenovo is beyond help now, I say “let them drown.” And I don’t think IBM has any control over Lenovo.
2007-02-13 7:13 pmhalfmanhalfamazing
==========It’s a positive step and certainly useful in some quarters, but this will do very little for general desktop linux use.============
I’m not sure that’s the case.
Take macs for example, I’m sure I’m not the only one who knows somebody who used macs at their school….. liked macs….. so they bought one.
What’s to say that one wouldn’t use red hat or suse at work…… like it…. and get one for their home.
Linux mindshare is bigger than most will admit or even realize, and the biggest stumbling block I’ve come across into switching is because of their favorite app. Typically photoshop. “I’d switch if I could buy PS for linux”.
Business desktops start shipping with linux for the masses and watch how quick you see PS linux, autocad linux, (tax program) linux, and whatever other apps you can think of.
They don’t want to lose that money. This is a good news announcement for linux users.
2007-02-14 4:14 amkaiwai
Incorrect; the difference is, these applications with Mac run locally; all IBM is using Linux as a dumb terminal pretty much, everything sits on a back end – completely useless to Joe and Jane End User.
Lotus, of no use to the end user; Lotus Smartsuite? the one thing that *might* make Linux bareable for me? IBM is refusing to port it.
To me, like I said in my previous message, its all marketing hype and no results.
This is for a subset of the *corporate* desktop, and does not concern the home desktop in any way.
I like the fact that they have not chosen any specific distro for this application stack. Hopefully, by having to “eat its own dog food”, IBM will help fine-tune what promises to be a cheap, efficient and easy-to-use corporate desktop solution.
I was a little disappointed that the Lotus software mentioned didn’t include WordPro. Perversely, I’d love to have it running on Linux. It was easy for me to use, and had a very small footprint. It’s far too niche of course. I guess I can hope for a port someday, and that open standards gain traction so I can use whatever goofy word processor I please and have the result be readable by anyone else.
I wouldn’t want to see IBM push Linux in this fashion. I think the further along Linux can get on its own without falling in the shadow of IBM, Oracle, or (even now) Microsoft, the better. I would rather see new companies like Red Hat and Canonical (or even a reinvented company like Novell) be the main proponents of Linux than IBM.
While I do appreciate that IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft all support Linux to some degree, I’m glad that the fate of Linux, or desktop Linux isn’t perceived to rest any more with any of these companies than any of the new open source companies.
Not to mention that IBM has a poor image when it comes to desktop productivity software. I haven’t tried the new Eclipse-based Lotus, but the old Lotus was hell I’ve read.
Edited 2007-02-13 19:05
2007-02-13 8:58 pmshapeshifter
While I do appreciate that IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft all support Linux to some degree
Where did you get the idea that Microsoft supports Linux?
The only thing Microsoft has to do with Linux is trying to kill it as fast and as hard as it can.
IBM and Oracle support Linux as much as it serves them for their own business.
Red Hat is not a new company to Linux, it’s the very first Linux company (someone correct me if I’m wrong here, the 80’s and 90’s are starting to fade away from my memory, too much fun in 80’s and too much work in the 90’s .
Canonical would be one of the new companies.
Novell is irrelevant as of this year. It’s pretty much dead to the Linux community.
And you’re right in that it’s better if Linux stays independent of the big corporations.
2007-02-13 9:44 pmKenJackson
Red Hat … the very first Linux company (someone correct me if I’m wrong …
I can appreciate the 80’s and 90’s fading away. It’s happening to me too. But I think Walnut Creek CDROM sold Slackware Linux before RedHat was founded.
2007-02-14 4:54 amkaiwai
Walnut Creek is only a publishing house; they also press shareware cds filled with Windows shareware and freeware. With that being said, you could say that Red Hat was the first listed Linux orientated company which turned a profit.
There was much claims by Microsoft that it would never be profitable, well, the proof is in the pudding as they say.
Oh, wait… no I’m not.
I would really like to see SmartSuite working in Linux; for a long time 1-2-3 was in a class of it’s own. It’s too bad IBM managed it so poorly (like so many of their PC projects).
It’s based on an internal project which has deployed Linux desktops to several thousand IBM staff, in what IBM said was one of the largest corporate Linux roll-outs to date
I work for IBM for 9 months and I work for a Unix support team. Some of my mates requested that they have Linux installed as desktop. The request was placed almost 1 1/2 years ago and nothing happened yet.
Yes, we downloaded the iso and installed it on VMWare, but we don’t have it running on our workstations yet.
So, I don’t know really if it’s about thousands of IBM staff.
2007-02-13 8:32 pmronaldst
I bet IBM still has whole departments still running on OS/2 waiting for their upgrade to Win2K. lol
Some information for everyone. This is not all I know, but it is what I am pretty confident I can state.
The Linux C4EB is currently RHEL4. However, there is a SLED based C4EB in the works. Pretty much any developer can use the Linux C4EB if they wish to. I cannot speak for more general office workers or support personnel access to the Linux C4EB.
On Windows Notes 7 is not Eclipse based. However, on Linux Notes 7 (the current release) is Eclipse-based. Notes 8 (Hannover) will be based on Eclipse on both platforms. This unification of the two will result in a dramatically better experience for Linux users. Notes 7 Linux takes a ridiculously long amount of time to load. Notes 8 is much better. Fortunately, even in Notes 7 most things worked pretty well. Attachments can be a bit wonky, also things like TeamRoom Plus are slow as a dog.
Notes 8 is a vast improvement. Many people will be impressed by its features and ease of use. The underlying framework, the Workplace Managed Client, is a significant upgrade and expansion of the features present in Eclipse. In my mind Notes 8 will be the premier office management tool for Linux users. I am happily using it on openSUSE 10.2 and have not had any problems interacting with my team, all of whom use Windows. I would love to convince them all leave Windows and the Microsoft tax.
But when is IBM going to opensource, or atleast port Lotus SmartSuite to Linux natively? how about less marketing, more results from IBM in regards to Linux on the desktop.
Well, our (big, but not *that* big) company is switching away from Lotus Notes as the mail client to… Outlook…
I don’t know Outlook, but I’m expecting it’ll give them a lot more problems than the problems that Notes is giving them now.
There aren’t really much complaints about the Lotus Notes mail client, so I suspect it’s got to do with the Domino server. Or the visit from Bill Gates a couple of months ago has something to do with it. Really, CEO’s can be so gullible and naïve sometimes…
Edited 2007-02-14 13:16
Is it any easier to administer than it used to be? How does the pricing compare with Exchange?