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IBM announces Linux push to desktops
Posted on 6-Aug-2008 10:25. | Tags Filed under: News.

IBM announces Linux push to desktops
IBM has joined with Linux distributors Canonical/Ubuntu, Novell and Red Hat globally with their hardware partners to deliver Microsoft-free personal computing choices with Lotus Notes and Lotus Symphony in the one billion-unit desktop market worldwide by 2009.

Citing shifting market forces and the growing demand for economical alternatives to costly Windows and Office-based computers, the four companies say there is an ideal set of circumstances allowing Linux-based desktops to proliferate in the coming year. Linux is far more profitable for a PC vendor and the operating system is better equipped to work with lower cost hardware than new Microsoft technology.

"The slow adoption of Vista among businesses and budget-conscious CIOs, coupled with the proven success of a new type of Microsoft-free PC in every region, provides an extraordinary window of opportunity for Linux," said Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president for IBM Lotus Software. "We'll work to unlock the desktop to save our customers money and give freedom of choice by offering this industry-leading solution."

These four companies are working with their local business partners in markets around the world to build and distribute a pre-loaded PC offering that features IBM's Open Collaboration Client Solution (OCCS) including Lotus Notes, Lotus Symphony and Lotus Sametime; the Linux operating system of each distributor; and software applications and installation services from the local partners in each market.

The final product will be branded by the local IT firms that bring it to market. In addition, customers, independent software vendors (ISVs) and systems integrators have the choice of developing applications using Lotus Expeditor based on the open source Eclipse programming model.

These solutions would be tailored to the needs of customers in specific industries and sectors. For example, one type of solution for government buyers may support key ISV applications for document/case management, crisis management, and citizen services. Another version for Banks would account for support for virtual thin clients that bring together the infrastructure and applications along with Lotus social software for branch bank front office and contact center transformation.

The emphasis for use in schools would be giving students and faculty a low cost open platform that can capitalize on the strengths of Lotus collaboration and social software. Understanding of such distinct customer preferences has been accumulated from customized, local engagements around the world.

"IBM software and Linux on desktop combined is not just a better price/performance substitute for the Microsoft offering, but it provides a new platform for customers and business partners to add true value by creating tailor-made solutions," said Milan Prohaska, General Manager of Austria-based VDEL. "The combined power of Eclipse and Lotus -- offered in a stable and secure Linux environment at less then half the cost of the equivalent Microsoft offering -- will create a new ecosystem for solution providers and developers, and set new standards in value-for-the-money for the customers."

Novell launched a similar solution based on IBM's collaboration software and SUSE Linux Enterprise with Avnet UK, the largest IT distributor in the United Kingdom, and its local business partners.

Canonical, which sells subscription support for Ubuntu, a Linux operating system that scores high marks on usability and "the cool factor," will re-distribute Lotus Symphony via their repositories. Symphony 1.1 will be available through the Ubuntu repositories by the end of August. General availability will coincide with the Lotus Symphony 1.2 release expected to be available by the end of October 2008.

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