IBM/Lotus this month plans to release a full Notes client that runs on Linux desktops and does not require users to roll out any of the company's Workplace Client technology.
Availability of the Notes client will mean customers can have a Notes/Domino front end and back end that run natively on Linux. The company has had a Web client with limited features that runs on Linux since 2004.
The Notes 7.0 client, designed to run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 Update 3, is scheduled for release on July 24. A version for Novell's SuSE Enterprise Linux Desktop 10 is set to ship within 90 days after that, according to company officials.
The client will have two notable limitations. It is missing the Notes icon toolbar, which allows for single-click features, such as adding attachments to e-mail. Those features still will be available via hot keys and menu commands. Also missing:will be integration with instant messaging, which tags in-box messages with icons to show who is online. Those features will be available when the new Hannover client, which also will run on Linux, ships. It is scheduled to be released next year.
IBM/Lotus says users can run any application on the Linux client that runs on a supported version of Notes -- such as versions 6, 6.5 and 7. Users will have to have a Notes/Domino 7.0 server on the back end.
"Users can stay on the [Notes] platform and extend its use," says Erica Driver, an analyst with Forrester Research. "As more developers and technical people begin to use the Linux desktop, that presents a broader range of users that get access to the Notes capabilities. It also is a differentiator against Microsoft."
IBM/Lotus also is developing a Notes client for Linux as part of Hannover, but that client requires users to have the Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition-based Workplace Managed Client (WMC) deployed. The Notes client will run as a component inside the WMC.