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IBM's Inexpensive Notes/Domino Push Against MS 415

Posted by kdawson
from the competition-finally dept.
Deviant writes "Speaking as an IT consultant, the one big gap in the Linux stack is in messaging / collaboration. MS Outlook with Exchange is a fine product on which many businesses truly rely, and it is almost impossible to match on Linux — server or desktop. The one competitor to MS in this space has been IBM's Lotus Notes / Domino, which has always had the general reputation of being expensive, bloated, and unfriendly. I certainly wouldn't have considered it for the small businesses that we usually sell on MS's SBS server product. That is why I was truly surprised to hear about the new Domino Express Licensing and Notes 8. This is a product that has native server and client versions for both Mac and Linux. Notes 8, now written in Eclipse, also includes an integrated office suite, Lotus Symphony. This could conceivably let a user do all of their work in one application. And you can now license the server and client components together for as low as $100/user. It's packaged for companies of 1,000 seats or fewer. Is this the silver bullet to take out the entire MS stack — server, client, and Office? Or will IBM drop the ball yet again?"
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IBM's Inexpensive Notes/Domino Push Against MS

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  • At $100/user, it still out of the grasp of most small businesses. Makes more sense from a cash flow perspective to pay $5-10/month/user (as capital is usually tight at most small businesses). Call me when you can ASP license it monthly like you can with Exchange.
    • by Anpheus (908711) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:29AM (#23220540)
      I don't see that at all, but the problem isn't just the MS 'stack' from client application to server, but the fact that MS is pushing all sorts of integration and features that competitors don't have.

      Everyone else (StarOffice, Lotus Notes) is so busy playing catch-up to compete on features, and once Microsoft hooks these businesses on things like SharePoint and what-not, well, suddenly switching to the competition means you lose functionality, and productivity in doing things "the old way" again.

      It's a bad deal all around and I really would like to see Microsoft open up things like SharePoint for interoperability, but if you honestly think that'll happen in short order, you're living in Candy Land.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Macthorpe (960048)
        How is Candy Land this time of year?

        Microsoft discloses 14,000 pages of coding secrets [channelregister.co.uk]

        "Microsoft today lifted the lid on 14,000 pages of sketchy versions of tech documentation for core software code. On show for the first time in public are underlying protocols for Office 2007, Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2007."
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anpheus (908711)
          Yeah, I've been reading about that, but it's really only free if you're in Europe, where you don't have to worry about software patents.

          That's great for open source where you can claim you're only distributing it from Europe and don't intend to make 'sales' of any kind in the US. This is how it is possible to acquire free implementations of non-free codecs in the US for Ubuntu, in my experience. But for an actual business it's a problem., especially for startup that lacks the ability to engage in cross-lice
          • by Anpheus (908711)
            Wow, what is this:
            "tly on Slashdotâ€"the "

            That did -not- show up in the AJAX preview. (The typographic errors in paragraph two I take all credit for.)

            What I had typed was the em-dash (alt-0151) and it appeared correctly, or at least I thought it did. Bug with the ajax?

            â€"
      • by richlv (778496)
        yes, one thing is microsoft application internal integration, but do we really want to move from being dependent on one vendor to being dependent on another - even larger vendor ?
        i'd guess that for companies migrating to linux and other opensource software vendor independence is taken quite seriously, at least in larger companies.
        aren't there really viable solutions already available in opensource land ?
        i've heard that http://www.kolab.org/ [kolab.org] is something to consider, especially the latest version - but i hav
        • The problem with not being reliant on one vendor is that interoperability seldom works quite as well.

          The latest Office/Exchange/Outlook/SharePoint work together absolutely amazingly if your sysadmin has actually sat down and configured them correctly instead of relying on the installer or 3rd party hacks. I've not yet seen a similar ecosystem for businesses from any set of independent vendors due to the tendancy to 'do things their own way'.

          Open Source should be able to do this with ease if there was a clearly agreed on method and format for exchanging information between applications, rather than (as I've seen in several places) a collection of hacked together scripts to do things like extract email attachments and put them into the document share, or move calendar appointments from the shared diary to a personal one.
      • by Deviant (1501) on Monday April 28, 2008 @05:49AM (#23221390)
        This is exactly right. Everything ties together so tightly that once you get one piece you might as well take the whole. You buy Office, which runs only on Windows and which comes with Outlook. You want to use that for email so that means Exchange. Exchange depends on MS Active Directory so that means storing all your user accounts on the MS server and authenticating against that. As long as you have these MS servers for authentication you might as well do your file/print sharing there. As long as you are doing your file sharing there you might as well use DFS replication and put another server in the branch office. Once you are running Exchange you might as well run Outlook Web Access and that means IIS. Once you are already hosting that on IIS you might as well host your other web pages there. Since you are hosting your web pages there you might as well use MS SQL as the backend as well as Sharepoint for the intranet page - etc etc.

        They even are nice enough to bundle all of this into one (relatively by MS standards) inexpensive product called SBS Premium. The big catch is that you have to run all of it on one server. As the buisiness expands, and they have already got you depending on it all, they really sting you with the licensing increases involved in buying the full versions of all the various software and their associated Client Access Licenes (CALs) so that you can seperate into multiple servers. When you get bigger still and need clustering and redundancy you need to throw still more servers and more licensing fees at the problem (usually for "Enterprise" products then as well) and that is when they really get you.

        I am an RHCE as well as having the full spread of MS certifications - I love Linux and run that and a Mac on the desktop at home. I rarely get to use my Linux knowledge/certifications these days because of all the MS lockin/ubiquity. There are a few places that I would have liked to use CentOS or RHEL for some things but was forced to use the MS product by their insistance on Exchange - and once you have the infrastructure for that there then is no place/need for Linux any more. That is why I submitted this story and have been looking for this solution - the hope that I might actually have something I could sell a buisiness on that would allow me to actually get some Linux out there!

        Trust me though when I say that Office/Outlook/Exchange is the #1 reason for half of MS's dominance in the server space. We need something to counter it. I am just really hoping that IBM, with all of its resources and its relative presence in this space, can give it to me...
        • by Nursie (632944)
          There's a Domino plugin for outlook, to allow it to retrieve mail from the IBM server.

          Problem is I don't know how integrated it is with the other features (calendars, meetings etc), all I've used it for so far is synchronising mail folders when companies I've worked for switched system.
    • by WarwickRyan (780794) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:34AM (#23220894)
      Erm, the Microsoft equivelent costs more than that in Client Access Licences alone. Add in all the other licencing costs and this is far cheaper.
    • by donaldm (919619)
      Small businesses consist of anything from one to one hundred plus people (over 1000 people is not what I would call a small business) and most of the computing costs actually go into the management of the computing system. This covers hopefully decent computing management and viable backups viewed with regard to computing disaster recovery and for some business this is a ticking bomb because they don't plan for this.

      Overall software costs are fairly minimal compared to the other factors however if a busin
  • by Deviant (1501) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:28AM (#23220538)
    A review with many screenshots of the new Notes 8 interface - http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9019476/ [computerworld.com]
  • by bigmouth_strikes (224629) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:30AM (#23220546) Journal
    ...and now with the lower price it's just bloated and unfriendly ?

    Seriously though, I have used Lotus Notes in a global corporation which made extensive use of custom forms, applications, groups and the whole shebang in addition to relying heavily on the calendar for scheduling. It was a terribly counter-intuitive and unresponsive piece of software, and I'd rather pay for Exchange than having a Lotus Notes installation for free, despite being known as the anti-Microsoft advocate in my company.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816)
      Notes has ostensibly come a long way since, but when I was working for Tivoli we were avoiding it in droves. Actually, many of us avoided using their stupid GUI screen-scraper (over the top of a 3270 app) for trouble tickets and learned to use the native thing (all hail x3270!) even though it was horrible too. But what I really wanted to mention is that NOBODY used notes unless they were a manager, or wanted to be one (it's where forms were going.) No one at IBM ever used notes unless they were forced to :P
    • What version of Notes/Domino did you use?
    • by the bluebrain (443451) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:50AM (#23220960)
      I use Notes every day ... indeed, I develop in Notes. So, mea culpa.

      I do see two main problems with Notes:
      (1) It's unconventional, especially the user interface.
      (2) It's easy to develop stuff in Notes

      The main root cause for (1) is that it was very early if not first at quite a few things. For example the "brackets" (top left, bottom right) that denote a text-entry field. No-one else uses these, but NO-ONE. But at the time they were invented, you couldn't just look at HTML forms and make it look the same, because they didn't exist yet. So they came up with something on their own, and it wasn't good enough to be copied by everyone else - but they were stuck with it.

      The main problem with (2) is that since it's so easy, everyone is a Notes developer. Take for example the spectrum of web pages. It's wide: everything from "weee-I-just-discovered-Frontpage-OMG-background-images!", to super clean XHTML-with-CSS that take into account that some users want to use Lynx or screen readers. The spectrum in Notes is wider. So if some Notes apps are bad - blame the IT department for hosting them, much like a bad intranet page - but don't blame the platform.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hey! (33014)
        Well, there is a long, long UI tradition back to the Lotus days of Lotus software being a bit weird from a UI standpoint. In the early days, it was because there wasn't much consensus about how GUIs were supposed to work. Even in the days of Notes 3 or so, the UI was not that bad when compared to contemporary programs, especially given that the capabilities of the system which at the time were unique.

        What always mystified me about the product is that it was never given a makeover by a team of competent UI
    • Yep, we have Notes installed at work and all you can hear all day from the cube farm is the collective zombie moan of "I wish we had outlook, moooaaaannn.... why doesn't this just work like outlook...moooaaannnn". C'mon they should be excited at the opportunity to use something other than Office! Later this year to save money we are going to roll out Linux yeah!
  • Zimbra (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tenchiken (22661) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:36AM (#23220578)
    I definitely like the chances of a hybrid OSS solution like Zimbra, above that of Notes. The reality still is that holding one's business hostage to either IBM or Microsoft is just sketchy, and by the time the need comes around for a Notes/Exchange platform pretty much the entire IT needs to be scrapped for a small company.

    Instead, Look at Zimbra. Start with OSS, go sponsored if you need it, and the company can pay for it. Plus no IBM or Microsoft hanging over your head.
    • Re:Zimbra (Score:5, Interesting)

      by aredubya74 (266988) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:41AM (#23220608)
      Big thumbs up for Zimbra. It's not perfect, but no platform designed to handle the imperfect Exchange server could be. However, I've been an end-user of the product for several months now, and we've seen zero issues with the server compared to several with a "real" Exchange server.

      Notes is dead as dead. Microsoft has won the email collaboration space, but Zimbra has cleverly outdone MS at their own game. Give it a look if you're building out an Exchange environment. I expect you'll be pleased with the results.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sdnoob (917382)

      Instead, Look at Zimbra. Start with OSS, go sponsored if you need it, and the company can pay for it. Plus no IBM or Microsoft hanging over your head.
      that is.. until microsoft forcibly takes over yahoo (who owns zimbra).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ozmanjusri (601766)
        until microsoft forcibly takes over yahoo (who owns zimbra).

        You haven't really got the point of this whole open source thing yet, have you?

        • Re:Zimbra (Score:4, Interesting)

          by micheas (231635) on Monday April 28, 2008 @06:17AM (#23221514) Homepage Journal
          Well there is this clause in the yahoo public license that Yahoo (Microsoft) gets to invalidate your license and then you can sue to get your license reinstated.

          This is why zimbra is not in debian. (well that and the clause mandating all disputes be resolved in Sunnyvale, California)

          Invalidation a la the GPL and limiting the jurisdictional issues to disputes involving Yahoo would help zimbra adoption. apt-get install zimbra would drive installations, I don't know about revenues.
  • Well, it's no silver bullet , but it's at least a blunt object moving in the direction of Microsoft's market share(s).

    It would be very interesting to see something like Notes 8 specifically customized for Ubuntu 8. I theorize such a setup could drastically reduce IT costs. Suddenly hardware is "good enough" for several more years, the OS is free and the groupware and office suite are cheap, and all of it is self updating. If only the users were comparable!

    Roy, "Hello, IT. Yes, have you tried turning it off [wikipedia.org]
    • by njcoder (657816)

      It would be very interesting to see something like Notes 8 specifically customized for Ubuntu 8. I theorize such a setup could drastically reduce IT costs.
      Admit it, you just have an octal fetish.
  • I don't have experience with this, but from my point of view, any extra options are a good thing to have whether you take advantage of them or not.
  • Don't do it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cerberusss (660701) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:39AM (#23220594) Homepage Journal
    Don't do it; the pricing just says they want to have a few extra sells. But IBM is used to supporting big clients, not small ones. I have the feeling they're not really committed to this market.

    I've seen the same with Oracle. Some nifty pricing got an Oracle database within reach of small businesses. Is it affordable? Yes. Do you need all those fancy features? No. Will it give headaches later on? Yes. Will you need expensive consultants? Yes.
  • by jorghis (1000092) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:40AM (#23220596)
    Not likely, in order to unseat Outlook/exchange at this point you would have to give users a set of damn good reasons why its worth their time to switch. As much as everyone loves to hate MS, there isnt anything major another product is capable of that you cant get from Office. Even if MS does lag a year or two in adding a feature that its competitors have already shipped (think opera and firefox shipping tabbed browsing first) ultimately it wont matter much unless MS waits an extremely long time to ship that feature. They may not be first with everything but they know better than to let their rivals get too far ahead of them.

    In any industry it isnt enough to be as good as the market leader, you have to be better in order to survive. Its their game to lose and they have been playing it long enough that they probably wont make a mistake big enough to give a competitor an opening.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ozmanjusri (601766)
      Its their game to lose and they have been playing it long enough that they probably wont make a mistake big enough to give a competitor an opening.

      Vista.

  • Written in Eclipse? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by forgoil (104808) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:42AM (#23220622) Homepage
    Am I missing something here? What the heck does that mean? I haven't seen any "Written with XCode" or "Written with Emacs" stated for other products.

    Does it mean that it's written in Java perhaps? Because Notes 8 is not only a total horror in terms of usability, it's real slow as well. In fact, Lotus notes is something I do my best to avoid, it's crap.
    • by The_Myth (84113) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:47AM (#23220662)
      You can use the base code from Eclipse as the starting point for any gui-type application - be that a word processor or graphics program or in this case an email client. Both the Netbeans and Eclipse IDE's allow you to extend them to create other applications outside of programming applications. The difference between the two is mainly do you want your application to use SWT (IBM) or Swing/AWT (SUN) for your GUI controls.

      At the end of the day though it means that its written in Java.
    • No, it really is written in Eclipse [eclipse.org] (although not necessarily using Eclipse).

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Rexdude (747457)
      The poster is incorrect; it is not 'written in Eclipse'. Rather it uses the Eclipse Rich Client Platform.
      Eclipse started out as an IDE, now it provides rich client frameworks so that you can quickly create an application for any of the supported platforms with the same widgets and look and feel that Eclipse provides.
      I am using Notes 8.0.1. After taking a look-they've essentially wrapped an Eclipse framework around the same old client as Notes 7. While it does add on some pretty features, it is just a ven
    • by pstorry (47673) on Monday April 28, 2008 @04:15AM (#23221048) Homepage
      It's a really bad bit of phrasing.

      What they mean is that it's now using the Eclipse Rich Client Platform.

      Most of the core code is still C/C++, and was already somewhat cross-platform. For instance, the database code already runs on Windows, AIX, Solaris, Linux, OS/400 and the z-Series mainframe. This is because IBM tend to use the same code on the client as they do on the server - it reduces maintenance, and increases reliability.

      However, over the past few versions of Notes (R5 to R7), the Notes client had become more Windows-centric as it put in place or improved various features that IBM's clients were asking for - such as Dial-Up Networking support, better OLE support, etc.

      In fact, those versions didn't ship Unix clients, and the Mac client often lagged behind in terms of both shipping and functionality.

      IBM's solution has been to rework the Notes client so that it uses the Eclipse Rich Client Platform. It's given them a common UI and OS abstraction layer across their three target platforms - Windows, Mac, and now Linux too.

      With a common platform and common libraries, IBM should be able to support multiple operating systems without crippling development costs - and it's benefiting the Eclipse project, because a lot of the work that IBM has done to get it working properly on the Mac platform (for example) is going straight back into that project.

      (In fact, IBM's commitment to Eclipse is so strong of late that some people feel they've become dominant in the project, which is a bit of a sticky political situation for them.)

      Eclipse isn't perfect, and it's a bit heavy on the system resources at present. But as with most heavy applications, what's large and slow now will be small and svelte on the latest machines in a year or two's time.

      Meanwhile, the ability to mix Eclipse plugins with traditonal Notes functionality - especially in workflow applications - is something that's extending Notes in some rather interesting directions...
      • by jrumney (197329)

        (In fact, IBM's commitment to Eclipse is so strong of late that some people feel they've become dominant in the project, which is a bit of a sticky political situation for them.)

        <kneejerk>You mean they've wrenched control of the platform from the original developers?!!! [eclipse.org]</kneejerk>

  • Instead of blowing smoke up Microsoft's ass, this guy should have looked around. Zimbra [zimbra.com] is just one of LookOut's many competitors. It even inter-operates with the MS product (ewww).
  • Comedy gold... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rmdir -r * (716956) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:42AM (#23220628)

    TFA refers to its 'Robust' hardware requirements, and says you shouldn't try to run it with less than a gig of RAM.

    Seriously, at some point, do you just have too much stack? OS+Java+Eclipse+++...

    • by setagllib (753300)
      Lately I'm stuck on an IBM desktop with 512MB of RAM running Windows XP, JDK 6 and Eclipse 3.3, and I use it to develop and run AI experiments. Java's far from memory efficient compared to C/C++, but it's not nearly bad enough to offset the development effort required to write reliable, reusable C/C++.

      I can easily justify using Java software if it really does save me time and effort compared to native code counterparts. Eclipse is vastly more useful than other open IDEs like KDevelop and Anjuta, and portabl
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Gazzonyx (982402)
        The thing I like about Eclipse (on top of what you've said... portable... I'm between: Solaris SPARC, X86_SMP Windows XP, X86 WinXP, X86_SMP Gentoo, X86_64 Slackware, X86 Slackware, and a Mac G3 on any given moment of the day; eclipse runs on them all (haven't actually tested the G3 TBH)), being a software development major, and interning writing various code for work, I can use Eclipse for about 12 different languages and switch between workbenches and languages with the click of a JButton! From ADA to Fl
    • Most recent machines these days don't come with less then 1GB of memory.

      Even so the spec you mentioned is for the "Standard client". You can run the notes client in basic mode which uses a lot less memory but you loose a lot of the new features like Compapps, widgets, etc.
  • I (have to) use it fairly often these days, and I can't say I see what the big deal is about it besides it's unintuitive, but integrated and collaborative calendaring system. Any one care to clue me in?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bherman (531936)
      Users have always used it in their last job and don't care about learning a new system just because it's "better." To most users "better" is defined as them having to not learn something new.
    • UNINTUITIVE?? Try using Notes. (and yeah i mean the latest greatest 8.0.1).
      here's some of my pet peeves -
      -memory hog (350 megs of ram gone no matter what you do)
      - No context sensitive menus. you get the same fucked up 'database' options no matter where you click. why can't i rightclick a mail and mark it read/unread, FFS?
      -cannot run your mail rules on existing mails in the inbox or subfolders.
      -Single threaded network access, which means clicking on a link to a remote database will freeze up the application
    • I (have to) use it fairly often these days, and I can't say I see what the big deal is about it besides it's unintuitive, but integrated and collaborative calendaring system. Any one care to clue me in?

      The big deal is that no matter how unintuitive you consider the collaborative calendaring system, there isn't an alternative on the market that's any better.

      With one exception, all the OSS "alternatives" either:

      - Require a plugin which sucks donkey balls, costs money and is hard to manage across many desktops to integrate with Outlook.

      OR

      - Are purely web based and don't offer any Outlook integration at all - which doesn't sound like a big deal until you've got a senior manager wanting to be able to read ema

    • I (have to) use it fairly often these days, and I can't say I see what the big deal is about it besides it's unintuitive, but integrated and collaborative calendaring system. Any one care to clue me in?

      First of all, the calendaring system *is* Outlook.

      Secondly, what do you consider unintuitive? Notes? When I used Notes version 6, you could easily create an calendar item that ended before it started-- really intuitive there! Of course, it completely bombed out all of the sync software (also from IBM) we had
  • A different view (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bherman (531936) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:58AM (#23220706) Homepage
    Most small businesses I deal with don't really need or want Exchange/Notes/Zimbra, but what they do need is an Outlook type app that can get to whatever email system they want. The big problem is and always has been that most third party hardware won't sync with much else besides outlook. Take a look at Blackberries which most every small business owner is using. You can sync to Outlook, Yahoo, Groupwise or Notes. Since most users are familiar with Outlook that is what they want. The could care less what is running on the backend.

    I've taken a look at Zimbra for some clients but the issue there is price yet again. For a small company (5 users) you're looking at over $1000 for licensing that can be used with the Blackberry and outlook plus the cost of outlook. At that price you might as well put them on Exchange SBS and not worry about the BES connecter for Zimbra. Plus, now with MS looking at Yahoo who knows what is coming down the road for Zimbra (Owned by Yahoo). Since MS has started offering Outlook as a seperate license I have been offering that as an options to clients with OpenOffice, but most choose to just get Office since the OEM license is about $250 and the Outlook license is $100.

    I really think Zimbra would be a great app if they would just rethink the pricing structure for <10 users. Maybe allow the Network Edition for a fixed cost under a certain user count.
  • Lotus (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DotMasta (1089813)
    Notes 8 is pretty slow & unwieldly. Its ability to deal with custom forms makes admin for big corporations a lot easier, but for a smaller business? Probably one big headache... I spose if you had a Notes guru to customize it exclusively for the business you could really benefit, but for most people Outlook will be the preferred option.
  • by teh moges (875080) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:07AM (#23220764) Homepage
    At work, we run a Lotus Notes 6.5 shop and are due for upgrade soon. Unless we get higher end computers, Lotus Notes 8 will be slow to run even for everyday things. There is an update 8.1 that is either due out soon or out now, that is supposed to make it more friendly for lower end computers, but if it fails to do that, we will end up going with Outlook as we can't afford to buy high end computers for every seat just because of the requirements of one of our core programs. We have tested it in our environment and anything under 2gb just doesn't cut it. That is too much for a program that (at the time of testing) was just doing email.
    So I wouldn't look at new newer aggressive pricing as a sign to look further into it, more as an act of desperation to make a bloated program seem more accessible.

    While I am on the subject, most enterprise software these days has become overly bloated with features added without considering the disadvantages, usually in speed and memory usage. Until businesses start considering these aspects though, it isn't a trend that is likely to stop anytime soon.
    • I last used Lotus about 10 years ago. I really *wanted* to like it, having used PLATO Notesfiles back in the 1970s (:-), but it was really too big and clumsy for the laptops we used at work, and it spent too much time trying to be a "friendly" GUI to be an actually-useful GUI, especially on smaller screens. It was too bad, especially since MS Mail was still the third-or-fourth worst mail system I'd ever used (IBM PROFS was awful, the early 24x40-screen 300-baud Prodigy wasn't too hot, and we'd once had a
  • by njcoder (657816)
    I never liked Domino. Especially when Websphere was first coming out. It seemed IBM was in a weird spot. They always touted Domino/Notes as an application deployment platform, not just a collaboration tool. They really muddied the waters in their own offerings.

    I don't see how Domino really has a place anymore with all the new standards that have evolved and the importance of interoperability. I thought Domino already was put on the shelf next to Token Ring.

    If you're a large business Domino may still ma
  • Not a chance.

    Actally, there is collaboration wares that compete with Outlook and Exchange.

    Couple things. eGroupware can talk XML-RPC to Kontact and synchronize Calendar, Addressbook, transparently. Just one problem. No Kerberos. No Kerberos means I have to hand configure each user's login name and password for every user. This is bad.

    Secondly. I need to be able to configure Kontact settings and FireFox's settings with OpenLDAP Schemas. Why? Because I have no other way of standardizing trusted Kerberos URIs
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      have you tried opengroupware.org? I wasn't very happy last time I tried it but maybe it's advanced since. they apparently have an ldap+kerberos authentication scheme.

      As for competing with sharepoint, you might consider Drupal. Drupal has LDAP/Kerberos auth, which I have personally set up and tested. And it worked. It was a horrible pain to get set up, but not in a hacking kind of way, just in a bad documentation kind of way. Drupal is a PHP-based CMS which stores to MySQL or Postgres (mostly) and which in

    • Would this help at all? I don't really know anything about it, but I've been wanting to give it a whir for a few months now; it's got an open source API, and built in LDAP server and authenticates to gmail... it's at least centralized.
      GCALDaemon [sourceforge.net]
      • The idea isn't to create another application. Its to foster interoperability between the ones we have right now.We don't need another Kontact, another Evolution.. We need Kontact and Evolution, and Geeklog, and Knowlege Tree, and FireFox, and just about everything else to talk to each other. It MUST support Kerberos, it MUST support LDAP because those are the things we have authentication Modules for. It MUST support iCal and it MUST support XMLRPC because Thats the authentication module support Kontact ha
  • ...than go back to Lotus fucking notes. It started off as BBS software, and it shows!

    Well almost.

    Surely there are other alternatives?

  • The biggest question is what level of support this comes with. I have my doubts over a number of third party companies that can fix your Domino server if something within its database goes screwy. If you have to pay for support, then it's a bad deal (just compare the number of Exchange specialist/providers to a number of Domino specialists that are not inside of IBM)
  • Hooray (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:30AM (#23220880) Homepage Journal
    So that's enterprise software eh? A choice between sucks and sucks more? I'm always happy when an IBM contract ends because it means I don't have to use goddamn Notes anymore. And Outlook/Exchange only look good by comparison.

    But it's not just a problem with the commercial software. I've never met a mail program I really liked. Mail software seems to be a vast wasteland of sucktude. I like to single out Notes and Exchange because if you work in IT you're pretty much forced to use them, but I've used and not liked pine, mutt, the emacs lisp based web client, the Apple mail client, Thunderbird and Evolution. Of the lot, at LEAST the emacs client combined with the remembrance agent offers functionality that you won't find in any other email client, but they all pretty much suck to one degree or another.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How much can an e-mail client suck? WTF is missing when every damn client out there sucks?
  • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:44AM (#23220944) Journal
    Outlook is one of the most user-acceptance tested applications in the world. Really, it is.

    Outlook just happens to work really well with Exchange.

    Exchange/Outlook just happens to plug really well with SharePoint/MOSS (for document sharing, workspaces, etc).

    The both just happen to use SQL Server, and of course the whole security model just happens to be based in AD, which in turn just happens to be a Windows Server only technology.

    It's all very integrated, and actually works very well with not too much knowledge. Seriously, I think 99% of the people on this site could setup the system above I just outlined in a day.

    Why? Well, you start with Outlook and before you know it, you've got the whole ecosystem. It's designed to plug in as easily as possible to enable you to give cash as easily as possible to Microsoft.

    Clever eh?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by miffo.swe (547642)
      It all works just wonderful except for one little detail. It all demands your organization works just as Microsofts products are designed. As soon as you try to change something you are in for a world of hurt and all the nice "plugging in" becomes a real nightmare.

      if you add up what Exchange/Outlook/Sharepoint costs and multiply it with your users you can have a tailormade solution adapted to your companys needs instead of trying to turn your organization around on a dime and start working the MS way (tm).
  • MS Outlook with Exchange is a fine product on which many businesses truly rely, and it is almost impossible to match on Linux -- server or desktop

    There are two different false items:
    1. Calling Outlook a Fine product with Exchange is like saying having Hepatitis C is better than HIV.
    2. Impossible to match? Dude, Notes is waaay far ahead of outlook. Banks rely on Notes for security, keeping out the pesky worms that seem to infect the weakling outlook. Secondly, on linux there are other email clients far better than outlook.

    You seem to be an MCSE saying IBM's decision to compete on price is due to inferior quality. Like saying Microsoft reduced prices

  • One quote (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HateBreeder (656491) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:48AM (#23220958)
    "This could conceivably let a user do all of their"
    I wonder what the true percentage of users who do not require anything but an office suite to do all their work?

    Why do people get the impression that most of the working people are lawyers or secretaries (the only type of workers that could arguably do all their work with on an office suite)?
    Even accountants use software other than a spreadsheet...

    I for one, didn't have any use for a "complete" office suite for years... and the parts that I did use, were mostly for viewing "administrative" documents that were sent to me (obviously, by the only true users of these office applications).
  • by 1 a bee (817783) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:53AM (#23220966)
    As a small business user of GMail, I find the service hard to beat. After all, it's still free, and free is really hard to beat. GMail is by far the best component of the Google Apps business suite, but their other components (calendar comes to mind, for example) are slowly and surely maturing, also.

    The web-based solution to the common IT needs of small and medium sized organizations, in my mind, is a no brainer. And so far, Google is offering the best value in this space.

    Why a no brainer? Because managing computing resources yourself (i.e. in-house IT) is a waste of money. Forget about the cost of proprietary software: suppose you go all open source. You'll still have to manage this stuff and that cost money.

    And from a privacy angle, it's also a no brainer to use a web based service for a small or medium sized organization. Correspondence in an organization is not all that *private* any way. Quite the contrary, the more transparent (with appropriate user access control mechanisms), the better for the organization.

    So these factors and my own very favorable experience with GMail suggest to me that this would-be Office competitor is missing the point: the battleground for productivity suites will occur on the web, not on shrink wrapped software.
  • I hate Outlook, but (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rpjs (126615) on Monday April 28, 2008 @04:06AM (#23221020)
    I hate Outlook. I really, really despise it. I even hate Outlook-wannabes like Thunderbird. But if I had to choose between it and Notes, no question: Notes is possibly the worst-designed, most unintuitive, unconventional bit of software of all time. It's strange whn you consider that its parents have in their time produced some of the sweetest software ever (Lotus: AmiPro, IBM: OS/2) that they could be responsible for such a pile of crud.
  • At $100 per user it runs at double the cost of Google Apps Premier Edition (the one with support and more storage, 25GB per user for mail for instance) and you still have to buy all your own hardware and infrastructure and do the support.

    In most companies email and collaboration is managed by a central team (no matter how small), so shifting it into a SaaS model is just a small step away. That is the competition for MS, not old school hosted solutions.

  • Not free but I've recommended and used Kerio Mailserver at two sites that had either had Exchange in the past or considered it. Support for Outlook clients is pretty good, the web interface is nice and quick and it works with Thunderbird, Apple Mail and other standard clients. CalDAV calendar support is there now so I can sync iCal with the server and it also supports Mail for Exchange on Symbian which gives me push e-mail, tasks, contacts and calendar.

    All in all it works as advertised and as far as the W
  • If by impossible to match you mean an email server that needs to be mothered and looked after then yes, the alternatives can't match the flakey Exchange server.

    Have you looked at Open Xchange? it even has an Outlook connector for those who still want to run Windows desktops.

    http://www.open-xchange.com/ [open-xchange.com]

    Of course the Outlook connector isn't free, but the community version can be free if you use Linux or free email clients.
    • If by impossible to match you mean an email server that needs to be mothered and looked after then yes, the alternatives can't match the flakey Exchange server.

      Whilst I entirely agree with your sentiment, I think you're still missing the point. Enterprises KNOW that Exchange servers need a lot of maintenance and have the people to do that in place by now.

      Yes, we could both argue that the UNIX philosophy of having simple tools to do a simple job is better, both Exchange and Outlook are, by their complexi

  • by Zantetsuken (935350) on Monday April 28, 2008 @04:52AM (#23221176) Homepage
    For those that don't know and don't feel like using Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], it's basically OpenOffice 1.1.4 at the core with some extended features, most noticeably that it uses a tabbed toolbar in the manner of MS Office 07's "Ribbon" but instead of randomly putting menu items onto tabs, each existing toolbar has been turned into a tab...
  • Replacing de facto MS Exchange based collaboration S/W in enterprises shouldn't be easy, especially if it's for another proprietary solution.

    Now that MS has released a bunch of documents for their APIs and other proprietary protocols, including for MS Exchange Server, maybe will we see open source / free solutions for MS Outlook replacement.

    Mozilla Fondation? Plugins for Thunderbird? Extensions to Lightning?...

    While this wouldn't be a MS Exchange Server replacement, it would at least free MS workstations fr
  • Notes 8, now written in Eclipse, also includes an integrated office suite, Lotus Symphony.
    Written in Eclipse? OK, sounds like they've kept "bloated". (I like Eclipse a lot for working with Java, but dang if it isn't resource hungry!)
  • Big gap? (Score:3, Informative)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel.hedblom @ g m ail.com> on Monday April 28, 2008 @05:16AM (#23221248) Homepage Journal
    I dont know, there are a wealth of options for collaborating on Linux. Zimbra, Novell Teaming+Conferencing, Groupwise, Google Apps and all the various open source projects out there. The choices are pretty endless with both very mature products and cutting edge stuff in all priceranges. IBM adds something for the nervous enterprise CIO who wants someone to blame when things gets b0rked.
  • I just managed to sync an outlook client and a nokia mobile with egroupware, a completely free collaboration suite, other (albeit still in infancy) interesting systems are simplegroupware and everything supporting funambol or syncml in general.

    i believe that it is not true, that floss sw is behind in this regard, the problem is, that the communication lacks.
  • Kolab KDE (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Britz (170620) on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:13AM (#23221784) Homepage
    "the one big gap in the Linux stack is in messaging / collaboration"

    Ever heard of Kolab KDE? Nothing is missing.And this is not the only one. Especially if you just use web-based solutions like everyone else.
  • What gap? (Score:3, Informative)

    by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Monday April 28, 2008 @09:24AM (#23222928) Homepage Journal
    The idea that messaging/collaboration is a gap in the Linux stack is a complete myth. There are numerous options available, such as Citadel [citadel.org] which is end-to-end GPL code, has all of the most requested groupware functions, and even has an Outlook connector available for those PHB's who aren't ready to leave the old world behind yet. I wish people would stop pushing this idea that Outlook/Exchange can't be matched.
  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:59PM (#23228854)
    Notes is hardly the only competitor to the Exchange monopoly.

    Novell Groupwise is another contender and is actually far cheaper. The Open Workgroup suite from Novell is $110 a seat with a yearly maintenance of $75 (http://www.novell.com/products/openworkgroupsuite/howtobuy.html), includes groupwise, openserver, Netware (edirectory included), and groupwise mobile for windows and palm mobile handhelds (also works with blackberry). I fail to see how notes is even slightly competitive in this area.

    Not only does Novell give you a complete single sign-on solution that is equal to microsoft in ease of setup and user use, but they give you an exchange server replacement, Server licenses with no limit to accommodate the users you have AND support. Most small businesses show easily be able to afford $75 a seat when the equivalent MS solution is close to $300.

The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.

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