Lotus Notes plug-in for Linux heads up busy day for IBM at LinuxWorld

IBM announcements show that support for Linux is moving from backend server to client side. Deal with Red Hat lets customers evaluate Workplace Services Express on Linux OS.

Making good on its February promise to invest $100 million in IBM Workplace software for the Linux platform, IBM on Tuesday rolled out at LinuxWorld assorted software designed to help customers build the front end of a Linux solution.

Included is a plug-in that will allow Linux desktop customers to access Notes and Domino systems with a simple double-click, and run their existing Notes and Domino applications in a Workplace Managed Client environment, including those running on Linux. A beta of the Notes plug-in for Linux will also be available in Q3, with general availability planned for the first half of 2006.

"There's a lot of pent-up demand for a full Notes client as an offering for Linux."
Ken Bisconti
Vice President of Workplace, Portal and Collaboration productsIBM

"There's a lot of pent-up demand for a full Notes client as an offering for Linux," Ken Bisconti, vice president of IBM's Workplace, Portal and Collaboration products, told SearchDomino.com by phone from LinuxWorld in San Francisco. Although IBM has previously offered Web browser access for mail and calendar in a Linux desktop environment, "we have never had a full Notes client running in all its glory on a Linux operating system," he said.

"By supporting the full Notes client on Linux, a whole new set of Linux customers who want the full Notes experience now have the ability to run applications offline," said Bisconti. A similar product was previewed at Lotusphere 2005.

IBM will also announce today an agreement with Linux leader Red Hat that enables customers, particularly SMBs and departments in large companies, to evaluate IBM Workplace Services Express (WSE) v2.5 collaboration software running on Red Hat's Enterprise Linux operating system. With IBM WSE, customers can run a portal, e-mail, team rooms and IM on a single Red Hat Enterprise Linux server.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux and IBM WSE will be pre-installed in a VMware environment and packaged as a virtual machine that can be downloaded, beginning Sept. 1, from Red Hat Network.

IBM also announced at LinuxWorld that the next version of Domino Web Access, which allows users to access Domino functionality anywhere they can find an Internet connection, will add support for the Firefox Web browser. By adding support for Firefox 1.0.X, Domino Web Access joins IBM Workplace Managed Client -- IBM's Eclipse-based, server-managed client -- as part of IBM's client-side Linux offering.

In addition, an IBM Business Partner, Ericom Software, is displaying a Linux-based plug-in for Workplace Managed Client at IBM's LinuxWorld booth. Called PowerTerm Webconnect, the plug-in lets Linux desktop users access applications running on Windows Terminal Servers, Linux and legacy systems. The plug-in provides users with SSO access to multiple enterprise applications, and delivers them within a single portal environment. It also provides access to any document, of any file format, from within IBM Workplace software on a Linux desktop.

"We expect to see a growing number of Linux offerings for our Workplace Managed Client technology," Bisconti said. He told SearchDomino that he expected to see IBM ISVs come up with "accelerators, application plug-ins, forms plug-ins, plug-ins give you access to backend ERP, search plug-ins from end users and systems management capabilities."

Domino Web Access support for Firefox 1.0.X and Ericom's PowerTerm WebConnect plug-in for IBM WMC will be available in Q3.

When asked if he saw any signs that Microsoft was reducing its hostility towards Linux, Bisconti said, "Microsoft has been making a more public display of interoperability in Linux as well as with IBM's collaboration software. Microsoft is continuing to see customers growing their investments in Notes/Domino and IBM portal technologies. They are beginning to recognize that their attack on our customer base has not been working, so they've started carrying the message of interoperability, which, frankly, better serves customers."

For more coverage of LinuxWorld, visit SearchDomino.com's sister site SearchEnterpriseLinux.com.

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