IBM Adds Linux Support to IM

Tuesday Aug 15th 2006 by Dan Muse
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IBM's instant messaging and collaboration platform will soon boast Linux client and server versions. Big Blue claims small-biz appeal.

In a move that might get the attention of small businesses currently using consumer-grade instant messaging networks, IBM yesterday announced plans to ship Linux client and server versions of its Lotus Sametime 7.5 instant messaging product.

"The big theme is choice," said David Marshak, IBM Lotus' senior product manager for Real-time Collaboration, who added that the new client and server will allow Sametime customers to take advantage of the cost savings and the open nature of the Linux operating system.

Marshak said the cost savings of Sametime on Linux will offer value to small and mid-sized businesses looking to move to a business-grade IM platform, but face limited budgets and IT resources. "SMBs are late adopters, but now smaller companies are now looking for security and collaboration," Marshak said.

"In the Fortune 50, 100, 1000 we're really dominant," Marshak said. "But we're finding the value proposition isn't so much larger enterprise to larger enterprise, but large enterprise to supply chain." And, of course, the companies that make a big firm's supply chain are often small businesses.

Also appealing to smaller businesses is the pricing structure of Lotus Sametime. Marshak said that IBM doesn't charge server licensing fees, but charges on a per-user basis only. That pricing is $55 per user and for a perpetual license, according to an IBM.

IBM claims that Sametime is the first major real-time collaboration platform to support Linux on both the server and the desktop.


IBM Lotus Sametime 7.5
The Lotus Sametime 7.5 Linus client (shown here) is expected to be available in September.

The Sametime 7.5 Linux client will ship by the end of September and the server software is expected to be available early in 2007, Marshak said.

Today's news follows IBM announcement in June that it will provide integration between its Lotus Sametime 7.5 collaboration platform and Microsoft Outlook, Office and SharePoint applications. IBM said that Sametime 7.5 will also offer connectivity with Microsoft Windows Mobile devices and mobile devices from RIM and Nokia. In June, Big Blue also announced that Lotus Notes will be available for Linux.

In January, IBM announced that it will also offer free access to third-party IM networks such as Yahoo Messenger, AIM, iChat and Google Talk within the Sametime client.

In addition to the potential cost savings associated with the move to a Linux environment, Marshak pointed out that Lotus Sametime 7.5 is based on the Eclipse open framework, so any one can write plug-ins and create their own applications.

Marshak said the cost savings of Sametime on Linux will offer value to small and mid-sized businesses looking to move to a business-grade IM platform, but face limited budgets and IT resources. "SMBs are late adopters, but now smaller companies are now looking for security and collaboration," Marshak said.

"In the Fortune 50, 100, 1000 we're really dominant," Marshak said. "But we're finding the value proposition isn't so much larger enterprise to larger enterprise, but large enterprise to supply chain." And, of course, the companies that make a big firm's supply chain are often small businesses.

Also appealing to smaller businesses is the pricing structure of Lotus Sametime. Marshak said that IBM doesn't charge server licensing fees, but charges on a per-user basis only. That pricing is $55 per user and for a perpetual license, according to an IBM.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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