IBM announced Thursday a $100 million commitment to strengthen the development of its Lotus Workplace messaging and collaboration platform on Linux.
The money will be spent over the next three years to build Linux extensions to Workplace, with the most significant piece being the development of a Linux client for Workplace. Workplace client support for Linux will be available in the Workplace 2.5 release later this quarter.
Workplace already supports Linux on the server side, as does Lotus Domino server. Domino Web Access also supports Linux. While there are no plans for the Notes client to run directly on Linux, Notes will be able to run within Workplace.
IBM is previewing that technology for the Workplace client at this weeks LinuxWorld show in Boston. Version 2.5 of Workplace will support the Notes client this way on Windows desktops. A future version of Workplace will support this technology on Linux desktops, according to Arthur Fontaine, offerings manager at IBMs Lotus Software division, in Cambridge, Mass.
"Were not going to have a native Notes classic run-time Linux; however, all Notes functionality available will be available in Workplace," Fontaine said.
The $100 million will be spent on a number of initiatives, including investments in research and development, testing and validation, an ISV support program, and building out both direct and indirect channels, Fontaine said.
"Its the reinforcement of a message weve had in the marketplace for a while—that Linux is going to be a growing part of most companies infrastructures. And its moving out to the desktop," Fontaine said.
Fontaine said the Workplace client on Linux will "at a minimum" support the Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc. SuSE Linux desktop environments.