IBM releases Notes for Linux desktops

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IBM releases Notes for Linux desktops

The Linux/Notes combination may prove a powerful alternative to

The Linux/Notes combination may prove a powerful alternative to

IBM has released a version of Lotus Notes that can be accessed natively through Linux desktops. The release marks the first time the hugely popular groupware program has had Linux client support, but open-source challengers are advancing with their own offerings.

Notes on Linux is available now on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, Update 3 and support for Novell Suse Linux Desktop For Enterprise 10 is due within 90 days of its release this month.

Although Microsoft has fought an aggressive sales and marketing campaign against it with Exchange, Notes remains a widely used program with strong loyalty among large organisations. The release of a version with Linux desktop support could make a Linux/Notes combination a powerful alternative to Windows/Exchange, especially for companies with large IBM investments. IBM already supports Notes on Linux servers, including mainframes.

“This release follows on from what we’ve been saying for the last couple of years about investing in Linux on the desktop,” said Adam Jollans, IBM Linux strategy manager. “It’s making a real business-grade program available on the Linux desktop.”

Jollans said that IBM’s use of the open-source Eclipse development tools framework could also point to more such projects from IBM and others. “Using Eclipse to do cross-platform GUI apps lets you develop Linux apps that look like Linux apps and Windows apps that look like Windows apps. That has to be attractive to software vendors,” he said.

Jollans added that some firms will find the prospect of managing an all-Linux environment attractive.

As elsewhere in enterprise software, however, open-source firms have been building up interest in collaborative software, with offerings including Zimbra and Open-Xchange.

Another interesting contender in Linux groupware is Novell’s GroupWise, which retains a loyal user base and has had Linux client support since 2005. However, although Novell has insisted it plans to continue developing the technology, the firm’s new chief executive, Ron Hovsepian, may have to make some hard choices over the direction of its disparate collaborative software investments.
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