Notes, Domino R5 available in Feb

Version 5 of its Lotus Development's groupware, Notes, will be available next month and a Linux version is due by the year's end, said Lotus president and chief executive officer, Jeff Papows.

The announcement was made at the launch of its annual user conference, Lotusphere, in Orlando. Called R5, the new version of Notes, Domino and Domino Designer is the "most critical release since version one and by far our most ambitious of our efforts", Papows said.

R5 was announced at Lotusphere in 1998 and was initally scheduled for the end of 1998. Some of the delay was attributed to adjustments of the R5 client upgrade.

"We need two to three more weeks of quality-assurance polishing," Papows said. "You will have the product, I promise you, in February."

The R5 client features a browser-like user interface which is intended to function as the user's primary work environment. Key changes in Notes R5 include information management abilities, new messaging functions and calendar options and support for all standards-compliant Web servers.

Lotus has focused on making the application easier to use, extending the browser metaphor to the R5 Domino server and Domino Designer. The server and its supporting back-end database has been improved from 4Gbyte (version 4) to 64Gbyte in R5.

Lotus also announced a partnership with America Online (AOL), which will produce co-branded products for Lotus R5 and Sametime users.Runder the agreement, the R5 client can receive real-time customised news and information via AOL My News. Additionally Lotus' Sametime Connect, a real-time awareness and conversation client, will be able to send private text messages with AOL Instant Messenger users.

Recent IDC figures show Domino and Notes continued to be users' first choice for groupware in 1998. Last year, Lotus sold 14.2 million copies of Notes. Microsofts Exchange and Bivekk GriyoWise were the next two popular choices.

* Ellen Cresswell travelled to Orlando as a guest of Lotus

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