IBM’s upcoming release of Lotus Notes for Linux is, according to Novell survey responders, among the most eagerly anticipated events in Linuxdom. And rightly so.
Notes for Linux will allow shops already running Lotus Domino Server on Linux to adopt the same platform for its integrated client. Notes provides e-mail, instant messaging, calendar and scheduling. It includes personal information management utilities, discussion forums, teamrooms and reference databases with basic workflow. And it’s all based on a desktop platform that encourages collaborative applications.
Luckily for IBM’s Lotus team, millions embrace the current version of Notes. But continued success doesn’t accomodate standing still. Microsoft is blatantly stalking the Notes/Domino combo with its upcoming feature-rich Office/Exchange 12 on Vista.
IBM’s response is twofold. Make a better Lotus Notes (codename Hannover), and make it work on more platforms: Lotus Notes for Linux, and Lotus Notes for Apple Mac OS 10.4.
The moment the new Notes is launched, Linux will have a complete retail-quality client desktop system to link with the world’s only browser platform, Firefox, and hopefully accelerate OpenOffice development.
Apple will get its first truly complete database collaboration environment, which should help create an image of Mac as a possible business platform.
And both will get a shot at tons of previously out-of-reach business desktops.
For its part, IBM should finally gain ground in the client arena without genuflecting toward Redmond.
If IBM Lotus Notes for Linux takes off, expect others to follow IBM’s lead, albeit slowly: Intuit, Autodesk, Adobe-Macromedia, Sage and more.
Microsoft’s reaction will be measured but predictable. Microsoft’s UK director of platform strategy said it best:
The simplest way I can answer the question is that Microsoft is 100 percent focused on Windows. We have no plans at this present moment in time to deploy or build a version of Microsoft Office on Linux.
In Microsoftspeak, that means, once IBM makes the market, you’d better believe Redmond will both build and deploy a version of Microsoft Office on Linux… with a few “unintentional” kinks, of course.