IBM has seen the future, and in its vision, Linux-based servers and desktops will be powering tomorrow's office with Lotus Notes and Symphony in what it calls an open collaboration client solution.
The IBM open collaboration client solution brings together Lotus Notes; the Lotus Sametime messaging platform; WebSphere Portal; the Lotus Connections social networking software; Lotus Quickr, document management and collaboration software for teams; Lotus Expeditor, an Eclipse-based development environment; and Lotus Symphony. Symphony is essentially OpenOffice with an Eclipse-based user interface. Together these create a server-to-desktop office suite designed to compete with Microsoft's Windows-only bundle of Microsoft Office, Exchange and SharePoint.
At Lotusphere, in Orlando, Fla., IBM revealed Jan. 21 that it will be delivering this soup-to-nuts office suite with the three biggest Linux distributions: Novell, Red Hat and Ubuntu. Novell was the first of the Linux companies to join this initiative, in August 2007.
Novell offered a single joint SUSE Linux Enterprise/Open Collaboration Client Solution through its partners. Novell also offered VAD (value-added distributors) migration and integration services.
Roger Levy, a Novell senior vice president and general manager of Open Platform Solutions, said in a statement, "The rapid uptake of the open collaboration client solution by business partners is a clear indicator of its value to the market. These partners are seeking ways to help their customers increase productivity, strengthen desktop security and reduce total cost of ownership."
Red Hat has now joined the party with its and IBM's announcement of a new marketing initiative targeting small and midsize businesses. Red Hat's package will combine Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop, IBM Lotus Notes Client with Lotus Symphony and the IBM Lotus Domino 8 server.
Like Novell's, Red Hat's efforts are partner-centric. Red Hat Advanced Business Partners and Lotus-authorized IBM Business Partners will be able to sell not only the package but other Red Hat and IBM Lotus programs. In addition, Red Hat will be providing value-added services to Red Hat Advanced Business Partners to get them up to speed at delivering the complete Red Hat-Lotus office package.
For more information about the joint Red Hat-IBM offerings, channel partners should visit a special page on the Red Hat site devoted to the package.
Last, but not least, Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, is getting into the act. Ubuntu will also be supporting Lotus Notes 8 and Lotus Symphony. Full Ubuntu Lotus Notes and Lotus Symphony support, however, won't appear until the second half of 2008, with the release of Lotus Notes 8.5.
"IBM's plans to deliver the IBM open collaboration client solution with Lotus Notes on the Ubuntu platform is a win for customers everywhere," Mark Murphy, Canonical vice president of alliances, said in a press statement. "Canonical is committed to bringing the best available productivity tools to its users on an open platform. Ubuntu users will now have an outstanding choice with Lotus Notes, while businesses will have a great choice with Lotus Domino."