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Linux Intranet Application and Collaboration Software?

Cliff posted more than 14 years ago | from the does-this-exist? dept.

Linux 152

_blueboy asks: "I work in IT at a medium-sized Life Sciences company, and we are in the process of developing an intranet. As one of the primary developers, I have been involved in evaluating both development and server software. We are currently using an all Microsoft setup but it has proven to be very finicky, unreliable, and unpredictable. Our director is currently evaluating Domino R5 but several of us would like to move to Linux and Apache. Our director likes the idea that Notes & Domino form a "complete package". I know that Lotus is planning to ship Notes & Domino for Linux soon. Does anyone have any experience with the Lotus software and how well would it likely run on Linux? Are there any similar packages for *nix/apache or any companies that might provide a similar custom built solution? It is essential that the software be able to provide us with easy and reliable document sharing/collaboration tools for a Windows network. "

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Cheaper, Better Cooperative Workspace software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585552)

Try http://bscw.gmd.de/ for a nice cooperative workspace (and more).

Also Hotoffice (don't know URL) offers similar

Notes on Sun was evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585553)

My old roommate used to work at a fortune 100 company and they had tons of inhouse and vendor hours into getting Notes working and to keep it working on Solaris. FWIW.

Re:Notes: Server Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585554)

In theory you can use Notes with clients like Netscape Communicator (using web-based interface or POP/IMAP and NNTP(possibly?). In my experience (v. 4.5.2 for on AIX and NT) that kind of setup is _very_ unstable (lockups of pop mailboxes, memory leaks). I spoke to guys who sell Domino and they couldn't run Lotus with support of pop3/http for more than 30 days without rebooting (on NT 4.0). Using Lotus Domino as a web server is not a pleasant experience as well (try to add javascript to a web page for instance). Even if you are going to use non-lotus clients you'll have pay $30 per mailbox. My $.02

Re:Openmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585556)

Is it really free for unlimited number of users? Is the licensing policy of openmail on redhat cdrom differ from the ones one hp web site (free for up to 50 users limit)?

Give it up. Go MS or Notes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585557)

Section of the Gov I work for went with the Netscape server suite for our "IntraNet".

In our case an IntraNet means IMAP (vs banyan) mail and a calendar server no one uses.

BTW Netscape is linux's worst enemy: NS won't port their server apps to this great server platform, and their browsers are crashy garbage on any OS.

As an IntraNet solution Netscape Server Suite is horrible. Our IT people must have been smoking crack or getting major kickbacks. Of, course they were migrating from Banyan, so anything must have looked good. Netscape's server suite is a mismatch of products purchased from other companies. Software.Com's Post.Office ??? Calendar server which requires NS Pro $$$$ Client (it's the late 90's and your tax payer dollars are PAYING for 20,000 copies of Netscape Browser software), something called Compass server for indexing coorporate documents and several other also ran server apps.

Anyway, in desperation, and with no budget I've been looking for Open Source solutions to make up for netscapes deficiencies.

You know the drill. Throw something together, wow the management, piss on the NOAA site license and do what we want.

Unfortunately the answer is NO. There are a lot of projects that look promising but nothing is quite-there-yet. Everything I reviewed was pretty much alpha/beta ware that I would be very hesitant to stake my reputation or my Division's future.

If you are a web wizard with plenty of time you could probably construct something serviceable out of the tools out their (zope looks promising) but why bother, when their are Off the shelf solutions that will do the job????

Hell if MS/Notes is a bear to install and manage, consider it job security.....

Keep on Keeping On

smartworks & opendesk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585558)

I saw an annoucement on linuxtoday last week about something called opendesk.com opening yesterday. I went and took a look, they're site is not quite ready yet (so don't /. them just yet ;-) .. In any case it looks like the type of thing your looking for. It's based entirely on opensource software and if you don't want to use opendesk.com services you could install smartworks (smartworks.org) and run it for your intranet.

Note I don't work for these people but I'm really curious about how this technology performs.

So if you evaluate it, please post a follow up!

Re:Notes: Server Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585559)

Apparently the Notes 5 client was developed primarily on Visual C++, and uses MFC. Which raises the question if porting to Linux is even possible without using Wine or a commercial equivalant.

check this out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585560)

Not open source but it runs on Linux http://www.joydesk.com

Re:Avoid Notes at All Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585561)

We use Notes at work for a bunch of different tasks, but in many cases we are moving functions from Notes to Apache. In some cases there have been things that the Notes people could never get to work for months that we implemented on Apache with perl in a week or two or work much better than their Notes equivalent. The only problem that we consistently have are bonehead users forgetting their passwords or insisting that www. belongs infront of every url they type.

CVW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585562)

This one kicks ass. Period. cvw.mitre.org [mitre.org]
White boards, chat, etc., etc., etc.

Re:Clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585563)

Stay away from Notes. I administered a Notes server for several years. It's difficult to administer because it's very obscure. YOu can't easily find Net resources, nor are the books very good. Domino 5 was better, but lord, the freaky things users experienced and I couldn't resolve. And support from Lotus is $500 to $700 a question. Have a look at AOLserver and the ARSdigita Community System. It works. And it will keep working. It's simple. They're using all open-source products (except the db but that's up to you). If you must use NT, have a look at Zope and Squishdot. I've installed it on both Linux and NT. Very fast and stable. Whatever you do, though, stay away from Lotus and MS. When you get stuck, either they won't be there to help you, or they'll take your money and won't guarantee that they can help.

Re:Domino for linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585565)

Your must be running on crap hardware. I have a fully clustered Lotus Domino server farm that stays up for about 90 days at a time. If I need to shutdown a box, the Notes Client automatically switches to the backup box. You obviously do not know how to setup or configure Domino on NT. OR, you are not running Compaq Hardware.

Domino is the Perfect Choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585566)

Domino is an excellent choice. The people that complain about it don't know how to set it up correctly. Or they are not running it on solid hardware. I have a Clustered Domino Server farm running on Compaq Servers (5500R - 3000R - 2500R 1600R - 850R). I have no problem with my boxes and my users never experience any downtime related to the servers. If a server fails the client automatically switches over to the backup box.

Re:Domino effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585567)

I disagree, Lotus Notes was to be the hyperlink type of thing instead of WWW but never did it well, does not scale, has horrible navigation, is unstable. I have seen nothing but very expensive pain and misery with lotus products. Face it, Notes is about as useful as Apple HyperCard. It is IBM's SNA to the rest of the world's tcp/ip.

Re:Notes is a freek. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585568)

All the drivel this marketing guy spouts will not get you one of the simple apps that the questioner asked for. Domino may be an OK webserver but add Notes and you have a package that will take your entire staff and thousands of consultants to operate. It is a black hole.

Domino for linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585570)

Rumor has it Domino gold for linux will be out within days. I've been using the beta on a redhat 6.0 box and I've been thrilled with it. The biggest issue I've had with Domino in the past is the NT box its running on. I reboot all of my servers daily, because NT rots when it comes to stability. I've had the linux box up for at least a month now - with a beta version of domino! One of the other nice things about going with domino is that there is a large and well supported developer base.

Re:Feel free to contact me directly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585571)

This would not surprise me in the least. Something is just wrong with OS/400. Maybe the governors. But the stats are awful. Domino on Linux should work much better. Wish they'd port the client so I could get rid of Windows! Very interesting, very powerful things can indeed be done in Domino. Just you wait and see. ;-)

Re:multiple options for real flexibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585572)

I hate to be rude, but if you are having problems writing clean perl code, you may want to re-evalute your perl coding abilities. You have used and created modules, right? You have used references, right? You have created "classes", right? For that matter you are using perl 5? I would never presume to say anything about Python, since I have had the chance to learn it yet. But I can right damn clean Perl code.

PLEASE avoid Lotus Notes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585573)

I'm not an IT professional, I'm a materials scientist at a large silicon valley company with several sites linked together from around the world. My 4-yr experience with Lotus Notes has been a continuing nightmare of bad UI, ridiculously crippled capabilities, and endless frustration. There HAS TO BE something better!

Re:Run like hell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585574)

I'ld actually have to disagree with you. The Notes C and C++ APIs are very well implemented and easy to work with. Notes 5 and Java are a pretty good combination and Lotus/Iris must have put a lot of work into the Java classes.

Re:Domino effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585575)

Hmmm... I am not a big SNA fan, but before you bash it, you might want to educate yourself on it. SNA provides a lot of capabilities that TCP/IP can't, especially involving transactions.

Roxen/IMHO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585577)

Take a look at this opensource (gpl) webserver, I think together with IMHO, a mail2web modul its part of your perfect collaboration software.
Roxen [roxen.com]
IMHO [pike-community.org]
Cheers take@lysator.liu.se

Re: zope is pretty good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585578)

Zope is pretty good. I put together an in-house
bug-tracking system in about a week of spare
time, including getting zope running and learning
DTML (the internal markup language). The OO bits
of zope are very powerfull, but I'm not sure
I understand all of what it can do.

Plus the new xml bits can make your system
instantly buzzword compabible.

Check it out.

-- cary

Ugh! Lotus! (0)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585581)

There are several reasons not to go the Lotus route, not least of which being that you end up locking yourself into a proprietary solution which was designed to do many things and does none of them well. See the iarchitect site (www.iarchitect.com) for a by-no-means-complete list of the atrocities you will be subjected to if you go the Lotus route. And AFAIK Lotus still hasn't committed to porting their client software to Linux.

Why not look into setting up a news server for your company or perhaps modifying the slashdot software to suit your needs? Throw a LDAP server out there, throw some news server out there, set up some web discussion stuff such as you have on Slashdot and use PGP (or GPG) to encrypt confidential information going over the raw Internet and you'll have a much better and much more open solution to your problems.

I use both; prefer Zope (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585582)

Domino and Zope have lots of similarities:
- a different way of solving problems that takes some getting used to (Domino is quirkier);
- an object model (Zope's can be extended);
- suitability for a range of business solutions (Domino comes with more prebuilt templates but that is changing as Zopistas charge ahead);
- multiplatform;
- impressively powerful.

When I started to design an Domino-based intranet application framework, I realized how all the Zope work I had been doing made Domino seem so restrictive. On the other hand, Domino had already solved issues like rich security model and automatic document conversion to HTML.
I think that despite the extensive documentation and training available for Domino compared to Zope, after 6 months you would be more productive using Zope, you would have saved a bundle, and you'd have a lot more fun.

Some thoughts on Notes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585583)

Sorry for posting anon. First I've built and admin'd both M$ Exchange and Lotus Notes. Both for about 3000 ppl, and across the US. My current employer pays me to maintain Notes. I learned it when I hit the ground running with it. Notes or open source ? I agree with a previous poster. Very carefully consider what you need vs. what you want. Avoid the M$ offering of the week. Compared with Notes, M$ is not just 5 years, but closer to ten years behind on document/knowledge management. Been there, done that, have the scars to prove it. On Notes on Linux. I loaded it, ran it, etc. Not bad for a beta product. However, thier lack of inclusion of a Linux client is a gross, near unforgiveable error on Lotus's part. Don't disregard this. If discussing purely the techno side of Notes in relation to your need, I think you will find it very friendly. However, learn the product. Pay good $$ for the classes, train, get certified ( Lotus' certification does really help you in the real world -- of Notes ). Most ppl who bitch and moan about how crappy Notes is 1: Run it on NT 2: Have insufficient education in the product Cranking out content, securely ( if needed ) and distributing it globally becomes trivial with Notes. Notes may be one of the few products that I have worked with that is an excellent example of groupware. Can it be hard to work with ? At times, yes. Can it suck in comparison with newer more niche products. On occasion Can any software actually touch the breadth of the product? Havent seen it yet. Find a Lotus advocate on the web. Frank Cseh comes to mind. Find some sites/companies using it well. Buy them beer and pizza, and once everyone is half sleepy, start asking questions, ask to poke around. Get good examples, before you give too much credit to the nay-sayers.

Domino for Linux shipping within 30 days (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1585584)

Today at Lotusphere Europe Lotus said it would release Domino for Linux V5.02 within 30 days. The full story is here [lotus.com]. Have Fun! Olaf

NT and *nix (1)

rasterboy (871) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585585)

My suggestion is get an NT box with all the Microsft hoo-haa, Notes, etc. but also have a *nix box, with Apache, perl, etc. whatever you *really* like to develop on. This way you get the best of both worlds, and above all - choice.

Re:Clarification (1)

Andrej Marjan (1012) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585587)

Lotus Quickplace does. Actually, it's quite a cool product, for what it does.

It's fairly brainless to set up the server, then users can set up their own work environments, with full Notes security.

I know it has a threaded discussion area and a file repository, which does convert Office documents to HTML with reasonable fidelity. The Office documents are saved on the backend, and can be edited directly through a Windows interface whose name I can't remember, but I know that Domino.Doc and similar big tools use it too. Basically, saving to and reading from the server are transparent to Windows apps. This is key.

There's also a wysiwyg editor and other goodies.

I expect it isn't too cheap, though, and I think standard Notes licensing applies.

Standard Notes is probably not desired, as it requires a fair bit of customization and masochistic wrangling to get it to do many things. Quickplace, OTOH, is a no-brainer for a certain class of requirements.

Re:Cloning Notes: Another Linux Train Wreck (1)

Andrej Marjan (1012) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585588)

CGI-like applications with Domino agents run slowly and high overhead.

The degree to which this is true is incredible. We have 4.6x servers at work. This year, I had several occasions to write agents that needed to sort collections of documents. Imagine my surprise to discover that there's no standard sorting method in LotusScript (Yet Another Glorified Basic).

No problem, I thought, I'll whip up a simple mergesort. My datasets aren't too big.

Seven levels of recursion down, the damned thing runs out of stack space!

Re:OpenSource Intranet Solution (1)

xeer (1377) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585590)

Obsidian is under the GPL but they distribute it with a number of limiting clauses which the GPL doesn't allow.
Nice looking software though.

Standardize on open protocols, not apps. (1)

embobo (1520) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585591)

You do not want to get locked into a vendor. That way will lead to pure suffering in all respects: price (both license fees and support) gouging, UI jail, lack of extensibility, slow bug fixes, feature bloat, feature lack, etc. You basically become the vendor's bitch. What are you going to do after you wasted $50 million implementing the vendor's system and then it sucks beyond all belief?

All the open protocols for groupware exist already: SMTP, IMAP, POP, NNTP, MIME, OpenPGP, LDAP, HTML, HTTP, IRC etc. Find applications that use these protocols and you are set.

Keep in mind that any company can publish a spec and say their system is open. But if there aren't competing implementations then it is defacto closed.

Do you want to benefit from all the geniuses at universities? Most cool ideas come from a university, not a company. More likely than not the leading implementations will be free in some sense. They will not integrate into your Lotus Notes monilithic beast easily. Lotus Notes will not copy the feature for another year if at all. Lotus (or IBM) will gladly send a team of $300/hr consultants to come to your site and implement the feature. It will halfway work.

Do you want to rely on the braintrust at a single company company or do you want the power of the IETF, professors, and hobbyists? Think of TCP/IP or BSD.

A great new piece of hardware or OS (think Linux) comes along. No port for Lotus Notes exists for it. You are stuck sending email to IBM begging for a port instead of a recompile.

Re:Clarification (1)

DataDevil (1762) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585592)

We already have the intranet ready for HRM management, things to do email and discussion are easy to implement too, all based on php/apache/mysql.
If you want to know more, feel free to contact me at my email address, do not forget to remove the n0spam bit..


Appliance server - Cobalt or Rebel! (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585593)

Get a Cobalt Qube/Raq box or a Rebel Netwinder.

Small, fast, cheap($900-$1000), highly rackable ( 40/rack for the Cobalt and 160/rack for the netwinder)

Come with groupware applications / doc management apps installed.

No admin required.

Re:OpenSource Intranet Solution (1)

KodaK (5477) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585594)

It's licensed under GPL and written nearly completely in perl.

FYI: OCS is *not* licensed under the GPL. It is a commercial product and Obsidian Systems requires you to pay them if it's used in a commercial environment. I do not know the details for the licence, their site is too slow and I'm an impatient person. I invesigated this package as an option for my company, and I found it to be a very decent stable package but a couple of things put me off: 1) it only runs under RedHat, and 2) my boss would never pay. :) It's good points are that, while it is commercial, the source is included (it's Perl!) and you can modify it to your hearts content. I don't know how they plan to support it if you vary too much, but that's their problem....

Re:OpenSource Intranet Solution (1)

KodaK (5477) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585595)

Ok, Ok, I'm wrong. I just did a check at freshmeat and it clearly states it's licensed under the GPL. Sue me. :) In that case, I'd strongly suggest this package. I *do* remember reading somewhere that it was not GPL, and I'd appreciate any clarification as to if they've changed their licencing policy of if I'm simply insane.

Re:OpenSource Intranet Solution (1)

benno (8272) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585596)

Actually I have it running quite swimmingly under Debian, and I'm pretty sure it is under the GPL. (Although they do prefer it if you get a support contract from them) Benno

Re:OpenSource Intranet Solution (1)

benno (8272) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585597)

I do think there are provisions for sharing the
load between two or more servers. I think
it would be worth checking the docs if this is
a problem for youi.

However I agree that since it directly reads the
fs it isn't really the best solution. I am at the
moment attempting to rewrite _some_ parts of
it in Zope as a front end and imap and postgres
as the backend.


Avoid Notes at All Costs (1)

cherub (9120) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585599)

My company (www.trilogy.com) uses Lotus Notes and Domino heavily, and I'd say it has essentially created my job (as a build guy). It sucks. Notes and Domino lock you into Lotus' proprietary solution to everything, but arn't capable enough to do what you'll inevitably want someday, and then you'll be stuck like we are. All of my big upcoming projects involve getting some Notes-based system we're using rewritten without Notes so that we can do what we need in terms of automation. I'd rather be using plain old sendmail and apache than Notes and Domino. Notes and Domino form a 'complete lossage' that you can't escape from whereas sendmail and apache's faults can be handled with other peices of software. That's the salient point. Notes and Domino do a lot of what you'll need, but when they don't do something, you're trapped. When sendmail and apache don't do something you need, you can find something else that will, or you can put together a quick hack yourself in many cases.

Notes V.5 heads-up (1)

alhaz (11039) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585602)

I have several friends who work in various parts of IBM, where Notes collaboration is a part of every day business.

I've heard nothing good about the Notes v.5 Win32 client. Mostly I hear reports about crashes, an irrational need for reboots, etc.

Step carefully.

Re:Cloning Notes: Another Linux Train Wreck (1)

ralphclark (11346) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585603)

Seven levels of recursion down, the damned thing runs out of stack space!


The answer to that is you mostly shouldn't use recursion in real-world applications. Design your algorithm using recursion, for sure, but then unroll it into the equivalent iterative version before implementing it.

That way not only do you avoid running out of stack space (due to pointless re-copying) but you also avoid the overhead of setting up the call frame and of course the time spent copying those local PBV arguments onto the stack.

Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
Thought exists only as an abstraction

Re:Feel free to contact me directly... (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585605)

The huge caveat with Domino on Linux is the 2 GB file size limit on 32-bit ext2.

This shouldn't affect 90% of the Notes/Domino applications out there, but the product can certainly support larger databases. This might pose a problem if you are planning to migrate an existing Domino site from NT or OS/2 to Linux.

Re:Run like hell. (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585606)

If you're losing data in Notes you either have developers or administrators that don't know what they're doing. Domino might be slow, but it doesn't 'lose' data.

Re:Feel free to contact me directly... (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585607)

The performance leader for Domino on x86 has always been Solaris/Intel. I would expect that on Linux, performance should be similar or even better.

possible possibilities ... (1)

Arkahn (14759) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585610)

I took a 5 minute gander over at opendesk.com [opendesk.com] and saw a few interesting features. It's open-source, so perhaps you could use it as a springboard for rolling your own.

Speaking of rolling your own ... (I see a number of people have already mentioned this route ... it's too bad there isn't a full-blown package out there to give some alternatives to IBM's Lotus ... but I digress) you could check out the resources at linuxdev.net [linuxdev.net]. An application server, like Enhydra [enhydra.com], combined with an LDAP server could fit the bill. There's plenty of other application servers out there; I work with ColdFusion [allaire.com] on daily basis. Allaire (maker of ColdFusion) has released a CF server stub for linux and a full port is on its way.

Intranet wants/needs can differ greatly from company to company. Whatever solution you end up with, it'd be nice to have the flexibility to customize. *flex coding fingers*

Re:let the software choice drive the os choice (1)

Compuser (14899) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585617)

If there were to be a Linux port of Lotus
stuff, wouldn't it also run on BSDs, not
to mention SCO and solaris. That
may (?) be even more stable.

Zope. (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585618)

I would suggest Apache/Zope

I also brought this in to an all-NT environment, and so-far, it was worked out very nicely.

Notes is a virus (1)

faster (21765) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585619)

Lotus Notes is a virus. I've worked with a few people who have caught it, and they feel compelled to introduce it into every company whether it's suited for the job or not.

Domino is an abomination. Do you ever email URLs to people from memory? You'll never do that again if you use Domino. The URLs are usually more than 60 chars of hex. There are ways around that, but they break the 'fully automated, luser-updatable' model.

I am not a Notes admin, so I might have this all wrong. But I've never seen it work any other way. And I'm sorry that I don't have any positive suggestions. I can only advise you to run as fast as you can from Notes and Domino.

Domino is not a flexible development platform. (1)

rd (30144) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585624)

Previous posts are very correct to say that if you go Notes, you are locked into a proprietary hole. You are stuck in a world of flat files with a rather poor development tool. The e-mail and calendar tools are not that great either.

We are currently looking at Oracle and Cold Fusion (both of which run on Linux now)because we are going to do a rather large rollout. I would guess that many of the other solutions listed would work well for an intranet though.

Re:Notes is a virus (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585625)

>Do you ever email URLs to people from memory? You'll never do that again if you use Domino.

You can always do:

You don't *have* to use the 32-bit hex key, it just generates them by default.

(I develop on some corporate Notes apps for a living)

How about Openmail? (1)

drama (32059) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585626)

I've been playing with HP's OpenMail [hp.com] today and the little I've done says it's very nice. I haven't gotten to do much with it because I have another very large project that I'm working on. The documentation is very nice, and everything can be administrated from the command line. Unfortunately, I hadn't been able to get the omadmin vt100 client to work (the screenshots look cool :-) although the command line configuration utilities worked fine and all the command names seem very logical.

It will work with outlook (as something like an exchange server) and it comes with a linux client, however it didn't look extremely pretty. What I liked most was the licensing. According to the page, it looks about half the price of an equivalent Exchange setup, however you buy the licenses in bulks of 50.

http://www.ice.hp.com/cyc/om/00/index.ht ml [hp.com]


http://www.ice.hp.com/cyc/om/ 00/showfile.cgi?100-1458 [hp.com]

Notes: Server Only (1)

esnible (36716) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585632)

Lotus is planning to ship Domino, the server piece, for Linux shortly.

Lotus has no plans to ship the Notes client for Linux.

In theory Domino can be used as a POP/IMAP server with other clients without the groupware features that you are choosing Notes for in the first place.

Re:Clarification (1)

rubbah (38798) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585633)


They have an intranet setup.

No plug here... just a pointer.

Re:Notes: Server Only (1)

Flynn777 (56633) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585637)

I've had a Domino R4.6 server, which was later updated to each rev of R5 that's been released, running POP3 without any problems. That's on NT4, mind you -- and it just don't get any flakier than that. The box is an old Dell PowerEdge -- PPro200 with 128MB RAM. It's *completely* underpowered, yet has run securely as a Domino server for POP3, HTTP and SMTP, along with serving native Notes clients, for over a year.

I restart it once every three months just for good measure.

4.5.2 is a *way* old version. There have been some 15 revs since then.

R5 has an integrated JavaScript IDE, by the way. And if you don't like it, you can add inline JavaScript to any page, highlight it, and flag it as JavaScript just as easily as bold-facing text in MS Word.

iarchitect... (1)

Flynn777 (56633) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585638)

Though I agree wholeheartedly with most of iarchitect's analysis of the Notes R4.6 UI, it should be pointed out that:

1) the *entire* user interface was revisited in Notes R5, leading to a tremendous number of changes. The Notes client looks radically different. The Notes community has had mixed reviews of the new interface, but on net, they've been positive.

2) if they're using Linux clients, the interface will be browser-based, anyway. So criticisms of the client UI are mostly irrelevant -- or at least, only apply to developers rather than end-users.

Re:Notes: Server Only (1)

Flynn777 (56633) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585639)

The developers at Iris Associates (the internal Lotus engineering group responsible for writing Notes) publically deny the prospect of a native Linux client. Lotus is wise to do this, since the strategic direction is to phase out the native client for any but design work.

Re:Feel free to contact me directly... (1)

gabrieltss (64078) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585649)

I had seen an article (don't have URL) awile back that showed Lotus was getting better performance on Linux servers than on NT or AS/400's. (I have worked with Notes/Domino on the AS/400's). I have a "reserve" on testing the Linux server when we get it at work through our "Lotus" box we get every quarter. I want to install it and run it through tests myself. I have the R4.5 & R5 client on my laptop and have the R5 server on our AS/400 at the office. But I am planning on installing the Linux client on a Linux box to play with. (maybe we can get some clients to go to Linux for their Domino servers this way). Save them lots of money on OS licences!

Openmail (1)

geminix3 (64222) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585650)

For the collaboration part of the equation, HP's Openmail might be worth checking out. Serves Outlook clients, Linux GUI clients, POP clients, web-based clients. MAPI, LDAP functionality, messaging, calendaring, shared directories, yada yada. Full Release 6.0 for Linux is a free download. [hp.com] We've been playing with it for a couple weeks, seems very functional, proprietary or no.

Re:intranet application/document sharing (1)

CmdData (68013) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585651)

MS Office 2000 would be a better solution. Document sharing in our envirament ( 35000 desktop users ) helps out a hell of a lot. Group sceduling and calandering is awsome.

Intranet (1)

cyryl (77930) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585653)

try e-smith!
I use it! Its excellent!
and out of the box foolproof!

Re:Avoid Notes at All Costs (1)

2sheds (78194) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585654)

I agree completely... after using Lotus Notes/Domino to implement an extranet for a bluechip, I've become physically repulssed at the software! Now a second project has come up I'm using MySQL/PHP/Apache. But I still like Domino for your basic services and out-of-the-box capabilities. Anyone who wants to know more, feel free to email! james

Re:Domino for linux (1)

witz (79173) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585656)

It isn't NT...any NT box running notes is going to be unstable...because Notes on NT is unstable. It's bloated and it leaks, consistently. I've got servers that stay up for months and never crash...except for the ones running notes.

Notes/Domino (1)

witz (79173) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585657)

Runs like yermother on any platform other than AS/400. This isn't flame, I'm being completely honest. It leaks, it fragments horribly on FSes that happen to fragment...
Don't even get me started...

Re:Clarification (1)

witz (79173) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585658)

are you looking for true document sharing or just document publishing? Net-It is a GREAT program for converting standard document formats into viewable HTML...very cool stuff.

Run like hell. (1)

understress (85878) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585661)

I have to agree with the negative comments posted above. I work as a developer for VB, C, HTML, and Notes. Notes is the worst environment I could imagine to develope in. We currently use a 5.0 server with 4.6.5a clients. We have numerous replication problems, lost data, etc. I am not on the admin side, so don't know if this goes back to a admin problem, but doesn't seem to at this time. Seems to be a problems with not using a 5 client on a 5 server. There are many better ways to share information within a company, and I don't feel that Notes is up to the job. It's a great idea in concept, but falls short on execution. Do some serious research before you make the commitment. We got Notes because another person and myself asked for a SQL type server on the network server for a project. Someone forced us into Notes, and we still don't have our orginal project going that started the whole fiasco.

Re:iarchitect... (1)

JackU (88347) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585663)

I haven't read the iarchitect stuff but I follow Notes/Domino things because I made my living at it for a while. While its true that you'd have to user designer for part of the setup, IBM now has guidelines for using VAjava to do domino apps. That means the developers CAN use Linux. Its just the DBAs that are stuck in Windows.

Re:let the software choice drive the os choice (1)

_blueboy (88578) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585664)

In this case we were having problems with the reliability of the OS. So having a stable OS is priority number 1, and then we figure what the best way to do what we want is. Sure, it's easy to say that software choice should drive the OS choice, but obviously the OS affects the software much more than the software affects the OS.

Re:Clarification (1)

_blueboy (88578) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585665)

We were evaluating Net-IT, especially because it can apparently integrate with PCDOCS, where a lot of company documents are stored.

I'm not exactly sure why we gave up on it though. Thanks for the heads up.

Clarification (1)

_blueboy (88578) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585666)

Upon re-reading this, I'm not sure if my question is exactly clear. An example of what we'd like to do: - Browser-based and database driven apps like a phone list - Fully-administered discussion groups, message boards, job postings, etc. - Access to company documents (mostly Microsoft Word) through a browser, so that you can view them without having access to the entire network Currently, we are using IIS & ASP for the apps and message boards, but we still haven't decided on a solution for document sharing. I'm afraid of the Office 2000 "Intranet Tools"... We are looking for either a package or a combination of tools (an answer like "use apache, php, and MySQL..." is helpful). Thanks for your help!

Notes and Domino (1)

ozone (91697) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585669)

Do a couple of things pretty well. As long as you stick to the demo templates you are fairly safe. But that doesn't get you very far. As a web server Domino has some very frustrating anomalies mostly arising from the internal Form and View model. It all looks very attractive as a single package but when you get under the hood there are a million things you have to work your way around.

I don't know how the Linux beta runs - I have it but I haven't had a chance to get it running yet. I run Domino R4.6 under Solaris and that performs better than almost all other platforms I've seen it run on.

Given the choice I'd go the Linux and Apache route every time.

Cold Fusion and NT (1)

alvinckw (102422) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585672)

Allow me to be sound stupid, but I wrote code from scratch in ColdFusion to create an Intranet with all the Zings and Bangs plus content mgt thrown in. It works! Unfortunately IIS doesn't work that well and I have to reboot the NT box every 3 days. However I'm waiting for CF 4.5 to arrive and buy the Linux version.

Re:OpenSource Intranet Solution (1)

brokenin2 (103006) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585674)

I think the thing is they also have a product that they sell, that's a complete package (hardware and all), and I think some aspects of that might not be GPL'd.

One thing to be concerned about is that because of it's design (one monolithic server), it probably won't scale well if you get past the point where your workgroups can't all use the same server. The problem is that it doesn't actually use imap like many of the other servers/systems listed here, it does all of it's sharing and email reading etc, directly throught the file system. With most of the other systems, they use sql, imap, and web front ends in combination to make them much more scaleable..

Re:Notes: Server Only (1)

bertdg (103089) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585675)

I have heard that there will be a Linux client at some point. The problem is that IBM is strongly encouraging the deployment of Linux in the company, but most employees rely heavily (for many it is the only option) on Lotus Notes for email, etc.
I know someone at IBM that claims they are using Lotus Notes on Linux using Wine in the meantime. IBM's commitment to Linux and their reliance on Lotus Notes, I believe, will lead to a Linux client someday in the not too distant future.

As far as the debate about the merits of Lotus Domino, I will leave that to others.

SmartReseller: Decosoft (1)

markog (104136) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585676)

Recent article [zdnet.com] in ZDNet's SmartReseller compares Lotus intranet solutions to its closest competitors: Decosoft Intranet [decosoft.com] and Intranetics. The article recommends Decosoft Intranet over Lotus solutions especially for mixed platforms. I've noticed that Decosoft Intranet ships with RedHat 5.2 and 6.0 on the application CD. It is fully browser based and works with most Linux/Apache configurations.

Re:multiple options for real flexibility (1)

qohen (104310) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585677)

There is a driver so you can use ACS with InterBase, which I am given to understand is a free RDBMS on Linux. Read about that here [lavsa.com]

As the site below points out, there are other drivers for the AOLServer and then you'd just need to port the SQL that the ACS toolkit uses, since there are some differences in SQL implementations amongst the database vendors.

http://www.alexium.com/wab/arsdigita.html [alexium.com]

This site (the best one page FAQ/summary of what ACS is, etc.) that I've yet seen, is actually running ACS, so you can see what ACS looks like, and how AOLServer performs, on a cheap Linux box. (on his status page, http://www.alexium.com/status.html, he says he is running the system on a $500 linux box with a $49/month DSL connection. Runs pretty well, I think).


As alexium.com mentions, Philip Greenspun's book on database-backed web-sites, which describes how to think (and how not to think) about doing this sort of stuff, is available on-line, complete with all the photographs: http://www.photo.net/wtr/thebook [photo.net] (and go up and check out http://www.photo.net/wtr [photo.net], where Philip Greenspun for lots more stuff).

Re:Notes: Server Only (1)

Kyuzo (107259) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585678)

I've worked as a Notes administrator and have done customer support work for Notes end users. I've worked extensively with versions 3 through 4.6 -- but not the latest Notes version or the version for Linux.

I would not be concerned that Lotus is not shipping a Linux Notes client. If your end-users use an operating system that supports the Notes client (such as Windows), they should be able to communicate with the Notes server without any trouble-- regardless of the OS on the server. Lotus has been pretty good about making Notes cross platform.

I'm not sure what kind of applications the administrator wants to run -- but he might not even want to use the Notes client at all. From my experience, end users tend to get confused with all the configurations required for the Notes client. They might feel more comfortable using a web browser (more familiar interface) to connect to the Notes server in Domino mode.

In other words, the lack of a Notes client is a concern only if you are using Linux on the end users' computers. Even then, you might be better off, giving the users a web browser and letting them connect to your Notes server in Domino mode.

Try Decosoft (1)

gangster_blues (107274) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585679)

Decosoft intranet has doc mgmt, calendars, contact lists, corporate portal etc. It's hands down, the easiest intranet to use (of course I may be biased here...). Decosoft Intranet (now Direction) was reviewed in Smart Reseller 9/20 edition (http://www.zdnet.com/sr/stories/issue/0,4537,2338 168-2,00.html) in the "Instant intranet" article. It was reviewed against Lotus. Decosoft was chosen as "the clear choice for mixed platforms". Also, "the most flexible intranet server" and "so easy to use even a novice user can't screw it up". It is written in Java. There should be a review in a future Linux Journal edition. If you want to see the latest version then just email me back. YOu can look at http://www.decosoft.com. This is a plug only in response to the original question.

X-Collaboration (1)

swong4 (107278) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585680)

Hi, Try looking at http://www.x-collaboration.com. They offer a document managing/collaboration service over the internet. It's a better solution than Notes/Domino for small to medium sized companies. Goodluck!

intranet application/document sharing (2)

DataDevil (1762) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585683)

Intranet and document sharing are two different things. Intranets can be a carrier for document sharing, but can be alot of other things too, as in our case, for example project planning and other financial things.
Document sharing is also a difficult topic to comment on, because document sharing can be easily done by sharing directories/folders on a linux machine with samba, so windos users can access them, but if you want more then that, you'll have to built them yourself.
As for applications like Microsoft's office tools and Notes, they often promiss things like "easy sharing of documents", but wether those functions are really usefull is not proven.
One can think of solutions like using php, embperl or another scripting language in combination with Apache and samba to share and describe documents, with extra stuff like document history or short comments in a database, for example Mysql or postgres.
We are currently investigating the document sharing options, looking at the commercial offerings, and will be either building our own system for it, and maybe opensourcing that, or helping out Midgard , which has very promissing plans in these directions too.

M.Stolte, &Samhoud NetVenture

Domino is unique. (2)

David R. Miller (4879) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585684)

It is very hard to describe to people what it is like to use Domino/Notes in an actual business setting if they have not seen it in action.

In my opinion, confirmed by several postings here, there is nothing else in the market that provides the infrastructure for groupware applications that Note does. Note how many of the posts say things like "just snip here and patch this there" and you'll have groupware.

The develi is in the details, and with Notes you will get a integrated platform that can:

1. Replicate databases across servers. This is very important if you have distributed offices.

2. Databases can have levels of user access: administrators, read only users, user that can create top level items, other which can only respond to top level items.

3. Clients which run on many platforms.

4. I'll endorse the other user post about Notes looking the same across all platforms - it does. Training costs for users are minimized.

5. A wealth of 3rd party applications - Notes has been araound for a long time.

6. Since the servers are monolithic, they are robust. No integration problems to test against as you would encounter with some of the home grown approaches suggested in other posts.

7. Proven software. Many large organizations run their entire groupware on Notes. Seagate Technology, the disk drive manufacturer, uses Notes to diseminate design and test specifications across a world wide organization.

In short, think very carefully about giving up Domino/Notes, especaily factoring in hidden development costs, scalability, and reliability. Domino may be expensive, but it is very good at what is does.

AOLserver/ArsDigita Community System/Oracle (2)

rho (6063) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585685)

FWIW, a sort-of prepackaged solution could be to go with Philip Greenspun's ACS [arsdigita.com], with an Oracle and AOLserver substrate.

I've got the ACS, AOLserver, and Oracle 8.0.5 running on a Thinkpad (P133) with 48mb RAM/2gig HDD, and it's usable for development. It would only host, probably, 10 users before it became too sluggish for end users, but we're talking a crummy P133 Thinkpad here...

The Upside: robust, ongoing development (see Philip's photo.net [photo.net]) from MIT educated brains. Any development of modules you might do can be used by other ACS users, and you get the "many eyes, shallow bugs" effect.

Also, the ADP programming model is very similar to PHP.

The Downside: you're pretty much restricted to Oracle and Tcl. Some people like Tcl, some don't. Oracle, in a production environment, really needs a 6-figure DBA.

It's worth looking at -- you can extend the toolkit to suit your needs, or if you have $$$, you can hire ArsDigita to do it for you and support you.

Re:Clarification (2)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585687)

Domino doesn't automatically render MS Word documents into HTML - you would need to convert them to the Notes storage format.

Although the Office 2000 server stuff isn't very popular here, considering if that's where your data is, it might be the best bet. Within the next few years, Microsoft is planning to build an entire web groupware system more akin to Domino based on the Office server extentions. Not that you can wait for them, just something to think about.

Notes is SSLLOOOOWWW... (2)

Surak (18578) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585689)

In my admittedly somewhat limited experience with Notes, it tends to be slow. We have Notes at GM (they use it primarily for e-mail and phone number databases right now, but this is changing by March when the company will deploy what it calls its "Notes Restructured project" which includes calendaring and group discussions.

I've used Notes/Domino at two work places and helped design databases at one, and IMHO, Notes, while a noteworthy solution (there is nothing like Notes/Domino right now), it appears to try to be all things to all people and as a result has some severe performance problems. This *could* be related to network and server configurations (the networking setup at GM has its problems, and they are characterized by three letters [E, D and S in that order], but lets not get started on that shall we? :) but I think that Notes/Domino does have some performance limitations due to its design.

There are no plug-and-play solutions. Zope is open source and is generic enough that you could create an e-mail/calendaring/group-discussion system between it and Apache/Linux, but this is not as simple as just plugging in Notes and there you go. There are other solutions that are written in perl and python that would work as well, and other people in this discussion area have mentioned those. Again, its not as simple and not as powerful as Notes/Domino when it comes to making it easy, but they are open source solutions that would work.

Of course, you could always use Exhange Server and Outlook, but let's not even get started on the Evil Empire's braindead solutions...:)

ZOPE - Because content matters (2)

CAB (19473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585690)


Go with Zope.

ZOPE is _the_ system today.

Find it at http://www.zope.org/

It would be appropriate to elaborate on these statements, but I'm busy handling yet another case of ZOPE's strong FeelGoodFactor, so I'm afraid I can't.

This severe condition is likely to strike 97,6% of all ZOPE users and application developers more than once.

Best regards,
Steen Suder

Domino effect (2)

wmclay (107261) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585691)

As a long time /. lurker, I've finally been moved to post - please keep the "proprietary" flames in check. (See MikeR, you knew you'd get met to post eventually)

In the days before the web, Notes was a secure, distributed, document database. When the web came along, some said, (mostly Microsoft folks as I remember), this is the death of Notes. If Lotus had chosen to stick to the exclusively proprietary, (ie. their "property") requirements, it probably would have been. Instead they chose to support "open" protocols and turned the Notes server into an HTTP server; aka Domino. With present day support for SMTP, POP, LDAP, IMAP, NNTP, X.400 as well as several other company's proprietary protocols, scripts and languages (SSL, JavaScript, Java, and Perl) Domino is a kitchen sink of acronym support. But, more importantly it still works very, very well at what it was designed to do: securely distribute documents.

Sure, you can craft together many different, and probably free applications, script languages, security systems, e-mail systems, databases, web servers, directory servers, file servers and other elements to try to do workflow; but why? If it is for the sake of not using proprietary software, why limit your company that way? Why not choose the best tool for the job? Even if you have to pay for it, sometimes buying software makes very good sense for businesses. Consider the long term value. Especially since you can do all of the workflow that Domino is famous for without the Notes client anyway. Unless you need the PKI security and the local replication of data, just use a browser! It really works well and by using the document database you never end up with broken links for missing or accidentally overwritten documents. The Access Control List management simplification alone could save you a lot of time and grief.

Lest you think I'm an IBM spy, let me assure you, I'm not. I'm a humble Internet entrepreneur that is glad to have some extra time to do real work rather than trying to solve the latest integration headache. BTW - I do run Linux/Apache AND Domino because it is all about using the best tool for the job.

multiple options for real flexibility (3)

jabbo (860) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585692)

Running Zope [zope.org] on top of Apache [apache.org] or using the ArsDigita Community System [photo.net] are probably the best options available to a business today. The ACS would need to be hacked a bit if you don't want to use Oracle as the database; Zope comes with its own object database, and has free-as-in-speech Products for calendaring, web mail, discussion forums (Squishdot [squishdot.org] is both a real live site and the distribution point for the software running it -- try it out!).

Zope is extensible in Python. The ACS is a large package of tcl code that accesses the AOLserver API (AOLserver is now also free as in speech). Both encourage a style of programming that is more maintainable than Perl. If you knew Perl already, I strongly doubt you'd have asked your question. That's actually a good thing -- the same things that make Perl great for simple one-shots make it tough for novices to maintain. Python (and to a lesser extent, tcl) is a great deal cleaner.

I didn't mention Java or Jserv -- there is a package called JetSpeed which the Java-Apache group has put out, but my initial reaction was that it was very slow. Don't take my word for it, though -- take a look [apache.org] and decide for yourself.

Don't be an idiot and lock yourself into Yet Another Uncaring Vendor. You can get support for Zope or the ACS direct from the developers (Digital Creations [digicool.com] or ArsDigita [arsdigita.com] respectively). If you choose to use mod_perl and postgres, you still can get professional support. With Lotus you can look forward to servers that don't write log files, proprietary APIs, flat file "databases", and other such niceties.

Don't buy into it.

Re:Cloning Notes: Another Linux Train Wreck (3)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585693)

Another issue with analyzing Notes/Domino, is that it's suitability highly depends on the type of applications you are using, and if you are planning to run the Notes client or not.

With the Notes client, it's a proprietary, but pretty effective system for e-mail, calendaring, and the ambiguous "groupware" type applications (generally discussion, tracking, or approval applications that don't require much relational data.) Development is proprietary, but much more rapid and lower cost than your typical VB/Delphi client-server apps. (Most Notes shops are far closer to 'paperless' than places where the only back ends are relational DBs.) The server is certainly stable, and scales better than MS Exchange, although not as well as commodity IMAP and HTTP servers.

As a pure web server, I have mixed feelings about Domino. It does dynamic server-side HTML, but the development environment is not well suited for that at all. Every HTML document must be dynamically converted from Notes format, so it's slow. It includes web mail and discussion applications, but they are certainly not near the best you can get in that department. CGI-like applications with Domino agents run slowly and high overhead.

As a web server, the only thing that Domino seems to give you is the built-in document storage engine (which involves no programming overhead.) For some applications, that might be worth it, but for many others (like Slashdot, for example), a simple relational database can do the job just fine, and the programming overhead for storage is mitigated or justified by the use of standard web development tools.

In short, Domino works great if your organization is willing to commit to using it for your smaller applications, and you're willing to use the Notes client. Otherwise, I'd look around more.

OpenSource Intranet Solution (3)

Doc Holliday (28129) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585694)

I would suggest using the Obsidian Intranet package, there you got a base module that you install and then afterwards you can download packages like e-mail, file explorer, shared calendar and many others and install them.

It's licensed under GPL and written nearly completely in perl. It isn't completely project management system like, but you i guess that with a little bit of perl code here and there you'll be able to customize this system as you like it.

It's really worth giving it a try, it rules!

Greetings go out to Eddie for writing this great thing !

You can test it online on this adress http://demo.obsidian.co.za/ocs/ [obsidian.co.za]

And here you go for the downloads [obsidian.co.za]

OpenSource 4ever!

Feel free to contact me directly... (3)

Flynn777 (56633) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585695)

I've got extensive experience with Notes/Domino, dating back to V2 (OS/2 servers on IPX networks.... [shudder]).

The feedback coming from the Linux beta has been very positive for Lotus. The server is proving wonderfully flexible. You should be forewarned, though, that they have no plans at the moment for a Linux client. Win32, Mac and 4+ browsers only.

Check out Iris Associates' (the Domino engineering group) Linux beta discussion at http://www.notes.net

Re:Clarification - Domino out of the box (3)

wmclay (107261) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585696)

A basic installation of Domino gives you an address book with your phone numbers, and the default 'templates' allow you to create web-based databases for discussions and postings.

Another default database template lets you create a "Microsoft Office Document Database" that allows you to create Embedded documents or attach existing Office documents. If you index the database, you can include the text of the documents (Embedded or attached) in the index for searching and retrieval.

Don't believe the hype about the problems with Domino, I've been a Certified Lotus Professional Developer and Admin for years and if you follow basic system principles, (don't mess with it to see what it does), it will work for you. In my experience, Domino runs very well on *nix platforms, but can even be run on NT, if you are prepared to reboot the box every weekend!

Cloning Notes: Another Linux Train Wreck (4)

Christopher B. Brown (1267) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585697)

Coming up with an alternative to Lotus Notes [hex.net] seems to be one of the classic "failed projects;" several attempts have come and gone where groups have brainstormed and not been able to come up with a clear definition of something they could actually implement.

Several are listed at Text Management Projects for Linux, [hex.net] including Gather (aka PINN, aka Sumatra, aka Mediator), Yoga, Citadel, Casbah. Zope is probably somewhat comparable. Some of these are downright failed; others are merely somewhat late.

The problem is that Lotus Notes can be looked at in several ways:

  • As a glorified email/news messaging system, which knows how to replicate messages from server to server, and filter using ACLs and strong crypto.
  • As a database application platform integrating a DB engine and scripting tools.
  • As a distributed replicating non-relational database management system.
  • As a distributed document management system.

These are all useful perspectives; unfortunately people see it different ways, and when you put together enough people to have a project team, there are enough perspectives to make the project definition so vague as to be a non-starter.

Clarification (4)

_blueboy (88578) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585698)

Upon re-reading this, I'm not sure if my question is exactly clear.

An example of what we'd like to do:
- Browser-based and database driven apps like a phone list
- Fully-administered discussion groups, message boards, job postings, etc.
- Access to company documents (mostly Microsoft Word) through a browser, so that you can view them without having access to the entire network

Currently, we are using IIS & ASP for the apps and message boards, but we still haven't decided on a solution for document sharing. I'm afraid of the Office 2000 "Intranet Tools"...

We are looking for either a package or a combination of tools (an answer like "use apache, php, and MySQL..." is helpful).

Thanks for your help!

a couple of options (5)

tweek (18111) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585699)

Twig [screwdriver.net]


Horde/Imp [horde.org]

These guys are great for webmail, calendering and contact management.
A good forum type app would be Sporum [smallpig.net]. They are all freely distributable and only require IMAP (not a problem on an Intranet),mysql and perl. Twig uses php as well. All of these are fairly easy to set up (especially with php as a DSO in apache). I've set up all 3 on our intranet as evaluating a few options. They are all easily customizable. Any combination of these with a couple of hacks and snips here and there and you have your own web based groupware. =)
"We hope you find fun and laughter in the new millenium" - Top half of fastfood gamepiece

The Lotus/Linux Development Environment (5)

PackedBowl (62051) | more than 14 years ago | (#1585700)

I work at a small but rather high-profile consulting company, doing both design and admin/support. We're a M$, IBM and Lotus partner company, so we end up working a lot in multi-platform, multi-this, multi-that environments, and even though Domino is scoffed sometimes by database-minded folks as "flat" and difficult, it is a life-saver for long-term evolving situations (the secret being that this is MOST places...), because data can be indexed and worked with in ways M$ and many other vendors have never dreamed of dealing with. [What I'm skipping here is a dissertation on why the word "Workgroup" strikes fear into the folks in Redmond, because they KNOW they are 5 years behind according to current development models, and why its so often overlooked by the shrink-wrap software world in general, but I digress...]

The question, then, is given that Lotus is so much better entrenched in the corporate development landscape, what IBM and its daughter company, Lotus/Iris, will do with Linux and vice versa. IBM is farther into Linux than I think a lot of /.'ers might think.... Linux will probably running on the S390 mainframes and RS/6000's midranges (and maybe who knows what this will do to the AS/400 world???) within 18 months. And mix this into the sales push of Windows 2000 next year, with its plethora of bugs and outrageous hardware req's.... wow! Domino and the new R5 client is a blow to M$ companies which have come to realize that they don't want their network infrastructure being designed from the desktop up and out; rather, they need integrated environments with sophisticated replication and access that a PC-centric model does not provide. Companies line-up to hear about the power of Domino/R5... and when you mention that they can subtract the NT or Solaris license fees....

This is the vector by which a large number of Linux hosts will infect the corporate bioms, in addition to the Apache/Linux combo. The crucial thing to observe, though, is how the linux philosophy might infiltrate into the halls of Iris (the dev. half of Lotus). Right now, the folks at Iris could really care less about Linux -- papa IBM came down and told them to port to yet another Unix... big deal, they say. (there no way in HELL domino is going open source... not yet) But if the number of Domino servers increases because of Linux, then 2001 or 2002 will see headline stories talking about the Sun development model paralleled with the Iris dev. model...

Linux will not take over the world by winning the desktop -- and it doesn't need to. The flow of the Linux meme into the IBM world is the most significant thing to have happened in the computer world since the advent of the PC. IF you are in the midst of deciding how to built a dynamic enterpise right now, you don't care whether the Linux philosophy is better than some particular companies product... but if you take one of the BEST development environments around and set it on top of Linux, then you know that no matter WHAT happens in the computer world in the next 5 years, you will be guaranteed to be position to pick and choose the best-of-breed options, whether they are open source, gnu, or proprietary.

To specifically answer the original post: I've installed and run the Linux version of Domino, and if you know anything about Domino, its EXACTLY the same on every platform it runs on (OS/400, NT, Solaris, AIX, etc...) By Q#2 2000, Linux Domino will be stable and ready to starting crushing Exchange/SQL Server setups... and don't forget about DB2 for Linux when Domino needs extra horsepower. This combo could be the smartest path an IS manager could make next year.

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