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IBM's Inexpensive Notes/Domino Push Against MS

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the competition-finally dept.

IBM 415

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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$100/user is still pretty high for small biz (1, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220508)

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.

Re:$100/user is still pretty high for small biz (4, Insightful)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:$100/user is still pretty high for small biz (1, Informative)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220816)

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:$100/user is still pretty high for small biz (2, Interesting)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220976)

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-licensing that makes the problem disappear. It's no doubt to me that IBM could do this with Microsoft, the IBM patent warchest is a license to print money/contracts when dealing with other software companies. So what does a startup do? They lack the ability to sell an actual product in the US without vulnerabilities to patents and frivolous patent lawsuits that eat up gobs of money and allow their competition (Microsoft, namely) to bury them, and open source vendors stand on shaky ground and have significantly fewer options for distribution.

It's a bad situation for everyone, I'm normally defending Microsoft's products recently on Slashdotâ€"the Ribbon is a fantastic UI innovation that I hope to see use in other ridiculously overcomplicated applications that have submenus that have submenus that have... It's menus all the way down, or so I've heard philosophers and UI designers say. But in this area, I don't see a lot of positive. The US desperately needs patent reform to fix this problem, and until that's done, a huge market is closed off for people seeking to use those "coding secrets."

Re:$100/user is still pretty high for small biz (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220984)

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€"

Re:$100/user is still pretty high for small biz (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220970)

"...once Microsoft hooks these businesses on things like (the new) SharePoint... suddenly switching to the competition means you lose functionality, and productivity in doing things "the old way" again"

They are already losing the "old" way, however obviously because of a lock-in ("we just bought 250 SharePoint licenses") its a different story... but maybe IBM's new software is similar enough to the "old" way, yet in a "new" way... besides, both of them are new... so maybe some people will switch to IBM's, some will get MIcrosofts new stuff... and in the next versions (of each) they might be interoptable... especially if Microsoft gets desperate and clingy "hey wait, we can do that too"...

Re:$100/user is still pretty high for small biz (2, Funny)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221074)

I see you found the ellipsis key.

Re:$100/user is still pretty high for small biz (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221164)

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 haven't had a chance to try it out myself. any users of it, maybe ?

Re:$100/user is still pretty high for small biz (3, Interesting)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Silver bullets are effective against werewolves (1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220518)

The term "silver bullet" comes from the old myth that the only way to kill a werewolf is by shooting it with a silver bullet. Its use in every other scenario refers to the "magic" item being completely ineffective in its intended purpose.

"OOA/D is the silver bullet we've been looking for to tame our out of control schedules!"
"Linux is the silver bullet which will fell MS-DOS/Windows from desktop dominance!"
"We don't need to invest in alternative fuel research. We've got a silver bullet with bio-diesel!"

As you can see, the hope in the silver bullet is high, but more likely than not, the result is worse than expected.

Re:Silver bullets are effective against werewolves (1)

kongit (758125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220954)

Additionally by using the term silver bullet one assumes that the object being fired at is thought to be a werewolf. Since the object is several of Microsoft's programs, it casts those programs into a mythical being of the class of werewolf. By granting those programs the additional properties of the werewolf, it increases their power. As a result I have taken to wearing increased amounts of armor and carrying bath salts around with me because we all know that werewolves despise baths almost as much as silver.

Notes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23220522)

I've been an IBM contractor in the past. For the duration of my contract I was given an IBM e-mail address that I could access only via the Notes client.

The built-in editor is terrible (no redo and undo is kinda stupid). Over anything but a very fast connection it is very slow. It is also unintuitive to say the least.

I'm no fan of Outlook/Exchange (heck I use PINE+Postfix personally) but the MS solution seems much better than Lotus Notes.

I think I would be more productive if my e-mail was faxed to me than sent to my Notes client. And I don't have a fax machine.

Screenshots of Notes 8 (4, Informative)

Deviant (1501) | more than 6 years ago | (#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]

Re:Screenshots of Notes 8 (5, Informative)

MishgoDog (909105) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220932)

I'm using the beta of Notes 8 (I work at the big blue), and I can say that it's significantly improved from a UI perspective, and even a bit from a response perspective (which has always been my gripe with Notes)

Re:Screenshots of Notes 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23221142)

I wonder if this dude ever heard of groupwise, they're doing way more in this space and the price is better too. IBM software is horrible!

What are you smoking? (0, Troll)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220544)

>> MS Outlook with Exchange is a fine product

Baloney. Its a terrible product. It just happens to be ubiquitous in the corporate world because of Microsoft's monopolistic practices combined with a lack of good competition.

I disagree. (3, Informative)

Petersko (564140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220668)

"Baloney. (MS Outlook with Exchange) is a terrible product. It just happens to be ubiquitous in the corporate world because of Mcrosoft's monopolistic practices combined with a lack of good competition."

I don't habitually defend Microsoft, but I completely disagree with you here. At work we're migrating away from Notes (thank the maker), and I happily volunteered to be one of the first users during the beta stage. I live my programming life on Solaris, and in G2, and I'm a fan of UNIX in general. I've run umpteen versions of linux in my life. I've used a dozen or more email clients with some regularity, and a number of calendars. And over the years I've realized this:

Outlook and Exchange Server make me happy.

Have you seen the Web Acess client? There's NOTHING out there that compares. The ridiculous bag of inconsistent behaviour and busted UI design that is Lotus Notes is something I'll be glad to see the tail end of.

Re:I disagree. (3, Informative)

pstorry (47673) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220830)

So you're eager to move away from Notes.

(Although you don't say which version of the client you're using, so it may not be a fair comparison. The R8 client is a major upgrade, especially in interface terms.)

However, your eagerness to move to the client tells only half the story.

The server side - well, frankly, Exchange is a pit. A big money pit. It's fine for 100 users in a small business. Past that, its storage systems show the strain.

It's not as scalable, it's not as robust, and it gives far less functionality than a Domino server. It's a mail system that was designed to beat cc:Mail in 1995, and is still straining at the architectural limitations that brief imposed upon it.

And your response will no doubt be "I don't care, I only see the client" - fair enough. But the quote was "MS Outlook with Exchange" - so you're already replying out of context.

Oh, and speaking of web access clients, the Domino Web Access client (formerly known as iNotes) is no slouch either...

Re:I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23220870)

The server side - well, frankly, Exchange is a pit. A big money pit. It's fine for 100 users in a small business. Past that, its storage systems show the strain.
That's quite funny - there are companies out there that happily host more than 40,000 mailboxes with 99.9% uptime, with none of this 'architectural strain' that you're mentioning, like these guys. [cobweb.com]

Re:I disagree. (3, Informative)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220940)

Agreeing with the AC...
We have Exchange 2003 running on 5 year old hardware, with about 200 mailboxes. I have seen SBS with almost 100 mailboxes and everything else on that server. I have no doubt that a brand new server, maybe with a SAN or something, could handle 2000 mailboxes with no problem. And since I know for a fact it does serve many more than that, I just don't know where the GP gets the idea Exchange isn't for a mid-large sized biz.

Re:I disagree. (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221122)

3 year old hardware, +/- 5000 mail accounts, chugging along nicely sofar where I work.

We got an educational discount on the licenses though.

The sad fact of the matter is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23220968)

...that the Web Access client is superior to Outlook itself. My work PC takes an age to boot as is, if I try to open Outlook before it's stabilised, I can look forward to another 3-4 minute wait before anything else responds. Admittedly, this is just about long enough to go and get a cup of tea/coffee but I'm fairly certain this isn't intended as a feature.

Re:I disagree. (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220980)

You apparently use your email as an extensive way to store your information, and haven't learned to expect better from your addressbook or calendar system. For both casual users who trip over its complexities and mis-handled features, and for power users who run into its limitatons _hard_, Exchange is absolutely awful Its bare SMTP handling is awful, and a poorly done add-on to its internal messaging: this makes it an absolutely awful for an externally facing mail server. This effectively doubles the price of many corporate mail systems, because they have to buy and administer an entirely distinct outwards facing mail server, one which requires frequent massaging to continue communicating with MS Exchange after security updates.

Coupled with Outlook's habit of saving all your email in a single .PST file that can't be incrementally backed up and has a maximum isze of 2 GB, you have a ridiculously poor mail service that requires extensive client backup to protect email. It doesn't mirror well, it doesn't fail-over well, and it doesn't spread the load well with less than a $100,000 investment in hardware and server room and configuration time.

I've watched 3 major companies forced to install upstream SMTP servers because of the failures of MS Exchange under load, and in one case helped guide them through the requirements of an actual SMTP server, authentication system, and spam filter. It's quite a lot of expense and work to clean up after the mess left by an MS Exchange installation and a bunch of MS 'consultants'.
SMTP rather than merely Exchange server. It was a real adventure.

Re:I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23221060)

we're migrating away from Notes (thank the maker),
Very well, thanks Dawkins.

Re:I disagree. (1)

tonyr60 (32153) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221118)

Try the Oracle and Sun Collaborations suites. Both have neat web front ends, and can serve to Outlook seamlessly. And the Sun product is no cost to use.

Re:I disagree. (1)

moodyblue (87234) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221158)

The Oracle Collaboration Suite is a big bag o'shite. The connector to Outlook is always freezing and unresponsive as for the web front end the 90s called and they want their interface back.

Re:What are you smoking? (2, Informative)

rossz (67331) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220672)

The meeting planning feature of Exchange is simply outstanding. Nothing else out there comes close to doing the job so well (from the user's perceptive). Security and backend stability is an entirely different matter. You couldn't pay me enough to touch an Exchange server.

Re:What are you smoking? (1)

pstorry (47673) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220924)

You couldn't pay me enough to touch an Exchange server.
I know exactly what you mean! I'd worked with most of the earlier versions - 4.0, 5.5, 2000 - but never, ever enjoyed it.
I'd seen 2003, briefly, but I strangely seem in no sudden rush to poke at the 2003/2007 versions. It's probably an effect similar to aversion therapy...

To be fair, I'm seeing good things about the latest version when I look at reviews and various blogs. There seem to have been lots of improvements.

But it still has an awful architecture, and I'm still hearing horror stories from people that are working with it. And I'm not convinced that it's anything more than the cc:Mail/MS Mail beater that it was designed to be, or that it ever could be without some pretty serious work.

Maybe one day they'll get it working with SQL Server though - that would be a major step in the right direction, but it still wouldn't be enough to make it something I'd want to work with...

Re:What are you smoking? (1)

tonyr60 (32153) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221128)

Have you actually tried anything else? The Oracle scheduling engine rocks, as does the fat client. But it will fully support Outlook if needed.

Re:What are you smoking? (0)

Mirzabah (866477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220842)

So, a kneejerk anti-MS comment is modded as "insightful"? What were the mods smoking? I agree that Outlook+Exchange is a terrible product, but it's ubiquity has nothing at all to do with MS' monopolistic practices. It's all down to the lack of a credible competing product in that particular space.

Re:What are you smoking? (1)

UKRevenant (996944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221034)

That may be a little harsh, but I do agree that without microsoft leveraging its desktop presence it would not have anything like the market share it has. As for Linux, I guess the existence of Scalix has gone completely unnoticed by the original poster. Last time I used scalix, it was still a little awkward to install and configure, but it worked really well. It is built on HPs OpenMail and they have progressed it nicely and included a very good webmail client too.

Re:What are you smoking? (1)

tonyr60 (32153) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221114)

But is it really ubiquitous?

This study (from Microsoft, even) suggests that open source rules, based on the numbers of "others" mail boxes and the lack of revenue for others..

http://download.microsoft.com/download/e/8/a/e8a154bf-cc35-4340-bd26-6265cdb06b6e/market_share_March06.pdf [microsoft.com]

Expensive, bloated, and unfriendly... (4, Insightful)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220546)

...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:Expensive, bloated, and unfriendly... (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220810)

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

Re:Expensive, bloated, and unfriendly... (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220858)

What version of Notes/Domino did you use?

Re:Expensive, bloated, and unfriendly... (5, Interesting)

the bluebrain (443451) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Tag: slashvertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23220562)

This is a thinly veiled article to generate some publicity for Lotus Domino / Notes, and hence deserves to be tagged slashvertisement

speaking as an anonymous coward (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23220564)

and a drunk one at that.... um...
nice slashvertisement
first prost
in soviet russia, bloated software messages you
I for one welcome our new multiplatform client server collaboration overlord
goatse
all your symphony are belong to us
I can haz notez
you are worse than hitler

the world is getting bigger, yet smaller:computers; San Dimas highschool football rules!

Zimbra (4, Interesting)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (4, Interesting)

aredubya74 (266988) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Zimbra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23220826)

Zimbra's web client is all that I've used, and it's even worse then the outlook web client. It's slow on a decent network connection and modern software, and painfull if you're trying to use it from overseas. Go with exchange over zimbra. MS sucks, but exchange is a decent product.

Re:Zimbra (1)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221130)

I don't know what's wrong with your set up, but the web client is extremely fast for us. Maby you have some slow disk for your database, or insufficient memory on the server?

Re:Zimbra (2, Informative)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220884)

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:Zimbra (2, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220990)

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 (1)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221126)

We've been using Zimbra for about 6 months and it feels great. It scales very well, and has been robust. Our company is not huge, but we have about 500GB of mail over 5000000 files. The largest mailboxes are 30GB. We have Apple, Windows and mobile users, and the web client works great for all of them. There are connectors for all operating systems to synchronize the calendars.

A step in the right direction (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220580)

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 and then on again? Well, is it plugged in?" [wikipedia.org]

Re:A step in the right direction (1)

njcoder (657816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220864)

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.

Blatant advertising (1, Interesting)

DreamerFi (78710) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220584)

I wonder how much Slashdot was paid for this post.

Re:Blatant advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23221092)

It is about Linux... it is free of charge. ;-)

Always interested in new options (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220586)

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 (3, Interesting)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220594)

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.

Re:Don't do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23220936)

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.
The excatly same is true for MS SQL server or MS Exchange server...
IBM consultants are btw. often cheaper than MS consultants (in my country) and usually more competent. ...and You are getting better help much faster when you call IBM with a problem.

It isnt enough to be comparable to Outlook (3, Insightful)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:It isnt enough to be comparable to Outlook (2, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221004)

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.

It's nice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23220604)

But not as nice as the goatse [goatse.ch] suite.

more proof that IBM doens't care about open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23220616)

I'm sure some of you will disagree.

Alex

Slashvertizement as it's finest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23220620)

Can someone revoke kdawson's rights to post "news"? I hate all the IBM slashvertizements on /. of late.

Written in Eclipse? (3, Interesting)

forgoil (104808) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220622)

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.

Re:Written in Eclipse? (3, Informative)

The_Myth (84113) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Written in Eclipse? (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220680)

No, it really is written in Eclipse [eclipse.org] (although not necessarily using Eclipse).

Re:Written in Eclipse? (2, Informative)

Rexdude (747457) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221016)

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 veneer.
Scratch the surface and you find the same fugly old Notes client as was present earlier. Infact, there are 2 binaries for launching notes- notes.exe and nlnotes.exe. The latter launches the client without the eclipse framework, and you get the same Soviet era style horrible UI as before.
Oh and be prepared to forfeit about 350 MB RAM when running the full client, ie with Eclipse framework.
And-this is priceless- in the year 2008, there STILL is no way to start a network operation without locking up the application solid. In other words, it still does not feature multi threading for network access, so click a database link and be prepared to either sit back and wait and be unable to do anything else, or cancel it by ctrl-break.

Re:Written in Eclipse? (4, Informative)

pstorry (47673) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221048)

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...

Re:Written in Eclipse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23221064)

It probably says it's written in Java in a way that won't make bazillions developers run away screaming "oh no! It's written in Java".

I'm not a fan of Exchange+Outlook, being primarily a horrible product people is forced to use because of corporate Microsoft dependency, but I recall from memories of about 8 years ago Domino and Notes being two nearly unusable resource hogs, no matter what system you would dedicate to them, and rewriting them using Java isn't the best approach to speed up things.

Eclipse on the other hand is a marvellous development system; unfortunately it's written in Java.

"Consultant" should do more homework (1)

toby (759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220624)

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).

Re:"Consultant" should do more homework (1)

bherman (531936) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220736)

One issue I've had with Zimbra is that for very small companies (<10 uers say) the costs are pretty high for the network edition. Surprisingly most small companies actually require some of the features only found in the network edition like BES interop. Its common to have a few BB's in a small company these days.

Comedy gold... (2, Interesting)

rmdir -r * (716956) | more than 6 years ago | (#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+++...

Re:Comedy gold... (1)

setagllib (753300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220728)

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 portable as a bonus.

Re:Comedy gold... (2, Informative)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220938)

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 Flex2, perl, Java, I've always got the same IDE, and it all stays in a single folder that I can zip and throw on a jump drive. The icing on the cake is that I can keep all the code in my subversion repo and with subclipse I have my SCM integrated to all my projects. Just today I wanted to mock up a GUI real quick... no problem, JBuilder is based on eclipse now and installing an update is just unzipping a folder, or using the built in update site feature. I've also got Yoxos service (it's free) that lets me browse a good couple hundred of extensions and install them and their dependencies automatically, and update plugins and their dependencies in the background at the click of a button. I also love every summer when they release 14 or 15 projects simultaneously as a single release. Did I mention multithread capable debugging inside the IDE? Stop any thread at any moment and see its stack while the others run. Ant build scripts are nice, too.

Re:Comedy gold... (1)

Geak (790376) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220838)

And the requirements on Exchange (2Gb + 5MB/mailbox) are much better?

Re:Comedy gold... (1)

njcoder (657816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220890)

He's talking about the client, you're talking about the server.

Re:Comedy gold... (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220878)

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.

Still don't see what the big deal is about outlook (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220654)

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:Still don't see what the big deal is about outl (2, Insightful)

bherman (531936) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220716)

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.

Re:Still don't see what the big deal is about outl (2, Informative)

Rexdude (747457) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221046)

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 till it completes.

MS outlook is a messaging and calendaring/scheduling app, and no more. And for that, it does the job quite well, speaking from a corporate mail rather than an end user point of view.
Notes tries to be some kind of all in one groupware/application platform out of which mail is just one function and there it loses out.

Seriously...try Notes and soon you'll be crying out for the wonderfully friendly and efficient Outlook!! /sarcasm

A different view (4, Interesting)

bherman (531936) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220706)

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 (2, Interesting)

DotMasta (1089813) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220720)

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.

Probably not a silver bullet (2, Interesting)

teh moges (875080) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220764)

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.

Lotus Bloat vs. Outlook Bloat (2, Informative)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220930)

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 Kermit-based homebrew thing that crashed a lot.) Really none of them were as user-friendly as /bin/mail.


Outlook has gotten more bloated, but it really does work much much better than it used to, as long as you've got enough resources to work around its warts. The monolithic-PST-file structure means it's sometimes slow, very hard to back up, and a mess to fix it it gets corrupted, but it doesn't get corrupted very often any more. For server-based mail systems, the bloat means that you need a *lot* of very expensive fast disk farm to store email on, and most corporate IT departments never want to provide enough of that; one reason that Outlook PC storage has become tolerable is that disks have been outrunning Moore's Law for enough years that they're simply Big Enough that it's ok if my current year's PST file is over 2GB.


Outlook has also started to do some really cool things with presence servers, and the server may end up replacing PBXs as we know them, especially because they're doing SIP (to the extent that SIP is a usefully-open protocol.) Their servers are pricy and large, but that's partly because they keep adding more and more functions, and they've certainly seized enough of the calendar market that it's hard to get people to give them up, in spite of lighter and better competition.

Eh. (1)

njcoder (657816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220766)

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 make sense in some situations. If you're a small operation you're going to want to stick with a platform that is more familiar and easier to find contractors for, like Exchange. Many companies do fine with the smtp/pop emails they get with their 6.99/mo hosting. For those that want more, there are a number of good companies that provide Exchange based hosting.

On top of all the various Exchange based hosts, MS Office Small business Live even has a form of email hosting in their package that is $14.95 per year or something like that after the first free year. It includes up to 100 email addresses. Google apps provides a good solution for small business email, calendaring and document sharing. They have a paid version for $50/mailbox/year with some more features.

If you're big enough to host things yourself, or if regulations such as Hippa necesitate it, Exchange is pretty easy, open source alternatives like Open-Xchange are out there though I can't comment on them. If you'd like to try some good messaging, colaboration, calendaring, IM, etc tools you can download and use Sun's Java Enterprise System for free and sign up for a subscription if you need support. Pricing was $100/emp/year a few years ago but not sure what it is now. It has a connector for MS Outlook as well. JES also has some other applications that may be useful as well.

The only people that I can imagine still using Domino are shops that haven't been interested in changing their current setups.

IBM should have open sourced Domino/Notes a long time ago if they wanted to keep MS Exchange from taking over their market share. Don't know what they really could do now though. The majority of people on windows are going to want to use Outlook, period. People with a large number of employees and remote clients might lean to Domino for better performance and maintenance. People using linux will look for open source solutions.

Sun came up with this $100/employee pricing a while ago and while I don't have any numbers I suspect that this has been pretty good for them. This is just an observation that I've been seeing a lot of Sun's default favicon.ico's showing up in sites over that past couple of years. They seemed to have had the right idea with this pricing, as IBM seems to confirm. Now Sun has taken it a step further and they are giving away the software and you pay for a support subscription only if you want.

Mail client and Groupware client ubiquitous (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220790)

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 in FireFox other than copying prefs.js to every machine with the URIs I want.

Sharepoint.

There are two things I can foresee competing with sharepoint. One is Geeklog. The other is Knowledge Tree. But in order for this to be so, Geeklog/Knowledge Tree would need to be able to again, store data in OpenLDAP, (maintaining a separate database in MySQL is a non-starter) Authenticate with Kerberos, and eGroupware and Geeklog/Knowlege Tree need to communicate via XML-RPC.

All the peices are in place but I don't have the skill to put it together otherwise I would have. These things have to be done to destroy Exchange.

Re:Mail client and Groupware client ubiquitous (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220860)

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 a version or two will have a PDO layer :) It uses jQuery for making sites sing and dance and there's an absolute grip of add-on modules for it. It's got your auth and it's got an XML-RPC layer.

This looks promising (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220986)

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]

I hate to say it, but you are missing the point. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221132)

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 has.

Exchange and Active directory win these victories because they talk to each other.

For this to work, I need to be able to tell KDE where to get its user information from LDAP, I need a "Use GSSAPI" checkbox in Kontact for XML-RPC. I need an LDAP Schema fore Fire Fox. I need bug fixes to mod_auth_krb5 so it works right with HTTPS. I need all sorts of fixes to start happening because people think the objective here is to clone outlook.

It has to work, and I need it to work NOW!

I'd almost rather use Vista.... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220822)

...than go back to Lotus fucking notes. It started off as BBS software, and it shows!

Well almost.

Surely there are other alternatives?

Pricing still not there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23220852)

$100/user is still too expensive. Do you think that Microsoft can't sell for a quarter of that if it gets them the account? To make any significant dent in Microsoft's market share, IBM/Lotus, Zimbra, Scalix, and all the others clearly need to have a viable competitive product, but more than that they need a price that is attractive enough for PHBs to consider it purely because of the bottom line. To make people really sit up and take notice it needs to be closer to $1/user for non-profits and education, and $5/user for government & business. Unbundling support might possibly be a way of doing this without losing money.

What about support? (1)

saikou (211301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220854)

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 (3, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220880)

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:Hooray (1)

Tim99 (984437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221066)

Sounds as though you need to get back to the UNIX mail program.

Explain to your users that they simply type "mail login_name@hostname" at their prompt and presses Return. What could be easier? Then explain that after issuing the mail command, they will be prompted for the SUBJECT then press Return . The mail program can then prompt with Cc: if so, pressing Return again gets them to mail program's message editor. Tell them to type their message, remembering to press Return at the end of each line. To send message type a period on the last line and then Return.

See - Really easy. Since implementing this, my users no longer bother me with the problems that they have had with unreliable mail systems.
The more tenacious user should be told how to fix possible "unable to look up..." errors. I can guarantee that they will be impressed.

It's more than that (4, Insightful)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220944)

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?

Are you an MCSE? (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220956)

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 on XBox because it genuinely wanted to same customers some money.

One quote (2, Interesting)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 6 years ago | (#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).

GMail will be hard to beat (4, Interesting)

1 a bee (817783) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (2, Interesting)

rpjs (126615) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Google Apps (1)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221038)

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.

Yeah, but.... (1)

gnuchu (1280406) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221040)

Notes is absolutely awful.

memory!! (1)

TheCybernator (996224) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221044)

Or will IBM drop the ball yet again?"
ball is already dropped. You know the amount of memory Notes 8 consumes? it hogs ~300MB RAM

Kerio Mailserver (1)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221088)

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 Windows users are concerned it works with Outlook so they are happy while the price per seat is much better than Exchange. The server software runs on Windows, OS X and Linux. Not affiliated but a happy customer.

Not impossible to match? Open Xchange? (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221090)

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.

I Got a Live CD from RedHat (1)

rainhill (86347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23221148)

I've got a live CD of this from RedHat, here [redhat.com] it seemed well polished and includes mail, calendaring, Symphony and more..

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